Angel Face Rose: History, Characteristics & Cultivation

The Angel Face Rose, officially known as Rosa ‘Angel Face’, is a floribunda rose variety. This rose was developed by Herbert Swim & Weeks Rose Growers, and introduced into the United States in 1968 by Conard-Pyle (Star Roses) with the name ‘Angel Face’. From 1968 till today it is a popular flower among gardeners and rose enthusiasts.

It’s considered a classic floribunda with abundant clusters of mauve or lavender blooms with a touch of ruby blush on the edges. The rose experts Charles and Brigid Quest-Ritson, in their “Encyclopedia of Roses”, acknowledge the enduring appeal of Angel Face, stating it as “proof that old roses are sometimes better than new.”

Angel Face Rose is a cross between two other floribunda roses, (‘Circus’ × ‘Lavender Pinocchio’) and ‘Sterling Silver’, a hybrid tea rose. It has won several awards for its beauty and fragrance, including the All-America Rose Selections (AARS) award in 1969 and the ARS John Cook Medal in 1971 for fragrance.

The blooms of the Angel Face Rose are large and semi-double, with ruffled edges and a unique color that varies from lavender to a deep, rich pink. The flowers have an intense fragrance, which is a mix of sweet citrus and rose. The foliage is glossy and dark green. It provides a beautiful contrast to the beautiful blooms.

This rose is a low-growing, bushy plant that reaches a height of about 3 to 4 feet and a width of 3 feet. It is a hardy plant, suitable for growing in USDA zones 5 through 9. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil, and it requires regular watering and fertilization to thrive.

Characteristics of Angel Face Rose

  • Size and Growth Habit: This rose is a compact shrub reaching a mature height of 3-4 feet. It has an upright, bushy growth habit with glossy, dark green foliage.
  • Growth rate: It a moderate growth rate. It establishes itself relatively quickly in a garden with ideal condition, producing a well-rounded and vigorous shrub.
  • Flower: The flowers are semi-double, featuring 30-35 petals with a ruffled, waved edge. The color is a blend of rich, deep lavender with a subtle ruby blush edging some of the petals.
  • Bloom Time: Blooms begin in late spring and continue into mid-fall.
  • Fragrance: The flowers exude a rich citrus perfume, earning it the ARS John Cook Medal for fragrance.
  • USDA Zone: It thrives in warmer climates, ideally suited for USDA Hardiness Zones 6b to 9b. In cooler zones, it may require additional winter protection.
  • Lifespan: With proper care and in ideal condition, they can live for about 30 years.
  • Hardiness: These roses are relatively hardy, but they are susceptible to aphids and rose rust.

Cultivation Tips

  • Planting: Plant in well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Choose a location that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.
  • Watering: Water regularly, especially during dry periods, to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.
  • Fertilizing: Feed with a balanced rose fertilizer during the growing season to promote healthy growth and abundant blooms.
  • Pruning: Prune in late winter or early spring to remove dead or weak growth and to shape the plant. This encourages vigorous flowering and maintains the plant’s form.
  • Mulching: Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the plant to retain moisture and suppress weeds.