Reine Victoria Rose: History, Characteristics & Cultivation

The Reine Victoria rose, also known as ‘La Reine Victoria’, was introduced in France in 1872 by a French breeder Joseph Schwartz. It was named after Queen Victoria, the long-reigning British monarch whose era coincided with the introduction of the rose.

This rose is part of the Bourbon group, which originated from the island of Bourbon (now known as Réunion). The Bourbon roses are hybrids of accidental crossing of a Rosa chinensis, possibly the ‘Old Blush’ variety, with an autumnal Damascena, possibly the Rosa x damascena ‘Quatre Saisons’.

The Reine Victoria rose forms a branched shrub that can reach a height of over 2 meters. Its flowers have 40 petals arranged in a cup shape, and are initially a vibrant pink in the bud stage that fades to more delicate, romantic shades as they mature. The flowers are around 7 cm in diameter, appearing both in isolation and in small clusters of 3-7 blooms.

This rose has strong fragrance and ability to bloom continuously throughout the season, although the remontancy (repeat blooming) can be modest depending on the climate. It prefers a sunny and dry environment. This rose is often found in heritage and botanical gardens, as well as in private collections of rose enthusiasts.

Characteristics of Reine Victoria Rose

  • Size and Growth Habit: This is a large shrub, growing up to 5 feet tall. It has a slender, upright growth habit. With some training, it can also be grown as a low-climber.
  • Growth Rate: This rose has a moderate growth rate, establishing well in suitable conditions and reaching its mature size within a few growing seasons.
  • Flower: The rose produces rich lilac-pink, fully double, cupped blooms with silky-textured petals. The blooms are about 7 cm broad and are mostly isolated or in small clusters.
  • Bloom Time: This rose is a repeat bloomer, it blooms from late spring through fall.
  • Fragrance: The flowers have a strong, sweet fragrance.
  • USDA Zone: This rose thrives in USDA zones 5 to 9. This translates to a good tolerance for cold weather, surviving winter temperatures down to -20°F (-29°C).
  • Lifespan: With proper care and maintenance, the Reine Victoria rose can thrive for many years, often living up to several decades.
  • Hardiness: This rose is quite hardy, capable of withstanding various weather conditions. It performs well in both cold and warm climates.
  • Disease Resistance: While relatively low-maintenance, the Reine Victoria rose can be susceptible to blackspot, a fungal disease.


  • Reine Victoria roses thrive in full sun to partial shade, but they perform best in full sun. Ensure the planting area has well-drained soil.
  • Before planting, enrich the soil with organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure. This will improve the soil’s structure and provide essential nutrients.
  • Dig a hole that is twice as wide and deep as the rose’s root ball. Place the rose in the hole, ensuring the bud union (the point where the cultivated rose has been grafted onto the rootstock) is at soil level. Backfill the hole with soil, firm it gently, and water the plant well.
  • Water the rose deeply and regularly, especially during dry spells. Avoid overhead watering to prevent diseases.
  • Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring and again in early summer.
  • Prune the rose in late winter or early spring to maintain its shape and encourage healthy growth. Remove dead, diseased, or damaged wood, and cut back the remaining stems by about one-third.
  • Keep an eye out for common rose pests, such as aphids, and diseases, like black spot and powdery mildew.
  • Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the rose to conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.
  • If your Reine Victoria rose grows tall and slender, consider providing support, such as a trellis or stakes, to prevent the plant from flopping over.