The moss rose is one of the old rose varieties and is something very special. We present the most beautiful varieties and show you what you should consider when planting and caring for moss roses in pots and the garden.
The moss rose is one of the historic roses and has been cultivated in our gardens for a long time. Characteristic and eponymous are their moss-like glands on the fruit heads, flower stalks, and sepals.
Moss rose: origin and characteristics
The moss rose ( Rosa x centifolia ‘Muscosa’) is a European historical rose. It originated around 1700 as a mutation from various other centifolias – a group of roses with double (“hundred-leaved”) flowers. The moss rose is particularly popular in cottage gardens. It grows as a strong, large shrub and reaches heights of around 1.2 m to 2 m. Its width is around 0.7 to 1 m. Most mosses rose varieties are single-flowered. Individual flowers with an intense, sweet fragrance bloom on their overhanging shoots between June and July.
The flowers of the moss rose are hemispherical and double. They usually appear in different shades of pink, but there are also varieties with white or purple-red flowers. The green, slightly glossy leaves of the moss rose are alternate and elliptical in shape. The fruit heads, flower stalks, and sepals of the moss rose are covered with fine glands. This creates the impression of a delicate moss covering. This property gave the moss rose its name. The mossy parts of the plant have a spicy, resinous smell.
Moss rose varieties
With time, new moss rose varieties were bred again and again, which differ in their flower color and sometimes also in their height. In addition to the original pink moss rose, there are also white, purple, purple, or even multi-colored varieties.
Popular moss rose varieties are:
- ′ Old Pink Moss ′: Probably the oldest moss rose; pink, double flowers; very hardy; Height: approx. 2 m.
- ‘Alfred de Dalmas’: flowers in white to cream pink; intense fragrance; hardy; Height: 1 – 1.5 m.
- ′ Shailer’s White Moss ′: White, densely double flowers; very fragrant; very hardy; Height: approx. 1.5 m.
- ‘Catherine de Württemberg’: Large, double pink to dark pink flowers; very hardy; Height: approx. 1 m.
- ′ Nuits de Young ′: Considered the darkest variety of moss rose; black-red, double flowers; good-smelling; very hardy; Height: 1 – 1.5 m.
- ‘Madame Moreau’: multi-colored variety with double flowers, striped with chimney pink and white; fragrant; very hardy; Height: approx. 1.5 m.
Plant moss roses in pots and the garden
Moss roses prefer a sunny to partially shaded, airy location. The soil should be somewhat loamy and rich in humus. In the case of heavy soils, a little sand can be mixed in to increase the permeability. In the case of very light soils, however, manure or compost should be incorporated. The moss rose can also be planted in a pot on the balcony or terrace.
Our peat-free Plantura organic potting soil is ideal for this. To give the moss rose a good start into the vegetation phase, one or two fertilizers should be applied in spring between March and April. Ideally, you should choose a primarily organic fertilizer such as our Plantura organic rose fertilizer. This reliably supplies your roses with all the important nutrients. Work the fertilizer lightly into the top layer of the soil to increase its effectiveness. After fertilizing, you should also water extensively.
You can find more information and helpful expert tips on planting roses in a pot in our special article.
Cut and care for moss roses
If the moss rose has grown well in the garden and has established itself in its location, it only needs to be supplied with additional water if the drought persists. Moss roses in the pot, however, have to be watered more often due to the faster evaporation. When watering, make sure that the foliage stays dry, otherwise the risk of fungal attack increases.
Moss roses should be pruned between March and May. On the one hand, deadwood has to be removed. Cut dry, frozen wood close to the transition to the healthy wood or, if necessary, at the base. On the other hand, thin and diseased shoots must be removed. Otherwise, they rob the healthy and stronger shoots of the power to bloom.
Cut them off completely at the base of the plant or their origin on a more vigorous shoot. In addition, shoots that are too dense should be thinned out. If the shoots are very close to one another, always remove the one with the weaker growth or the less favorable growth direction. In this way, the air circulation in the rose bush can be improved, so that rose diseases can be prevented. In addition to the annual basic pruning, dense or blooming shoots can also be removed from the base as required. In our special article on cutting roses, you can read all the important steps again.
Propagate moss roses
Moss roses can be propagated in different ways. Through vegetative propagation, for example via cuttings, you create a “clone” whose properties correspond exactly to those of the mother plant. In the case of generative reproduction via seeds, the genetic material is mixed, which means that the properties of the offspring can hardly be predicted.
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