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PlantFiles: Hybrid Musk Rose
Rosa 'Darlow's Enigma'

Family: Rosaceae (ro-ZAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Rosa (RO-zuh) (Info)
Cultivar: Darlow's Enigma
Registered or introduced: 1993

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2 vendors have this plant for sale.

4 members have or want this plant for trade.

Hybrid Musk

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Bloom Color:
White (w)

Bloom Shape:

Flower Fragrance:
Very Fragrant

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Blooms repeatedly

Trained to climb
Trained on pillar

Patent Information:

Other Details:
Resistant to black spot
Resistant to mildew
Resistant to rust

Pruning Instructions:
Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From hardwood cuttings
By grafting
By budding

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13 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive coriaceous On Sep 26, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A superb performer---tough, adaptable, and unfussy, and a prodigy of vigor. Bloom is continuous. Here on the east coast, where blackspot is prevalent, this rose stays healthy and spot-free without fungicide sprays.

It is hardy at least to Z4b. It is also shade tolerant, as roses go.

This made the "Top 100 Performers" list from the NYBG's (no-fungicide) Peggy Rockefeller Rose garden, which gave it one of the very highest ratings.

Beware, this is a monster. Be sure you have room for it before ordering it. It can easily get 12' across or larger, even here in the north. It can be grown as a climber, and if you have a suitable tree for it to climb into that may be the best use for it.

To my eye, it looks a lot like the species Rosa multiflora on steroids, but with continuous bloom. Flowers are small and clustered on the ends of the long, arching canes, like the species. I'm not especially fond of the fragrance, but I seem to be in the minority.

Positive Noodles On Jun 13, 2014, Noodles from Olympia, WA wrote:

I agree with other raves about this wonderful rose purchased about nine years ago from Heirloom Roses in St. Paul, OR. It's very robust, completely disease-free, has a very long, fragrant bloom time, and thrives even in partial shade. I cut it back to a few canes four feet high in very early spring and now in mid-June it's in full bloom and over 14 feet growing into a tree. The huge thorns and very robust growth are minor issues compared to the overwhelming positive traits, and I love it to bits.

Positive rosielynne On Sep 23, 2012, rosielynne from Auburn, WA wrote:

I have 2 Darlows which I purchased thru Northland Rosarium on line, they are based in Spokane and sell own root roses. I planted mine in April as a 6-8 inch healthy plant and still in September only 5 months later, is about 6 ft tall at full measure-and prolific with white flowers! They smell sweet the plant is adorable really my new favorite-and though the thorns are wicked I find them easy to work around because they are each spaced a few inches apart so there is 'finger room' to work with the vine if you tie it. They look like a blackberry flower or a strawberry bloom in pure white clusters. Over all this is a very easy plant to grow and care for.It is planted in soil full of red rock, old pine needles, in what used to be the yukky part of the yard. I need to transplant them today to my new home and am taking a full wheel barrow full of their soil with me since they thrive in this odd mixture.

Positive tabasco On May 17, 2012, tabasco from Cincinnati (Anderson Twp), OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

I received this lovely rose from a Dave's Garden friend a couple of years ago and planted it under a new elderberry bush thinking it would intertwine or ramble. Well, the elderberry bush is huge and thick now and I was surprised to find the abandoned 'Darlow's Enigma' deeply buried underneath in thick shade yet full of blossoms. So for those looking for a rose to grow in shade you will have to give this one a try!

Since rediscovering it I dug it out and planted it in a sunny space so I will have to report again if it acts like a 'proper' rose too.

Positive SarahSummerSun On Dec 31, 2011, SarahSummerSun from Longmont, CO wrote:

In my garden, it is growing up a pillar on the corner of a gazebo in full sun. In it's second year, reached 7 feet in height. Blooms all summer. Most fragrant in the morning.

I first saw this plant at the Denver Botanic Gardens mixed with Wisteria and Honeysuckle on some huge arches. Beautiful!

Love this rose!

Positive mizar5 On Apr 9, 2011, mizar5 from Merritt Island, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This thing is amazing. I planted one in a desolate hot yard with not particularly great soil and threw some Rosetone on it. Then I hurriedly had to leave town for a couple weeks. I figured it would be dead when I returned. Instead, I find it full of blooms and insanely larger! Huh?!

Killer thorns but I am ordering more of this fantastic rose. I agree it would make a great barrier with those thorns.

Positive Hudson3 On Mar 13, 2011, Hudson3 from Hudson, NY wrote:

A very vigorous, hardy rose. The flowers are not especially showy but they are abundant and very fragrant. This is a big plant -- I have mine trained against an 8' x 8' trellis where it makes a great backdrop of delicate foliage and petals and spicy scent. The new canes are very red (and thorny!), it gets nice bunches of small hips. Nice rose for a cottage garden or against an outbuilding -- and not at all fussy.

Positive bungalow1056 On May 3, 2010, bungalow1056 from Winston-Salem, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

This rose is unstoppable. I grow my shrub in part shade and it blooms just fine. My three year old planting has canes trained to 8 feet. It blooms heavily in mid-spring and then sporadically through the summer and fall. The fragrance is powerful and intoxicating. I've had no problems with mildew or black spot.

Positive kfrancher On Oct 19, 2009, kfrancher from Cody, WY wrote:

The Enigma is a bit tougher than zone 5 if it has just a bit of mulch around the roots. I'm growing it in zone 3-4 at 6,000 feet. This is a very good white rose that I grow as a big shrub since it only grows about 4-5 feet here. I does seem to like a bit more acid than other shrub roses and, with my alkaline soil and water, it likes a couple shots of Copperas every year.

Positive flora_p On May 26, 2009, flora_p from Champaign, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

This is my first and still best rose. It blooms in shade and sun alike with beautful dogwood-style blooms (popping them out affably through fall after the first big show), wafts a gorgeous scent, ignores disease, and tolerates all manner of abuse. I also think the plant itself is quite beautiful, with masses of small, glossy dark leaves, and I freely hack bits off for use in vases inside. I do nothing to it beyond tethering it to my wall trellis and chopping down chunks that want to cover a window, and it thrives and flourishes. This is the rose to win over rose skeptics.

Neutral robcorreia On May 19, 2009, robcorreia from San Diego, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

The good thing about this climbing rose is it grows well in part shade and still blooms nicely.

BUT I cannot detect any fragrance whatsoever! Also, it is a very thorny plant.

Positive Ficurinia On May 15, 2009, Ficurinia from Portland, OR wrote:

This is the best rose in my garden. Grows on the north side of my house and blooms all summer long with NO disease problems whatsoever. Cannot say enough about this plant.

Positive vossner On Aug 20, 2007, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Some also classify it as a found shrub and/or as a moderate climber. I grow it as a climber. Extremely fragrant, very shade tolerant and very disease resistant.

Everybody should grow this rose.

Positive zzazzq On Mar 16, 2005, zzazzq from Madison, MS wrote:

Very disease resistant in our humid climate. Have had some blooms in a part shade situation.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Fayetteville, Arkansas
San Diego, California
Longmont, Colorado
Merritt Island, Florida
Champaign, Illinois
Effingham, Illinois
Pikesville, Maryland
Rochdale, Massachusetts
Madison, Mississippi
Hudson, New York
Winston Salem, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio
Cave Junction, Oregon
Monmouth, Oregon
Portland, Oregon
Nashville, Tennessee
Conroe, Texas
Richmond, Texas
Lexington, Virginia
Auburn, Washington
Olympia, Washington

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