Fact sheet: Seven Sisters Rose
Between 1815 and 1817, Charles Francis Greville, Esq. received from China a rambler rose, Rosa multiflora var. platyphylla, which enjoyed lasting popularity under the name of ‘Seven Sisters’.
John Louden (1844) gave an exuberant description of a specimen of this rose in the Goldsworth Nursery: “The variety of colour produced by the buds at first opening was not less astonishing than their number. White, light blush, deeper blush, light red, darker red, scarlet and purple flowers all appeared in the same corymb, and the production of these seven colours at once is said to be the reason why this rose is known as the Seven Sisters Rose.” In fact, the flowers open dark pink (dark enough on occasions to appear as red or purple) and fade to white. One curious attribute is its foliage: the leaves and leaflets are both large, whereas the leaflets are distinctly wrinkled.
This rose is a lovely old rambler from Britain, widely distributed throughout the world. If you don’t train it, it can be a large arching rose bush. The flower trusses can bear up to seven blooms, ranging from deep cerise-purple to pale mauve, or even off-white colors. It gets its name from the way the flowers change colors.The flowers open dark pink, dark enough to sometimes appear red or purple, and then fade through pink to white.
‘Seven Sisters’ rose can be easily rooted from cuttings.
The growth habit is very vigorous, as are most ramblers, and it can cover a large area. It is usually planted by a fence or a wall, and can grow up to 13 feet. The flowers bloom once yearly, from May to July. It should only be pruned after flowering in summer. Never prune in late winter or spring, if you do you won’t have any flowers this season. Zones 6-9.
Planted in Nassau County Extension Demonstration Garden