The Fairy Rose: A Polyantha Shrub Rose

The fairy rose is as whimsical as its name. This is a compact rose which is suitable for smaller gardens, or to offset larger flowering plants or shrubs, producing petite flowers in abundance.

Interested in growing your own fairy rose? Here’s what you need to know.

At A Glance: What You Should Know About The Dairy Rose

The fairy rose is a dwarf shrub rose, capable of reaching 3 feet high at the most. It spreads out a little more, up to 4 feet wide.

Polyantha roses are known for providing a lot of color into any garden, and the fairy rose is no exception. While the flowers are much smaller than those of an old rose or a hybrid tea rose at about 2.5cm wide, these plants produce greater numbers of roses.

Flowers may be bright pink, baby pink, or white, often featuring all three shades on the same plant. These delicate blooms also carry a fruity perfume.

The foliage has a glossy sheen, and contrasts well with the roses, having leaves that resemble ferns.

The fairy rose will flower reliably from the first few weeks of summer, well into the first few weeks of fall if the weather allows. 

It also helps that this is a tough plant, despite what you may think with its name. The fairy rose will withstand shade, disease, and drought much better than many other rose cultivars.

It’s also a very versatile plant, able to live happily in containers, as an ornamental hedge or privacy screen, and as a ground cover.

How To Care For The Fairy Rose 

This polyantha rose does best in full sunlight, though it will also tolerate partial sunlight if it needs to. You’ll see the most growth and flowers out of the fairy rose if you plant it in a sunny position, where it can get at least 6 hours of sunlight a day.

The fairy rose likes fertile and rich soil, which drains well, but receives plenty of moisture to sustain healthy growth.

To sustain the heavy flowering period, make sure you feed the rose regularly in its growing season with a rose fertilizer, following the instructions on the packet. Just before winter, mulch around the base of the plant to protect it from frost.

You should water the fairy rose thoroughly once a week during the growing season,  and then let the soil dry between watering sessions.

If you’re planting the fairy rose in a container, remember to give it ample room to grow.

Always deadhead any spent blooms, as this will prolong the flowering season, while keeping your fairy rose tidy.

Is The Fairy Rose Right For Your Garden?

There are several things to consider. The fairy rose is extremely prickly, as the stems have a lot of thorns, so make sure you can plant it somewhere which isn’t a high traffic area, otherwise you may get attacked.

This makes this plant a potential hazard in gardens which see a lot of pets or children, but this may not be an issue as long as you place the fairy rose somewhere appropriate.

While these flowers are heavy bloomers, they aren’t to some people’s taste. Others may prefer much larger, dramatic roses, or those which are heavily fragranced.

Polyantha roses, especially the fairy rose, are resistant to most typical rose diseases such as black spot, powdery mildew, and rust.

If you’ve tried growing roses in your garden before and not had much success due to disease, the fairy rose might be the next one to try.

It also helps that this plant, as long as it has good airflow, is resistant to pollution, too.

Final Thoughts

The fairy rose is a lovely cultivar worthy of any garden. Its compact growth habit makes it suitable for smaller gardens or containers, only adding to the plant’s versatility. 

Just make sure you give it plenty of drainage in the soil, some sunlight for at least part of the day, plenty of airflow, and it will treat your garden with flowers every year.

Leave a Comment