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Best purple rose

April 24, 2007

Hi everyone. I would like some opinions on the best purple rose for zone 5. I am replacing a Wild Blue Yonder ( actually wasn't purple enough for me anyway) that didn't make it through our winter. I am looking for a deep purple,fragrant, winter hardy and something that has a good form and will look good in a large container,with more of a spreading habit. Am I asking too much? I would really like to find a purple groundcover if it exists. Some of the ones that I am considering are:

Plum Frost

Ebb Tide

Night Owl

I would love to hear what you experts think! Thanks!

Comments (38)

  • the_morden_man

    For zone#5, the best purple, red/purple repeat blooming roses are the hybrid Rugosas, Rotesmeer (Purple Pavement) which could be considered a large ground-cover shrub in growth and Roseraie de l'Hay, which is a very large growing shrub.

    Both of these are cane hardy to the tips, essentially disease immune, flower profusely and repeat well all season and best of all, are very fragrant. Rotesmeer also produces some huge red hips that are also very decorative and can provide wonderful fall and winter colour/interest.

    Good luck.

  • debbie_gardener

    Thank you! I have tried the Rosaraie de L'Hay before and I didn't have very good luck with it. It could have been the location though. I am going to do a search on Rotesmeer. It sounds like what I might be looking for. Have a great growing season!

  • the_bustopher z6 MO

    Ebb Tide should look pretty good in a container. It has a more compact growth habit for me. Others that you might consider are Charles de Gaulle, Shi-Un, Paradise, and Blueberry Hill. Night Owl is a climber. You would need to have some kind of support for it. Also, any rose in a container would need to be put in the ground or otherwise suitably protected for winter.

  • debbie_gardener

    Thank you! I really love the color of Ebb Tide that I see in the catalogues. I am just wondering how true the pics are. Another one that I just thought of is burgundy iceberg. It looks very purple in the pics and my white ones do very well. The reason that I mentioned Plum Frost is because J&P specifically mentions the winter hardiness and I love the color.

  • newyorkrita

    I planted Ebb Tide last spring and found that the spring blooms are exactly the deep puple pictured on the rose tag. Stunning color. In the summer the flowers lighten up from the heat. The flowers are smaller than the flowers of Wild Blue Yonder though.

  • athenainwi

    Ebb Tide really is a dark purple. Look for pictures on helpmefind to see the range of colors that a rose gets. My Ebb Tide made it through the winter in the ground so it is winter hardy but I wouldn't leave it in a container outside. Ebb Tide has smallish flowers that don't last long but it has a lot of them so I didn't have a problem with that. Burgundy Iceburg is more burgundy than purple, but it is still a very pretty color. I don't have burgundy iceburg yet but I expect it would do well here (I certainly hope so, I have one ordered). Another to look at is Rhapsody in Blue (another one I ordered). It has a very nice color to it.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Helpmefind

  • debbie_gardener

    I am leaning towards the Ebb Tide, but it seems to be sold out in a lot of places. Does anyone know a good mail order source? I may end up getting more than one purple rose because it's just getting harder to make up my mind. I'm sure we can find a few more spots...

  • sunnishine

    I just ordered it 2 weeks ago but the season has ended for shipping roses for most places. The last shipping date for most places is June 15th. I got it from jungseed and they sent me 2 by accident.

    I have several purple roses including

    purple tiger- stripped purple- good reviews in my area but not in others

    angelface- wonderful smelling and gorgeous rose but prone to blackspot- a lot of people still love this rose though-I know I do- repeats quickly

    purple passion- some people say theirs are not purple but mine are definitely purple, fragrant

    and of course ebb tide

    I am in a different area then you are though.


  • pacnwgrdngirl

    Midnight Blue ~ nice compact-ish size one very dark purple.

    Ebb Tide ~ nice med size with an outstanding, strong fragrance & yes, that really is the color!

    Rhapsody in Blue ~ Nice floribunda that is very, very purple! Always blooming too.

    Wild Blue Yonder ~ nice tall bush with really big ruffled blooms. The color changes every day. Every color change is pretty!

    I have lots more purples, but I won't keep on going. :o)
    I've added some OGR purples this year. They are very purple!

  • taoseeker

    Of the purple and burgundy roses I like some Hybrid Perpetuals best of all. Souvenir du Dr Jamain, Charles Lefebvre and Reine des Violettes. When the weather is a bit cloudy the colors are remarkable. They also have the best scent.

  • jerijen

    I really like Midnight Blue here in Southern Caliornia.

    Last year, we had a couple of days of freaky (for us) weather, with warm tropical air flowing up from the South.
    This is highly unusual for us. Normally, if it's humid, it is cold. If it's warm, it's dry.

    Within 24 hours of the onset of that tropical air mass, Midnight Blue was blackspotted from top to bottom, with leaves beginning to drop.
    I defoliated, bagged, and trashed.
    The weather quickly returned to normal, and the plant grew new leaves.
    But I think if blackspot is normally a problem for you, you might want to avoid Midnight Blue.

    Route 66, which blooms much less here, was not affected. Neither doth it rust or mildew. (And I highly recommend Reine des Violettes.)

    Coastal Southern California

  • geo_7a

    But how disease resistant is Ebb Tide? Heirloom & Amity both say it is, but does that make it so?

  • gnabonnand

    'Reine des Violettes' has been the "fairest" of them all for 147 years.
    It possesses true "old rose" fragrance, because it IS an old rose.
    Thornless ... when purchased from a reputable source, such as The Antique Rose Emporium.


    Reine des Violettes:

  • geo_7a

    no doubt, but reine des violettes = hybrid perpetual = blackspot?

  • gnabonnand

    Nope, not for me, she's a good girl ... your mileage may vary depending on your humidity level, rain frequency, soil, etc. Dallas gets hot, but it's relatively dry here, and not the most humid place in the south.


  • carla17

    I should not have opened this. I think someone posted a Rhapsody in Blue for my bday post and I wanted one. I love these pictures, enablers paradise.
    I'd like to know which you choose, Debbie.


  • geo_7a

    I don't know what I'd choose as a remontant purple. I'd like to know what might work as disease resistant first.

    As far as the other way, I've chosen Belle de Crecy & Captain John Ingram.

  • judith5bmontreal

    Carla, Reines des Violettes is on order for spring, mainly because of Randy's gorgeous photos, and also Ebb Tide....the purples are just irresistible. I just can't wait for the fragrance either....it's definitely safer to just not turn on your computer some days...

  • alameda/zone 8/East Texas

    I have a Rhapsody in Blue, still in a pot. It did fine for me, but I have since read it performs best in cooler weather, which east Texas where I live certainly is not, during the summer months. Does anyone in Texas, or other hot parts of the country, grow this rose and how does it perform for you?

  • Molineux

    REINE DES VIOLETTES is the rose you want for zone 5. I knew a guy in zone 4 who grew it without any winter dieback. It is also the most disease resistant purple rose that I've ever grown. Here in black spot hell it doesn't get spotted until the very end of the season. Infrequent spraying is more than enough for completely clean foliage. Heck, in your region it is worth trying no-spray. BTW, every inch of this plant is fragrant: from the blooms to the foliage to the canes. Touch any part of the shrub and your hands will smell like roses. No thorns either. Needless to say I'm very fond of it. Ties with Souvenir de la Malmaison as my favorite Old Garden Rose (OGR).

    Lastly, I recommend you buy this rose from either Vintage Gardens or The Antique Rose Emporium because Malcolm Manners thinks that they have clones of his virus free plant that he heat treated back in the 80s.

    Good luck,


    Image of RdV by Christian at Hortiplex

  • carla17

    I have Belle de Crecy and Reine de Voilettes but they are both babies. I think I was disappointed in the color of Ebb Tide in my zone. I really like my Rootes Meer and Rose Rugosa Rubra.


  • geo_7a

    re reine des violettes - sounds good, but Patrick sprays the roses (see his post of garb from H. G. Wells) and Olga indicates that though it has better disease resistance than most HPs (and granted her tolerance for blackspot is not high), with the exception of Marchesa Boccella, still spraying is required on the east coast?

    I can live with some blackspot, if not debilitating to the bush, but would not want to have to spray. Is this possible?

  • buford

    I planted RdV last year, so it is still a baby as well. But I didn't see any bs on it this year, even though it's neighbor, Fabulous! had some. I also didn't see any blooms on RdV either :(

  • erasmus_gw

    That picture of Wild Blue Yonder perks me up. My Midnight Blue is very purple, sometimes almost black, with great rebloom. It is very bs resistant so far. My Reine des Violettes is pretty and not particularly bs prone but doesn't rebloom well where I have it. To me Cardinal de Richelieu is a much heavier bloomer, and more purple.
    Not very fragrant though. The Prince is a very purple Austin with pretty good rebloom and not bad health. Heirloom is a very fragrant lavender purple ht. Digger Dave has a great plant of that if you can find a picture of it. Would like to hear if anyone loves Stephen's Big Purple.

  • cincy_city_garden

    I have to chime in for Reine des Violettes. I planted mine late summer this year from ARE. This bloom is darker due to the Fall weather. You can see a couple spots on the leaves. I think I sprayed the plant twice in about 3 months.



  • ceterum

    The best dark purple rose I am familiar with is The Prince.

    There is a stunning deep purple color rugosa - Kaye of Arkansas posted a few photos of it, I wish she would do it again. That would be hardy in your zone and Kaye said that it didn't fade even in blazing sun.

    Randy and Cinci-city your RdV is awesome!Mine never ever has this deep color. What is your secret?

    Apropos! Magenta keeps its color in full sun (not as dark as the The Prince but it is definitely purple.

    I have Midnight Blue - in full sun. The blooms fade to a grayish color that isn't attractive.

  • cincy_city_garden

    I think it's the cooler weather that made for the deeper color, I think the picture was taken in October/November. It could also be that this was the only bloom I let open (pinched the others off) in it's first year...maybe it sent all it's color to that one bloom ;)


  • alla_pa


    I liked my Stephen's Big Purple. I got it last spring from Palantine, it grew to 5 feet tall by fall, it bloomed a lot. The flowers were big and fragrant. It stayed clean with occasional spraying. The only downside was it was not really purple the most of the year, except fall.

  • gnabonnand

    My Reine des Violettes varies in color depending upon the weather. Sometimes it is purple, sometimes it is some other interesting color blend from deep red to violet to dove grey to soft pink and everything in between. One thing is for sure, it's color is always fascinating and it is fun to watch the color blending that takes place on each bloom as it ages. A luscious rose in my garden.


  • erasmus_gw

    Thanks, Alla...it sounds like a good plant, though it does look more pink than purple.

    I have an own root RdV and a grafted one. The grafted one is growing better...I've heard that other people find it's better grafted also.

    Ceterum, my Midnight Blue gets afternoon shade and I haven't seen it fade ugly.

    I also like Yesterday for a purple with small blooms.

  • Carrie_AZ

    Since I live in the Az desert it is hard to find a good purple rose that will not fade in our intense sun. I have had lots of luck with Intrigue, and Heirloom. They keep their color in the heat.

  • decobug

    Ebb Tide has been beautiful here:


    Burgundy Iceberg is one of the first roses that is actually burgundy and says it!


  • gnabonnand

    That photo of 'Burgundy Iceberg' is incredible.
    You captured the light through the petals in such a way that it appears to be stained glass.


  • katefisher


    I greatly enjoyed your photo of Stephen's Big Purple. Never heard of it before. I really like the color and bush shape.

    Thanks for sharing that.


  • alla_pa


    Thank you very much for your kind words. Though SBP was not my choice, it was the only plant ever my DH asked me to order, I was pleased with the rose's fragrance and color (even when it was not purple-ish). It's too early to talk about the bush shape, because by the end of the first season, it looked like a teenager, tall and slim. But I hope that with the right trimming (actually, wrong for HT according to the books),in a couple of years SBP will be as bushy and rounded, and without "bare legs", as all of my other HTs.

  • katefisher

    Sure Alla.

    Debbie sorry for the thread hijacking. Alla share some more pictures with us this spring? While it is true SBP is not very purple it is still lovely. I think it's great when a rose you knew nothing about or were reluctant to plant proves to be a star like that rose. Thanks again.


  • Al Mitchell zone 5b (ameri2nal)

    Intrigue is a beautiful shade of dark purple with intense fragrance, and fairy winter hardy, too. Mine stays about 3X3.
    The bugs really like its flowers.

  • parker25mv

    My favorite is definitely Sterling Silver. I realize it is not considered the most prolific bloomer, and there are many other purple roses that are more vigorous, but I still prefer it over other purple varieties such as Sweetness, Lagerfeld, Neptune, or Blue Girl.

    First, the blooms of an established Sterling Silver rose bush are perfectly shaped and very full. Second, the color; it is among the most bluish-lavender hues of any rose variety, and the color is completely uniform and not the slightest bit splotchy. It is not the deepest shade of color, and could be described as slightly greyish, but that is why it is called "Sterling Silver". Lastly, the fragrance is probably the best of any rose I have smelled. The fragrance is like lemon with damask. But unlike certain other rose varieties, the "lemon scent" is not the type that smells like lemon disinfectant, and the damask-like aspect of the fragrance is very soft, it's not like other roses that have a very sharp smell like alcohol in a bottle of perfume.

    Of course, what I like about the shape, color, and fragrance are entirely a matter of personal preference. But in my opinion, Sterling Silver is the perfect rose variety, so long as you can be patient and appreciate the blooms when they come.

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