How to Grow Rosa Mundi, an Heirloom Rose

Updated on February 10, 2020
OldRoses profile image

Caren White is a Master Gardener and instructor at Home Gardeners School. She has been associated with Rutgers Gardens for over a decade.

Source

One of the things that I love about heirloom roses are the amazing stories behind some of them. Take rosa mundi, for instance. There is a legend that it was named for the mistress of the King of England, King Henry II (ruled 1154 to 1189) who was married to Eleanor of Aquitaine. As was common in those days, theirs was an arranged marriage. Nonetheless, Eleanor became jealous of her husband’s mistress, who was born Jane Clifford, but became known as Fair Rosamund thanks to her great beauty.

Eleanor decided to rid herself of her rival. It is said that she poisoned Rosamund using an oil made from the Apothecary’s Rose and Rosa Alba, a white rose. After Rosamund’s death, a new rose, with red and white stripes appeared outside of the castle where she had lived. It was named Rosa Mundi in her honor. Every year, Henry decorated her tomb with flowers from the new rose.

What is Rosa Mundi?

Rosa Mundi (Rosa gallica ‘Versicolor’) is an ancient rose native to Europe. It is a sport of the famous Apothecary’s Rose (Rosa gallica). A “sport” is a genetic mutation that naturally happens spontaneously (no human intervention) and changes the color or shape of part of a plant such as its leaves or flowers. The sport can be a result of naturally occurring changes in the cells of the plant or by changes in its environment such as extreme temperature fluctuations.

Rosa mundi is hardy through zone 4. It is a compact rose growing 3’ to 4’ tall and makes an excellent hedge. The branches have very few thorns. The flowers are semi-double and striped white and dark pink or crimson. They have a typical old rose fragrance. Rosa mundi flowers once a year in the late spring. Rose hips, beloved of birds, develop in the fall. Like most heirloom roses, rosa mundi is disease resistant

Rosehips form in the fall.
Rosehips form in the fall. | Source

How to Grow Rosa Mundi

Rosa mundi is easy to grow like its parent. It will tolerate shade and poor soil. The soil does have to be well-drained. Mine grows next to my shed which gets only a few hours of sunlight each day. The rose spreads by suckering. A sucker is an offshoot of a plant, the result of the growth of an underground stolen. You should remove suckers because as their name implies, they suck water and nutrients from the parent shrub. Heirloom roses have a tendency to sucker freely and can become invasive, taking over your garden.

How to Prune Rosa Mundi

An initial pruning can be done in very early spring. Remove dead or dying canes only at this time. Any dead leaves, branches or other brush should be removed from under your bush to prevent the spread of insects and disease.

Regular pruning should be done after your rose has finished blooming but no later than late summer. It blooms on old wood which means that the buds for next year’s flowers grow this year. If you prune before the rosebush blooms, you will be pruning off the buds.

To shape your rose, cut the top branches down by one third and side branches by two thirds.

How to Grow Rosa Mundi From Cuttings

Woody plants are normally very difficult to grow from cuttings. Thanks to its tendency to sucker, rosa mundi is easy to grow from cuttings.

After your rose has finished blooming, take a 6 to 8 inch cutting from a healthy branch. Remove the foliage from the bottom half of the cutting and dip the cut end in rooting hormone. You can skip this step if you want. Your cutting will root without it. The rooting hormone just speeds up the growth of roots. You can root your cutting directly in your garden like pussy willow. Take a dowel or a pencil and make a hole in the soil and stick your cutting up to the halfway point into the hole. Keep the soil moist. Roots should begin to form in 8 to 12 weeks. You will know that roots are growing because your cutting will be growing new leaves. Plants without roots cannot grow new leaves. If you are growing your cutting in a nursery bed, you can transplant it into your garden in the fall or the following spring.

How to Grow Rosa Mundi From Layering

Layering is a popular technique to propagate woody plants. In the late spring or early summer while your rosebush is actively growing, choose a young, flexible stem and gently bend it to the ground. Dig a shallow hole where it touches the soil. Take a sharp knife and make a shallow cut in the stem above the hole and dip it in rooting hormone. This is where the roots will grow from. Bend the stem into the hole and fill the hole with soil.

To prevent your stem from popping out of the hole, you will need to anchor it. You can use a rock. The best solution is to use the pins that you use to anchor your floating row covers in your vegetable garden.

Keep the soil moist. Roots should begin to form in 6 to 8 weeks. You will know that new roots are growing because your stem will start growing new leaves. Wait another 4 weeks for your stem to grow a healthy, good sized root ball. After that 4 weeks, you simply sever the stem from the bush and carefully dig up the rooted section. You can transplant your new plant to its permanent home in your garden.

Questions & Answers

    © 2014 Caren White

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • OldRoses profile imageAUTHOR

        Caren White 

        5 years ago

        Heirloom roses are my favorite. Thank you for reading and commenting.

      • Pawpawwrites profile image

        Jim 

        5 years ago from Kansas

        What interesting history. We just don't have many heirloom roses to choose from around here. This one would make a beautiful hedge.

      • OldRoses profile imageAUTHOR

        Caren White 

        5 years ago

        I have read that it can "sport" back to Rosa gallica officinalis. How wonderful that you witnessed it in your garden! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      • blueheron profile image

        Sharon Vile 

        5 years ago from Odessa, MO

        This is one of my favorite old roses! I started out with one Rosa Mundi, but it suckered to turn into two roses--one of which sported back to Rosa gallica officinalis. So now I have one of each--until they both spread some more and can be divided again.

      • OldRoses profile imageAUTHOR

        Caren White 

        5 years ago

        I love the legends associated with heirloom flowers. Thanks for reading!

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 

        5 years ago from USA

        What a colorful history for such a beautiful flower!

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, dengarden.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)