Fragrant Roses

Fragrant Roses

150 150 jcharlow


Who can resist the alluring fragrance of a rose? Young or old, few can walk by a rose in the flush of full bloom without bending over to savor its intoxicating aroma.

Given the diversity of rose fragrances, identification of a specific scent can be challenging. Experts have identified about 25 distinct fragrances. Scents range from the true attar of rose, usually expressed by the damask rose (the type of perfume people mean when they say something smells like a rose), to fruity odors such as apple, banana, and raspberry. Roses also can smell of violets, gardenias, licorice, clove, honey, and musk.

Roses are less fragrant on hot, dry, windy days, more fragrant on their 1st day of opening, and more fragrant in the morning than the afternoon. Below are listed a number of very fragrant varieties that will do well in our Tucson gardens. Wherever possible, the type of fragrance is included in the variety specifications.

Hybrid Teas & Grandiflora

Chrysler Imperial – Introduced in 1953; maroon red blooms; 4’ tall bush; 10-15” stems; strong scent.
Double Delight – Introduced in 1977; creamy white/crimson bi-color; 4-5’ tall; 15” stems; spicy scent.
Fragrant Cloud – Introduced in 1968; bright coral; 4-5’ tall; 15” stems; heavy old rose fragrance.
French Perfume – Introduced in 1994; light yellow/rose bi-color; 4-5’ tall; 15” stems; strong fruity scent.
Mr. Lincoln – Introduced in 1965; deep red; 4-6’ tall; 15” stems; strong rich scent.
Oklahoma – Introduced in 1964; dark red; 3-4’ tall; 10-15” stems; strong scent.
Pearl Essence – Introduced in 2001; light clear pink; 5-6’ tall; 12-16” stems; strong scent.
Rose Rhapsody – Introduced in 2000; dusty pink; 5-6’ tall; 10-15” stems; strong old rose fragrance.
Secret – Introduced in 1994; creamy yellow/pink bi-color; 4-5’ tall; 10-12” stems; strong fragrance.


Angel Face – Introduced in 1969; deep mauve lavender; 3-4’ tall; heavy old rose scent.
Fragrant Apricot – Introduced in 1999; clear apricot; 3-4’ tall; strong musk scent.
Iceberg – Introduced in 1958; pure white; 3-4’ tall; strong sweet scent.
Scentimental – Introduced in 1997; burgundy/white splash; 3-4’ tall; strong spice scent.


America – Introduced in 1976; salmon pink; heavy clove scent.
Don Juan – Introduced in 1958; dark red; heavy scent.
4th of July – Introduced in 1999; red/white stripe; strong sweet apple scent.
High Hopes – Introduced in 2000; light pink; strong strawberry scent.


Michelangelo – Deep yellow blooms; sweet lemon scent.
Renoir – Deep pink; strong scent.
Yves Piaget – Mauve pink; strong scent.

David Austins*

Abraham Darby – Introduced in 1985; peachy pink; strong scent.
Evelyn – Introduced in 1991; apricot pink; strong peachy scent.
Gertrude Jekyll – Introduced in 1986; warm pink; strong damask scent.

*All varieties of Romantica & David Austin roses are intensely fragrant.