Castilian Rose


Please contact me at your convenience about where to find the Castilian Rose, and is it the same as damask rose?
I would like to purchase this rose, and it is difficult to locate. I have tried an extensive web search of places near me (Parkdale Toronto) and had little success. Thank you,
Veronica M


The Damask rose is a fertile hybrid of Rosa gallica with either Rosa phoenicia or Rosa moschata, and it has been known since antiquity. It is suspected the hybrid first arose in Anatolia several millennia ago. Damask rose was known in Western Asia since the Bronze Age, and its cultivation later spread to Greece and Rome.

The scientific name for the Castilian Rose is Rosa damascena semperflorens. It is a rose hybrid derived hundreds of years ago from Rosa gallica and Rosa moschato. It is a species of Damask Rose.

Damask rose is the dominant source of rose oil (also known as rose otto), although in the European middle ages, rose oil was obtained from R. gallica flowers. For the essential oil business, highly scented rose varieties (oil roses) are grown in large scale. Main production countries are France and Bulgaria in Europe, but far more oil is produced in Turkey and Iran. The flowers are also grown to produce rose water for cooking.

There were a number of different Damask rose cultivars developed during the 17th and 18th century by European breeders which are now more available as interest in old roses has increased in Western countries. These roses are mainly ornamental and aren’t used for the production of rose oil and don’t have the intense perfume of the Castilian rose. Examples include Celsiana, Léda, Duc de Cambridge, Quatre Saisons, Ville de Bruxelles and Gloire de Guilan, Rose de Resht, and York and Lancaster.

Some of these more recent cultivars may suit you. We can’t recommend specific vendors, but if you google “damask roses for sale in Canada”, you will find a few places, several in Ontario. I think they sell only bare root plants, so these are ordered before Christmas 2023 for next year’s planting.

If you want the rose used for oil production, it’s harder to find. Autumn damask is the one recommended.

· Summer Damasks (R. × damascena nothovar. damascena) have a short flowering season, only in the summer.

· Autumn Damasks (R. × damascena nothovar. semperflorens (Duhamel) Rowley) have a longer flowering season, extending into the autumn; they are otherwise not distinguishable from the summer damasks.

Damask Rose is a multi-stemmed deciduous shrub with an upright spreading habit of growth. This is a high maintenance shrub that will require regular care and upkeep, and is best pruned in late winter once the threat of extreme cold has passed. It is a good choice for attracting bees to your yard. It has very long spines on the stems. It will grow to be about 7 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 5 feet. It tends to fill out right to the ground and therefore doesn’t necessarily require plants in front. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 20 years. This shrub should only be grown in full sunlight. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH.

The website link below gives more information on the care of the Damask Rose including feeding, propagation and pruning. It is hardy to zone 5.

Rosa Damascena

Thank you for your question, we hope this information helps.