A beautiful heirloom Bourbon rose bears the cultivar name “Maggie” (Rosa “Maggie”). It’s a bush with deep purple-red blooms that was discovered in Louisiana and named by Dr. William C. Welch. Bourbon roses originated on the Ile de Bourbon, also known as Reunion Island, in the Indian Ocean and were brought into cultivation in Paris in the early 1800s. They are known for their vigor, fragrance, arching canes and ability to rebloom.
Bourbon roses are thought to be the result of a naturally occurring cross between the Chinese rose “Parson’s Pink” (Rosa chinensis “Parson’s Pink”), also known as “Old Blush,” and a red reblooming Damask rose, “Monthly Rose” (Rosa damascena “Monthly Rose”). Both types of roses were used as hedges on the island during the 1700s and 1800s.
Hardiness and Culture
“Maggie” rose thrives in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 9. It prefers rich, moist, slightly acidic soil with good drainage in full sun. While antique roses such as “Maggie” usually are more resistant to diseases and insects than hybrid tea roses, air circulation is essential. Provide plenty of space for the rose to reach its mature size. Fertilize in spring with a slow-release fertilizer formulated for roses.
Flowers and Leaves
Lush, violet-red multi-petaled blooms with a heady fragrance are the hallmark of the “Maggie” rose. An everblooming variety, “Maggie” covers itself with bright, rounded flowers from spring through fall. Foliage is medium green, and, in USDA zones 8 and 9, “Maggie” is evergreen.
“Maggie” rose grows about 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide with long, arching canes, making it useful as a hedge rose. It also can be used as a pillar rose or climber by securing its canes to a support. A strong, vigorous grower, it quickly reaches full size. It needs only light pruning to remove spent flowerheads, dead wood or to reduce the length of its side shoots.