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The Angel Face Rose

Every garden needs something that creates a wow factor. A bloom of unusual color or a fragrance so heavenly you’ll hear celestial choirs sing when you smell it. How about a rose that has both? Then you’ll want to know about the Angel Face rose!

A lilac and mauve-colored rose bloom.

If you’ve got a garden that’s missing that special something or you’ve already got a great garden that has room for one more award-winning rose, keep reading to learn about Angel Face roses and how to make them part of your landscape design.

History of Angel Face Roses

The Angel Face rose is a floribunda rose created in 1968 by rose breeders Herbert C. Swim and O.L. Weeks. It was introduced to American gardeners by Conard-Pyl. ‘Angel Face’ is a marvelous creation of three roses: the Sterling Silver, Circus, and Lavender Pinocchio roses.

A Sterling Silver rose bloom, one of the parents of the Angel Face rose.
A Sterling Silver rose.

The year after its market release, the Angel Face rose took the award for All American Rose Selection. In 1971 its lovely fragrance earned it the ARS John Cook Medal.

Characteristics of the Angel Face Rose

The Angel Face rose grows 3-4 feet high with a similar spread. It’s dense and full, thriving in a sunny spot with well-draining soil. These roses do best with six hours of full sun daily, combined with a bit of afternoon shade in particularly warm climates.

Closeup of an Angel Face rose bloom,
An Angel Face rose.

This hybrid rose is a rich lavender or mauve hue with bold red tinges that measures around four inches in diameter. The smell is intoxicating, more citrus than traditional rose, and the bush typically reaches around three feet tall by the same width when mature.

Planting Angel Face Roses

Established rose bushes that come as a potted plant are the easiest to get started. Make sure that the hole is around twice as big and deep as the plant itself and enrich the soil with a good potting mix.

As for a bare root plant, soak overnight in tepid water to clean the roots a bit. Dig a hole that allows for ample room under the soil for the roots to spread and grow. Fan out the roots in the hole and add your soil mix.

Give the plant a deep watering until the earth is muddy. This not only irrigates the plant but also gets rid of any air pockets that could be underground. It helps the rose settle into its new home. Go ahead and add a thick layer of bark mulch to protect and preserve your rose.

Red mulch around rose shrubs.

Caring for Angel Face Roses

So, how do you take care of Angel Face roses and help them to thrive? It is surprisingly easy! If you have ever grown roses previously, you have an advantage, but it is certainly not difficult to cultivate hardy roses with some effort and care.

It is important not to over-water your roses as they are susceptible to rot, and experts report that one good, deep watering weekly during the season is adequate. However, if you live in a very hot climate or one with prolonged high temperatures, check and water your rose bushes every four days.

Roses like a sunny spot to bloom, but make sure that they have a bit of shade during the hottest times of the day. Consider granular fertilizer when starting them out in spring, and a couple more times during the season for repeat blooms that will not disappoint!

Encouraging Blooms

There are few things as spectacular outside a home or in a garden as an Angel Face rose bush in bloom- magnificent! One reason why gardeners choose this variety is that it is a repeat bloomer.

Lilac and mauve-colored rosebuds.

You can enjoy even-more flowers at blooming time with these suggestions.

  • Blend banana peels and a little water into a solution that you can pour in the soil near the rose bush trunk. This concoction will help create more blossoms and roses later!
  • Sprinkle a pinch of coffee grounds over the soil near your rose but go easy. Too much can have adverse effects and will not increase the blooms on your rose bush.
  • Another tip for improving the yield of your rose bush is alfalfa. Plant alfalfa near your rose bush as a companion plant to encourage new buds and flowers, or brew alfalfa into a tea that you cool and pour over the soil near your rose bush.

Remember that basic but diligent care will also contribute to more roses when the bush blooms. Water the plant properly, fertilize it throughout the season, and prune in early spring- all of which will help your Angel Face rose bush produce more and more buds and flowers each year!

A lilac-colored rose bloom.

Pruning Angel Face Roses

Before your rose bush buds in the spring, plan on pruning and trimming it back a bit. The Angel Face rose bush should be pruned in very-early spring.

Cut any dead or damaged branches first, and then cut back any canes to about a third of their size to promote new buds, foliage, and growth.

Do not leave your rose cuttings, foliage, or debris laying in the yard- dispose of it right away. These clippings can attract pests to your yard and garden fast. Finish with a generous layer of bark mulch to protect the plant’s roots and help it retain moisture.

Closeup of pruning shears cutting a rose cane.

Pests and Problems Associated with Angel Face Roses

This variety of rose grows fast and is easy to grow. The most common problem that arises with Angel Face roses is black spot in hot temperatures for prolonged periods. Black spot is a fungus that harms the plant’s foliage, typically in environments that are humid, warm, and dark.

The black spot spores reach the roses through contact with soil, pests, and water- so water carefully and thoughtfully to prevent splashes.

If the rose bush is affected by black spot, the leaves will turn yellow and, eventually, fall from the plant. When the plant loses all its leaves, it deteriorates and often dies.

As for pests, aphids can be a problem. If you see signs of aphids- usually dark discoloration on the leaves- act fast before you lose your rosebuds and compromise the health of the foliage.

Aphids and a ladybug on plant leaves.

You should start by wiping down the leaves to get rid of them, using soap with insecticide. You may have to trim damaged or deteriorated segments of the rose bush.

Consider letting nature handle the aphids by using ladybugs in your garden, who prey on aphids and other pesky pests.

Other potential problems and predators around your roses are Caterpillars. The butterfly larvae will eat and destroy the rosebuds on your Angel Face rose bush. The best way to eliminate caterpillars from any plant is to use a heavy stream of water from a hose as well as an insecticide that will eliminate these insects but will not harm your landscaping.

Creating Arrangements and Decorating with Angel Face Roses

One of the best things about roses is how versatile they are in terms of display or decoration. Angel Face roses are ideal for use as cut flowers in arrangements, centerpieces, bouquets, and boutonnieres. Keep the cut flowers in water or misted, and they will last.

Lilac-colored roses.

When using roses for these types of purposes, cut the stem at an angle with a sharp, clean knife or a pair of scissors. You can also use water tubes for cut flowers to keep the roses fresh, while also being a discreet way of maintaining moisture in the stems.

Angel Face Rose FAQs

What makes the Angel Face rose so special?

This variety of rose is easy to grow, and in warmer climates, the flowers take on a bluish-lilac hue edged in red that is quite distinctive and striking. This rose is also very resistant to disease.

Is it easy to care for an Angel Face rose?

Yes — the Angel Face rose is considered one of the easiest roses to grow. This plant has specific water and light requirements that need to be considered, but they do not require extra or specialized care of any kind.

Lilac-colored roses.

What does the Angel Face Rose smell like?

The Angel Face rose has a sweet, strong fragrance that is like other roses, but with a citrusy fruit-like essence. The smell is described as very appealing and has been replicated for perfumes and products widely.

Where To Buy Angel Face Roses

Bouquets or Cut Flowers

Like many roses bred as garden roses, Angel Face roses aren’t going to be easy to find in commercial floral arrangements or sold as cut flowers — if you can find them at all.

But don’t fret because this is all the more reason to grow your own! A sweet, informal little display can be as easy as walking into your garden to snip some blooms to pop into a vase or even a Mason jar for a cottage-style decoration for your home.

An informal arrangement of lilac-colored roses in a white pitcher.

Buying Angel Face Rose Shrubs

Angel Face rose bushes are available online for shipment to your door, depending on the season.

You can order your own Angel Face rose shrub from Nature Hills Nursery, one of the largest online plant retailers. This is an extremely popular variety, so if they’re out of stock, be sure to sign up for notifications so you’ll know when they’re back in stock and you can place your order.

A lilac-colored rose bloom.

Make an Angel Face Rose the Darling of Your Garden

When it comes to roses that delight both the eye and the nose, the Angel Face rose checks all the boxes. The lovely lavender color and the heady perfume of the blooms will please both you and guests visiting your garden. Even beginning gardeners can add these low-maintenance beauties to this year’s planting lineup. With basic care, you’ll have Angel Face roses year after year.

Closeup of a lilac-colored rose bloom.

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!

Marie Price

Saturday 29th of April 2023

enjoyed the article. i have grown Angel Face in the past as well as my favorite Sterling Silver. A nursery here in town has Angel Face available but the beds are peeking out RED. I don't remember that characteristic and am wondering if his plant is mismarked. Would appreciate input.