The Queen Elizabeth Rose

Some of the most striking roses available are created in honor or named after famous people, and among them is the Queen Elizabeth rose. 

Here’s what you need to know.


The History Behind The Queen Elizabeth Rose

The year after Elizabeth II was crowned queen of Britain, the rose breeder Lammerts named their new cultivar after her, in 1953.

The stock parents that made the ‘Queen Elizabeth’ rose possible are Rosa ‘Charlotte Armstrong’, which is a hybrid tea rose, and ‘Floradora’, which is a floribunda rose.

‘Queen Elizabeth’ is an important rose, not only because of its namesake, but also because it was the very first rose to be registered as a grandiflora rose.

Thirty new rose cultivars have been cultivated by crossing ‘Queen Elizabeth’ with other roses. 

This lovely rose has been in the Rose Hall Of Fame since 1979.

Recognizing The Queen Elizabeth Rose

The Queen Elizabeth rose grows as an upright shrub, and it requires plenty of space, as it can reach between 5 and 10 feet high, depending on the age of the plant, available space, and its growing conditions.

The foliage is a deep green, with thick leaves, and the plant itself is quite sturdy, featuring strong stems, making this plant a good option for cutting gardens.

You won’t want to place this rose near small paths or tight spaces, as the stems carry large thorns.

The roses themselves are a lovely light pink, deepening on the undersides of the petals. Each flower can reach up to 12cm wide, featuring between 25 and 40 petals per bloom.

The Queen Elizabeth rose features a strong, sweet scent.


‘Queen Elizabeth’ is not a difficult rose to care for. Thanks to its resistance to disease, and ability to thrive in difficult or nutrient-poor soils, this cultivar is a good option for any garden, in USDA zones 5b through to 9b.

It’s a reliable bloomer, repeat flowering from spring, all the way through to fall or even winter if the weather allows, and if you keep deadheading any spent flowers.

‘Queen Elizabeth’ requires well-draining soil, but it isn’t fussy about the pH. It will do well in partial shade, but the most roses will appear in a position of full sunlight.

A sunny position will also help prevent disease appearing as it will help evaporate excess moisture.

Choose a sheltered spot to prevent the wind from taking the roses before they are ready to fall. 

Prune ‘Queen Elizabeth’ in the last few weeks of winter, or the first few weeks of spring, taking care to get rid of any diseased or dead branches and leaves.

To make a real focal point in your garden, you can use it as a hedge, or even to add height and color to the back of beds. 

Recommended Companion Plants

While roses are beautiful on their own, to get the best out of these stunning plants it’s worth planting them alongside other types of flowers.

It also helps to extend the flowering season, filling your beds and borders with color when your roses aren’t in flower, even if they are repeat bloomers. 

It’s a good idea to diversify your planting scheme, not only to contrast your roses, but to improve the health of your garden.

Attracting beneficial insects such as pollinators is a good way to keep on top of pest populations, but it also helps with plant reproduction, too.

Spring Planting Choices

For color in spring, go for spring bulbs such as tulips, crocus, daffodils, and hyacinths.

Most spring bulbs do well in partial shade, which is perfect if your ‘Queen Elizabeth’ rose has gotten tall enough to provide shade in its border. 

The contrasting colors and forms in these plants do well to bring out the best of all the plants in your border. 

Summer Planting Options

For early summer color, alliums are a good choice. These versatile plants from the onion family are believed to prevent diseases such as rose black spot, and they also repel slugs, snails, and aphids.

Some people also claim that planting alliums next to scented roses helps make the rose’s perfume stronger.

If you prefer more color, why not try the perennial wallflower?

While not as fragrant as the biennial form, the perennial wallflower will bloom from spring well into the summer months, and might even outlast your roses in terms of color.

Foxgloves are a great option for gardens which don’t have pets or children. While these are poisonous plants, the digitalis, or foxglove, is usually at its best during the height of summer, when ‘Queen Elizabeth’ is flowering profusely.

The shades of white, purple, and pink will go nicely with this rose.

If you go for a particularly tall ‘Queen Elizabeth’, you may want to underplant it to hide the woody, shrubby base of the rose. Hardy geraniums work well with this, typically opening out with plenty of color in the middle of summer.

How To Recognize The Difference Between A Floribunda Rose And A Grandiflora Rose?

Floribunda roses, and grandiflora roses are two different types.

Floribunda roses typically reach a maximum of 4 foot tall, and they are the result of hybridizing a tea rose and a polyantha rose.

The name ‘floribunda’ refers to the many flowers which are produced on these rose types, often either single or double roses.

Grandiflora roses are the result of hybridizing a floribunda rose, and a hybrid tea rose. The roses on these plants tend to be much larger (hence ‘grand’), though they are fewer. 

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