When Are Cabbage Roses in Season?

In home gardening, the blooming season for cabbage roses varies by climate and even from year to year. They generally bloom April through May or June. They are an "old rose" and generally bloom only once per season. Cabbage roses (Rosa centifolia) grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 4a through 9b. Florists consider cabbage roses in season from spring to early autumn. It's particularly helpful to know the season for cabbage roses when planning flowers for a wedding or other special event.

decorative cabbage
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A close-up of a purple and green cabbage rose.

Cabbage Rose Timing Issues

The exact blooming period for cabbage roses varies. Although they generally bloom in spring, in some locations they usually peak in midsummer. The blooming period can vary widely from year to year due to climate factors, even when they're tended by professional gardeners. For ordering special-event flowers, the fairly long blooming season of florist cabbage roses makes them a relative bargain. They're still in season when spring flowers are at a premium. These roses have a strong fragrance; avoid using them as table flowers if any of your guests are sensitive to floral fragrances.

Cabbage Rose Characteristics

Cabbage roses, also called Provence roses, produce a profusion of petals. The bushes grow up to 48 inches tall and need to be spaced 36 to 48 inches apart. They grow thorny canes, and the weight of their blooms causes the canes to bow outward, so giving them plenty of room reduces the risk of bruised blooms. They require full sun to perform their best and prefer a soil pH of 6.1 to 7.5. Water them deeply to encourage deep root development and healthy growth. Regular watering helps them perform their best.

Feeding for Blooms

Healthy cabbage rose bushes put forth an abundance of exceptionally large rose blooms. Fertilize cabbage roses with fertilizer formulated for roses, usually labeled as rose fertilizer. Water the roses the day before fertilizing to reduce the risk of burning the rose bushes. Apply the fertilizer monthly when temperatures are at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit, generally April to August. Move the mulch and sprinkle 3/4 cup granular fertilizer around the drip line -- the perimeter of the bushes' growth. Rake the fertilizer lightly into the soil with your fingertips. Water the roses again. Stop feeding them by mid-August to prepare them for winter dormancy.

Pruning for Blooms

Cabbage roses bloom on the previous year's wood. Prune them at the end of their blooming season, generally in the summer, depending on local conditions. Clean pruning shears with household disinfectant between bushes to reduce the risk of transferring any pests or diseases. Prune short canes by about 2 inches, and cut off a third of the length of long canes. Prune off any dead, distorted or weak canes. Make the cut on the healthy part of the cane, an inch below the affected area.