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The Abraham Darby Rose

Have you ever been told to just stop and smell the roses? Well, when you’ve got a beautiful hedge of Abraham Darby roses, it can be very difficult not to. These fragrant roses are known for their strong, fruity fragrance that wafts through the air each time the wind blows.

Even if your nose is a bit stuffy, you’ll find it hard to miss these roses. Blooming up to a whopping four inches in diameter, these showy roses certainly add a grand appeal no matter where they’re placed.

Keep reading to learn more about these fragrant, eye-catching roses.

Closeup of apricot-colored Abraham Darby Roses.

History of Abraham Darby Rose

Named after Abraham Darby, who constructed the first iron bridge, the Abraham Darby rose is a very popular flower in England. It is bred by crossing the climber hybrid tea rose Aloha with the floribunda Yellow Cushion rose.

While the flower itself is stunning, it was its scent that first caught people’s attention. Its signature fruity fragrance is cut through with a refreshing sharpness that’s hard to miss.

Abraham Darby roses are cultivars of David Austin roses. Aside from their signature scent and feminine colors, you’ll find beautiful patterns on these roses in yellow, buff-apricot, cream, and pink swirls.

Closeup of Abraham Darby roses.

Significance of Abraham Darby Rose

The first thing you’ll notice about the Abraham Darby rose is its fragrance. The memorable scent is the result of a complex mix of tea and floribunda that combine in an aroma that is hard to resist.

These roses are far from small and dainty; in fact, these cupped flowers grow up to 4.3 inches in diameter with 70 petals!

These roses are hard to miss when walking around a garden, and they’re even more fascinating to watch as they grow. The blooms begin with a dark pinkish hue that lightens to apricot as they mature.

Their color depends on the climate in which they grow. Abraham Darby roses tend to be darker in cooler temperatures and pale and fleshy in warmer weather.

Person holding the stem of an Abraham Darby rose -- shows scale of flower.

Typical Uses of the Abraham Darby Rose

Because of their large flowers, these shrub roses are often used in mixed borders and shrub hedges. These roses are very popular with landscapers, gardeners, horticulturists, and florists.

The Abraham Darby rose has been used as a parent rose to hybridize the following cultivars:

Because of their size, shape, and appearance, these roses are often found in flower gardens all over England.

An Abraham Darby rose shrub.

Characteristics of Abraham Darby Rose

Here’s everything you need to know about what sets Abraham Darby roses apart.

These large, 70-petal hybrid roses are indeterminate inflorescences, which means the youngest roses in a shrub are at the top of the axis. These shrubs are rather large, taking up an average of five square feet when allowed to flourish. They are excellent additions for those who want a lush, flowering garden.

Abraham Darby roses can also be trained to climb if you want them to.

Closeup of Abraham Darby Roses.

Blooming Season

These roses are best planted between January and May. They are winter hardy up to −4°F, and they thrive in USDA zones 5 to 11.

Make sure to plant them under the right conditions (full sunlight, facing east or west) if you want a full bloom come early summer.

Abraham Darby Rose Flower Size

Abraham Darby roses boast some of the biggest blooms you’ll find in any garden. With an average diameter of 4.3 inches and 70 petals, these cup-shaped flowers can be quite heavy.

This is why it’s quite common to see shrubs with drooping flowers. If you want your roses to grow upright, make sure the blooms are adequately supported.

Closeup of cluster of Abraham Darby roses.

Can You Grow Abraham Darby Roses at Home?

Yes, you can. Just keep these things in mind:

  • Choosing the right location is of the utmost importance. Put these roses where they’ll be protected throughout the winter months. Remember that they will grow into large shrubs, so make sure your garden can accommodate them.
  • If you’re planning on growing these shrubs in containers, make sure they’re at least 5 x 5 ft wide. These shrubs need a lot of space to grow.
  • Make sure your roses get plenty of sunlight during the day.

What Does Abraham Darby Rose Smell Like?

Abraham Darby roses have a strong, fruity scent. It’s strong enough to be noticed from a few paces, but it doesn’t overpower the garden. Instead, it adds a whole new dimension to the overall aroma of your collection of blooms.

A single Abraham Darby rose.

Is Abraham Darby A Climbing Rose?

These roses have been bred to be large shrubs, and they can grow very tall. To train them to climb, you’ll need to provide each bloom with a pillar.

How Tall Does Abraham Darby Rose Get?

These rose shrubs can grow more than 9 ft tall, depending on how you care for them and train their flowers.

Planting & Growing Abraham Darby Rose

Abraham Darby Roses are fairly easy to cultivate and care for. If you want them to thrive and grow into lush shrubs, here are some things you should keep in mind:

Planting Zones

Abraham Darby roses thrive in USDA zones 5 to 11. They can also be grown in cooler climates as long as they’re protected against frost and given plenty of sunlight.

Size and Spacing

These roses can grow to be up to 9.8 ft tall. As such, it’s important to make sure they have at least 5 ft by 5 ft of space to grow.

If you don’t have a garden large enough for full-grown shrubs, start by cultivating them in large containers and transplant them into their permanent home in the future.

Person spreading soil around newly planted rose shrub.


Abraham Darby roses can grow well in all soil types with varying pH levels. Make sure your soil is well-drained at all times.


These roses need plenty of sunlight to thrive. It’s best to plant them where they can get as much natural light as possible during the day.


Abraham Darby roses must be watered regularly, about once a week. Be careful not to overwater—too much soil moisture can lead to various diseases that could ruin your rose bed.

Person watering newly planted rose shrub.


Fertilizing your Abraham Darby roses is essential, especially during the early stages of their growth. Feed your shrub high-quality organic granular fertilizer to see healthy blooms.


Abraham Darby roses bloom on new wood. As such, it’s important to prune them early in the season. New growth should be cut back to buds every two to three weeks. You’ll want to keep these cuts as small as possible to keep the plant healthy.

Where to Buy Abraham Darby Rose Seeds and Shrubs?

You can find these shrubs at your local garden center or order them online.

Where to Buy Abraham Darby Rose Flowers

When sourcing fresh flowers, make sure they’re high quality and grown organically. Online flower retailers can help you whether you need a single rose or a whole bouquet.

Arrangement of cut flower Abraham Darby roses.

You can get Abraham Darby roses here:


Closeup of single Abraham Darby rose.

Abraham Darby roses are stunning shrubs with cup-shaped blossoms and a powerful scent that’s hard to resist. And like all roses, they require specific growing conditions to thrive.

To grow your shrub to its full potential, make sure you have the right gardening tools and supplies before you begin. Good luck and happy planting!

Is there an Abraham Darby rose growing in your garden? If so, tell us all about this lovely English-style rose in the comments section below!

Excited for more rose content? Then keep reading all about these beautiful flowers, how to take care of them, and more on our roses page!