Sombreuil as a free-standing shrub

jardineratxFebruary 21, 2012

I know many of you have had success with training/growing certain climbers as free-standing shrubs, so I am tempted to try this with my Sombreuil. I know there has been much discussion regarding the correct identity of this rose, and perhaps to help clarify the ID of my rose, I can say that I purchased this from The Antique Rose Emporium and I have grown it tied somewhat laterally to a low fence section. Since the canes are so thorny and stiff, I believe I would prefer growing it as a tall free-standing shrub. Has anyone had success growing this particular rose this way?

Thanks,

Molly

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luxrosa

The two 'Sombreuil' roses sold in commerce are;
A. an Old Garden Tea rose, 'Sombreuil' which has a looser floral form than the climbing form and less petal substance. However, it is an evergreen plant and blooms more often than the other form, it being a Tea rose.

B The climber'Sombreuil' which has deeper green leaves of a thicker substance, large basal canes, and larger prickles.

I've seen the white Tea rose 'Sombreuil' several times, and I've grown 'Sombreuil' a climbing rose.

My neighbor grows climbing 'Sombreuil' as a shorter bush of c. 6 feet tall, she just pruned it down to c. 4 and 1/2 feet, for no good reason that I could see as we never get frost.

Her plant does have its' backside against a post, but it is not tied to it, nor does it appear to need support from it.

I would suggest keeping it to
around 5 and 1/2 feet tall, by 5 feet wide, so it wouldn't need support I would think, but cannot promise. A great thing about own-root rosebushes, which is what A.R.E. sells is that an own-root rosebush grows more slowly than the same rose if it were budded upon rootstock, in the first 3 years in a garden. You might need to prune it back after each bloom cycle or two to keep it within bounds, depending on where you plant it, but it is a rose I would try to grow self supporting.

Good luck,
luxrosa
I was going to order the climbing form today before I wrote this.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 6:24PM
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jardineratx

Thanks for your input, Luxrosa. I am really encouraged now to grow my Sombreiul as a shrub. Although it has never been a vigorous grower for me, tying and training it is something I do not enjoy, nor do very well. I do love the blooms and I would never consider removing it from my garden, but I do believe that in my particular case, growing it as a shrub is the better option.
Molly

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 9:51PM
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kittymoonbeam

Just make sure to give it plenty of room. Mine throws out thick long canes ( not always vertical). When it gets past 10 feet, it starts making the finer blooming growth. I'll be interested to find out how it grows when pruned lower down.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 11:31PM
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rosefolly

It would be very big. Very. Mine grew as a climber on an arbor. After a few years we had to take it down to paint the arbor, and when we did, I cut it back hard. It responded by producing lots and lots and lots of very vigorous canes. An explosion of canes. Big, thick, strong, thorny canes. It would cover an eight foot circle of real estate at the least, and possibly a ten foot one. And it is so thorny you would have a dreadful time weeding under it.

Do it if you want to. It may well be magnificent. But you have been warned, and are going into it with your eyes open.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 12:12AM
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cemeteryrose(USDA 9/Sunset 14)

My neighbor has always pruned his Sombreuil as a shrub and it seems to do fine, although he does have to cut off some longer, limber canes. It's got Rose Mosaic Virus so may not be as vigorous as other plants, but it makes a nice display anyway.
Anita

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 4:10AM
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TNY78(7a-East TN)

My Sombreuil was mislabled as Souv de la Malmaison when I purchased it. I discovered the error when 8 foot canes shot out of it the first year (plus the blooms are obviously different). It was planted in an area where a shrub should have grown, and has since been relocated next to the fence.

My experience with it growing unsupported is the same as everyone else's: thick unbendable canes & large thorns. My problem leaving it as a shrub, was that in edition to the area not being large enough, was that it was a very ununiform shape. Not the prettiest shrub shape to say the least :)

Tammy

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 9:24AM
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jacqueline9CA

I would also think that it would need a lot of space. Mine is climbing on a 8 ft wide 10 foot high arch with one end in a bed and the other at the house. It covered the arch, and then went another 15 feet up the side of the house.

Jackie

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 10:33AM
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jardineratx

Oh my goodness, I may wind up eliminating the problem of tying and training, but than develop a problem with space allotted for this rose if I grow it as a shrub. This rose is at least 7 years old and has never had more than 5-7 canes, which has always been perplexing to me. I transplanted it from its original location in hopes of it becoming more vigorous, but it never has. I am concerned, however, that if I start to prune as a shrub, it may explode into new growth and I simply won't have the room it will need. I have to really think about this before I make a decision. I am so grateful for the input each of you has provided.
Molly

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 11:07AM
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plantloverkat zone 9a north Houston(zone 9a)

When I lived in the Dallas, TX area, I also grew the Sombreuil sold by ARE. I grew it on a large arch for 5 or 6 years there before I moved. In all that time, I did not find it to be nearly as vigorous as many people here are describing. ARE describes this as being a "mannerly climber", as opposed to a vigorous climber. Is it possible that ARE sells a clone that is less vigorous, or that most other people are growing grafted plants? Or is it possible that while Sombreuil grows more vigorously in a cooler climate, it might grow more slowly in the hotter Texas climate? Perhaps you could call ARE and ask their opinion of how the plant will grow as a free standing shrub.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 3:11PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

Plantlover -- We had for many years a pair of Sombreuil over an arch. One was from ARE, and the other was purchased from Limberlost. Both grew canes easily 12-15-ft long, in Southern California.

I HAVE grown Sombreuil freestanding, and found it just became too large for its location, but I might try it again, in another location, as it was magnificent that way.

Jeri
Coastal Ventura County, Southern California

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 4:45PM
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rosefolly

Is it possible that these smaller versions of Sombreuil are actually the tea roses Mlle de Sombreuil, not the vigorous climber? That might explain some of the confusion.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 10:39PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

I doubt it Folly -- That rose was sold as 'La Biche' until just the most recent few years. It probably still is so sold, in some quarters.

Jeri

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 10:50PM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

Mine is not vigorous either, but I don't remember where I bought it. Mine's in a bad position: fairly shady and with some root competition from a tree. It's doing well for where it is, really, but he's been no monster at all. Hopefully he has the vigor to fill in a bit :)

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 5:06AM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

OK. Maybe Folly is right.

Meredith, did you buy 'Mlle. de Sombreuil,' a Tea Rose? This a typically-Tea rose twiggy bush: (See 2 Photos immediately below):

Or did you buy the modern Climbing rose, sold as 'Sombreuil'? A vigorous climber with really awesome prickles, on long, arching, semi-rigid canes? Blooms are a flat rosette, white, often tinged buff or buff pink, in cool weather. (See 1 photo, below):

I warned ARS when they confirmed that 'Sombreuil' name that it would only lead to continued confusion. It has.

Jeri

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 1:46PM
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plantloverkat zone 9a north Houston(zone 9a)

Jeri, my non vigorous version from ARE fits your photo and description in all points except the vigorous part. Of course, mine did grow in all day full Texas sun (next to a driveway at that) in clay soil, but the same growing conditions didn't seem to affect the vigor of the Dortmund growing 10 - 15 feet away.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 6:40PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

Well, she's a paragon of vigor here. :-)

Jeri

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 7:22PM
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jardineratx

I can only say that my Sombreuil (then called Colonial White by A.R.E.) is not what was sold as LaBiche because when I purchased mine at A.R.E. my sister purchased a LaBiche from them on the same trip there. Here is A.R.E.'s description of Sombreuil on their website:
Sombreuil
1880
This healthy but thorny climber was previously sold by us as 'Colonial White.� Its creamy white blooms are very large, flat, and quartered, with a most delicious Tea fragrance. The plant is reportedly free from mildew. This mannerly climber is ideally suited for use as a pillar rose, or training on a low wall, fence, or trellis.
8 to 12 feet
I plan a trip there in a couple of weeks and perhaps they have an in-ground planting of Sombreuil which will help me determine if my plant is merely wimpy in size, or if they now have a different Sombreuil.
Molly

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 7:55PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

No. I'm pretty sure they have the same Sombreuil they always had. It was probably sold as Sombreuil as early as it was sold as "Colonial White," but if I had my 'druthers, I'd call it Colonial White, and end the confusion.

They also have for a long time sold as 'La Biche' the rose that is now acknowledged as 'Mlle. de Sombreuil.' Their starting stock of that would have come from the Huntington Botanical Gardens, where it grew, having been donated by Phillip Robinson, who found it in NoCal.

Jeri

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 8:25PM
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kittymoonbeam

It drives me crazy that I can't smell anything from this rose. It's constantly blooming and I'm thankful for that but oh how I wish I could smell the fragrance of this beautiful rose.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 11:50PM
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