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The Jude the Obscure Rose

If you’re looking for a rose that will delight all of your senses, look no further than the Jude the Obscure Rose! With their strong, fruity fragrance, soft apricot flowers, and velvet-y soft petals, these roses are sure to be a hit wherever they’re planted.

Read on for everything you could need to know about the Jude the Obscure rose and how to grow them at your own house!

History of the Jude the Obscure Rose

It all began in Shropshire, England. David Austin was an award winning writer, nursery owner, and rose breeder who began breeding roses in the 1950s with the hopes of creating new roses that would be a mix of the beauty of old-fashioned roses with the long flowering characteristics of newer ones. He actually created an informal, new class of roses in the 1960, which we now call “English Roses.”

David Austin started working on Jude the Obscure roses in 1989 and they were introduced to the UK in 1995. He chose to name the plant after British author Thomas Hardy’s 19th century novel, Jude the Obscure.

It instantly became a hit due to it’s unique, citrusy scent and has actually gone on to win the Corona Regina Teodelinda Perfume Award in Monza, Italy!

Closeup of a fully open Jude the Obscure rose.

What is significant about the Jude the Obscure Rose?

The fragrance of the Jude the Obscure rose is the most significant detail about the rose that really sets it apart from other roses. Not only is it exceptionally fragrant in the sense that you can smell it from a far distance, but it’s an incredibly unique smell. Instead of having the traditional rose scent you’re so used to, the Jude the Obscure rose smells like a citrus fruit!

Reviewers have described it as “a mix of lychee and magnolia,” “guava,” and “sweet white wine.”

Characteristics of the Jude the Obscure Rose

Jude the Obscure roses are a medium-sized rose bush, growing up to 4 feet tall with a 4 foot spread. It has incredibly large, beautiful roses, with an average of 4-5 inches in diameter!

It’s got an oblong shape to it with apricot buds that open up to be fully doubled. The bloom appears to be ruffled when they are completely open.Once fully opened, the flowers have almost white out petals, with most of it being a pale apricot and a cream-colored center.

The fragrance is very strong and fruity. It’s been described as smelling like guava, a sweet white wine, and citrus fruits. It can be smelled from a ways away, so it’s a great option to plant out near your porch so you can sit outside and enjoy while relaxing.

Jude the Obscure roses are a naturally disease resistant plant with prickly stems and medium, semi-glossy, dark green foliage, against which the light apricot blooms stand out beautifully.

A Jude the Obscure rose bloom.

How to Grow your own Jude the Obscure Roses

If you want to fully enjoy the Jude the Obscure rose for all it has to offer, you should grow your own! This section will give you a ton of the tips and tricks you need for a successful rose garden.

Where should I plant my Jude the Obscure rose bush?

If you live in zones 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10, you can successfully grow your own Jude the Obscure roses! Find a place in your yard with either full sun (6+ hours of full, direct sun daily) or partial shade (3-6 hours of direct sun with the other hours being indirect daily).

Ideally, plant your rose bushes in tight groups of 3, spaced out about 18 inches apart. It will allow them to grow together to create what looks like one large Jude the Obscure rose bush! If you’re looking to made a hedge of roses, plant them in a straight line 18 inches apart.

Before planting, soak the whole bare root bush in water overnight, never allowing it to fully dry. When you’re planting it, make sure to put the base of the cane 3 inches under the soil in colder climates and right at the surface of the soil in warmer climates.

This rose type is also a great option to use as a climbing rose. It can make a beautiful highlight in a yard, growing up a trellis on the side of a house or over an arch way. You can get creative here!

What kind of soil does my Jude the Obscure rose bush need?

These roses will grow in just about any acidity level of soil, but they do appreciate good soil preparation. A good amount of garden compost added to the soil before planting will lead to stronger, better producing plants.

How often should I water my Jude the Obscure rose bush?

Depending on your climate and the time of year, a good, deep watering at root level should happen at least once a week, often more regularly. Watering your roses well will produce a much healthier rose in the end.

When will my Jude the Obscure roses bloom?

Jude the Obscure roses are what’s called a “continual bloomer.” That means there will be blooms appearing on your plant from spring all the way through to fall. The more flowers you trim off the bush, the more flowers the bush has a chance to produce.

How do I prune my Jude the Obscure rose bush?

Pruning is important to make sure you’ve got an attractive, shapely shrub with a strong structure. Without pruning, you’ll end up with a shapeless, leggy bush because English roses are naturally vigorous. When you prune them while they’re not flowering, it encourages new, fresh growth with plentiful blooms for the next season!

It’s recommended to prune generally between February and April, depending on where you live. You can always prune earlier, but sometimes it’s harder to see where the less healthy stems are that you’ll want to prune away.

For a detailed description of exactly how to prune, visit the website of the creator of the Jude the Obsure rose, David Austin.

Where to Buy a Jude the Obscure Rose Bush

The best place to buy a Jude the Obscure rose bush is going to be from David Austin’s website. You can also find it at Heriloom Roses they’re even available on Amazon!

How can I decorate with the Jude the Obscure Rose?

You can use your fresh cut roses in any room in your house!

Cut off a single bloom and use it in a tiny bud vase to bring some of the fruity fragrance into your bathroom.

Take a handful of blooms, cut them short, and stick them in a mug for a fun, quirky kitchen decoration.

A jar can become an impromptu vase for a sweet little shabby chic arrangement.

The light apricot color would go really well with some bright pink flowers for a fun, summer-y bouquet! If you don’t have any other flowers growing at your house, you could go to your local florist or even a grocery store to get an affordable bouquet that you can liven up with your fresh cut garden roses.

Put a handful of blooms and some greenery in a short/stout container and place it on top of some books on a coffee table or side table for an eye-catching piece of decor.

If you run out of places to put your roses in your own house, they will make a fabulous gift for your family or friends. Nothing says, “I’m thinking of you” quite like a vase full of flowers cut from your own garden!

Wrapping up the Jude the Obscure Rose

This rose is a natural show-stopper that is sure to bring joy into your life. The fruity fragrance, full double blooms, and the amount of flowers you’ll get from one bush make it a no-brainer addition to your rose garden!

Let us know in the comments— have you grown Jude the Obscure roses? How would you describe their fragrance? To read about other roses, click here for our rose blog posts.