Nigrette/Louis XIV

landpersonJune 1, 2011

I've got both of these, or each of them once, or whatever you want to say about them, and they both produce some lovely flowers but generally look terrible in the ground.

Is anyone here growing them and having them look good? I am one of these hopeless humans who thinks that if I just get it right I should be able to make any of them look good, so if your advice is to shovel prune it, I don't want to hear about it: that's not on the list of possibilities.

I am very interested to know what the conditions are if you have one that looks good.


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OK, Susan, just how finely honed do you want to make your "occultic powers"? I imported Nigrette through Limberlost Roses from Rosen Schultheis back in the 1990s. It was a weak, spindly grower then, just as it is now. But, McFarland called it, "The Black Rose of Sangerhausen" so I HAD to grow it. Even he said, "if you are expecting a Hybrid Tea, forget it, as it grows like a small polyantha." That, it does. You, and all the rest of us are looking at it through Twenty-First Century eyes. You have to dial it back a bit, say nearly seventy years worth, when HTs were weak, spindly things and novelties sold by the bucket load without the Inter Net's immediate complaining about not being what you thought it would be.

It IS nearly black, about as dark, rich, velvety plum-purple-black as you're going to find any rose flower, but that plant! Grow Chateau de Clos Vougeot to see what I mean. Amazing flowers, rich scents, unearthly dark, velvety colors on the worst poop plants imaginable. Addicted to mildew, rust and black spot, inches of begrudging growth annually, and often parallel to the ground so the flowers (particularly Chateau) hang down in the dirt.

Roses then weren't the kinds of plants we have today. You have seven decades of improvement from those days to today and it shows. So, spray it, BUD it, give it Total Parental Nutrition. DO NOT LET IT BLOOM FOR A YEAR to build the type of plant you hope it will be (but it WON'T) as it just isn't in the genes. Grow Taboo, or Oklahoma or something dark if you need a decent plant under the blackish flowers, but this one just ain't gonna give you those AND a decent plant under them. Sorry. Kim

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 11:31PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

Or grow Prospero, which David Austin bred from his own 'The Knight' x 'Chateau de Clos Vougeot' and which is an excellent California rose (if you don't go pruning and cutting on it) -- or his 'The Dark Lady,' which is a child of 'Prospero.'

In my coastal climate, because I want roses with some vigor, I wouldn't even try to grow 'Nigrette.'


    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 11:38PM
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This makes me feel much better, as I shovel pruned Louis XIV last summer as I couldn't stand the plant itself. But the blooms were very lovely ... I'm trying Tuscany there now. Gean

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 12:44AM
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Ah, well good morning.
I've never expected this rose to be more than 15-24 inches tall, but I did think I could maybe make it have some decent foliage to go with those gorgeous blooms. Oh well.
I definitely won't get rid of it. My interest in roses isn't limited to roses that look good all the time, and certainly not in roses that make me look good all the time. I really am interested in how they are, so if this is how Nigrette/Louis XIV IS, it's me that will simply have to find a place and way to accommodate it. The flowers are certainly worth putting up with a plant that needs to be kept out of the prime viewing area (IMNSHO)


    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 10:11AM
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My Louie makes a nice little plant. It first was in full sun with plenty of water. did well there. Moved it to a partially shaded drier location it likes it there, too. I do spray it once/month for BS. other than that, fertilizer and irrigation I do nothing else for it.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 10:14AM
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Yeah Dennisb1. Thank you for at least one vote of confidence in the possibility.

And, Kim, do you think this would make a decent graft onto one of those Cardinal Hume root stocks that I have going????
I've been looking for something worth doing with them.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 11:01AM
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As Kim stated above, our 21st century expectations can be fairly demanding. Even in the 19th century, however, some discerning rosarians realized that 'Louis XIV' had some distinct limitations. Here are a couple of observations re 'Louis XIV' from that early era:

" . . . very beautiful, though unfortunately the blossoms nod somewhat; weak growth." DIE ROSE, Thomas Nietner, 1880

"Many varieties that are quite second-rate in respect of habit are grown for the sake of some peculiar quality, and a good example of this is 'Louis XIV' which is so exquisitely beautiful (when you can catch it) that the amateur who loves high quality will be content and happy to have its half dozen flowers, while other varieties, not altogether wanting in quality, are producing their flowers by (the) hundred." THE AMATEUR'S ROSE BOOK, Shirley Hibberd, 1874.

(Both quotations cited by Brent Dickerson in his OLD ROSE ADVISOR.)

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 10:43PM
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Absolutely Susan! Go for it. While neigher Nigrette or Chateau de Clos Vougeot are "good plants", given some extra vigor and pushed a bit, you'll be surprised at what they CAN do. Kim

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 12:24AM
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Good luck with it, Susan. I admire your fortitude.

I decided the weather here just isn't compatible with that rose - but it is a beautiful bloom. I think it likes more heat than what is here. Tuscany is, otoh, really happy up here cold wet slug land. Can you tell I still feel badly about executing his majesty?


    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 1:37AM
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Well, since this is such a small rose it's an easy one to take special care of. And since I have two of them I can actually keep one in the ground and put one into a pot and see which sorts of care work best. If all I get are blooms to put into the baskets and baskets of dried roses around the house, be it.

Thanks for all of your discouragement :-)))) At least I now know not to beat myself up if this rose doesn't perform well. That is no small thing....


    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 11:10AM
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organic_tosca(9/Sunset 14)

I had Nigrette as one of my first roses. I got it because I fell for the color, and because I needed my roses to be small and container-happy (made a few mistakes on the latter point). It did do well in a container, and I didn't think the plant looked funny. It seemed to me to have the angular growth habit that some Teas have, but it didn't lay on the ground as described in one of the above posts. I did, however, find another home for it, as I realized that my balcony was too hot for it, with an intense - afternoon sun - western exposure that crisped the blooms. I saw it after it spent some months in a more congenial home, and it looked wonderful. I think you should keep it!


    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 6:17PM
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organic_tosca(9/Sunset 14)

I forgot to mention that I got my plant own-root from Vintage Gardens, and that my west-facing balcony is in hot Sacramento CA.


    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 6:24PM
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Thanks for posting that info from Dickerson's book. It's good to know that Louis has always been a laggard, and that my failure with him is not altogether my fault.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 10:13PM
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I'm a dark rose addict in south Louisiana and I'm interested to read the negatives about Chateau du Clos Vougeot. I put a band from Rogue Valley Roses in the ground about 8 weeks ago, and I've been very impressed with her rate of growth, throwing up new basal breaks, only two leaves with BS, and already giving beautiful blooms in our 100-degree heat. Perhaps she likes heat combined with afternoon shade, which is what she gets. I originally put her in a gallon pot and sunk it in the ground for 2-3 weeks, then removed the pot. Also threw a handful of amendments in the hole: alfalfa, blood meal, and Epsom salts. Maybe I'll try Nigrette nearby and that's when I'll pay for my hubris.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 7:53AM
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I had 'Louis XIV' in a pot for a year or two and really liked it. They can't all be garage-swallowers! Very cool little rose.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 8:04PM
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landlady(USDA 8 or 9)

I take back anything and everything I ever said about this rose not looking good in the ground. She's been a blooming fool all season and is blooming-er than ever today. Yup, she's very very short, but she packs a wallop.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 4:01PM
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organic_tosca(9/Sunset 14)

Beautiful! BEAUTIFUL!!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 4:39PM
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poorbutroserich(Nashville 7a)

I am so glad you posted an update. I added Nigrette to my favorites last night on HMF and when I started reading this thread I got a bit discouraged! Gorgeous. Is she getting afternoon shade? Disease or fungus problems?
Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 11:18AM
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landlady(USDA 8 or 9)

She never gets full shade, but since she's so short she gets lots of dappled light from the taller roses that are above and behind her. She is on the west side of a walkway with a pretty clear eastern (morning) exposure but then her light is filtered.

I don't remember her getting any disease, but disease pressure is very low here. I get an occasional bout of rust (on Apricot Nectar and on Everest Double Fragrance), and an occasional bit of mildew (on a couple of Teas), but that's it, and I don't remember having any disease issues on Nigrette. She just stayed puny until I found the right spot in the yard and then she got gorgeous.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 11:36AM
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poorbutroserich(Nashville 7a)

Thanks! Do you have photos on HMF? Susan

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 7:00PM
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landlady(USDA 8 or 9)

"Thanks! Do you have photos on HMF?"

I do, but not very many and not of Nigrette. Some roses have more than enough photos already on HMF, so even when I like one of mine I am not likely to add it. I do add pictures when I think mine is different or shows something that has not yet been made clear. Even with 200+ roses, most of what I have has been reasonably well documented by now. I did add a picture of Frank Naylor recently since there seemed to be very few and mine was pretty nice...

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 7:18PM
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