Climbing Tea Rose 'Sombreuil'


Family: Rosaceae (ro-ZAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Rosa (RO-zuh) (Info)
Cultivar: Sombreuil
Additional cultivar information:(aka Colonial White, Madame de Sombreuil)
Hybridized by Unknown
Registered or introduced: 1940
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8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


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)

Bloom Color:

White (w)

Bloom Shape:


Eye present


Flower Fragrance:

Very Fragrant

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Blooms repeatedly


Trained to climb

Patent Information:


Other Details:


Pruning Instructions:

Blooms on new wood; prune early to promote new growth

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

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Piedmont, Alabama

Capistrano Beach, California

Davis, California

Fallbrook, California

Laguna Beach, California

Newport Beach, California

Oxnard, California

Palo Alto, California

Perris, California

Richmond, California

San Anselmo, California

San Clemente, California

San Francisco, California

San Jose, California

Santa Rosa, California

Winchester, California

Hampton, Illinois

Palmyra, Illinois

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Coushatta, Louisiana

Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota

Marion, North Carolina

Winston Salem, North Carolina

Portsmouth, Ohio

Lansdale, Pennsylvania

Mount Bethel, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Columbia, South Carolina

Mountain Rest, South Carolina

North Augusta, South Carolina

Christiana, Tennessee

Crossville, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Beaumont, Texas

Grand Prairie, Texas

Houston, Texas

Nevada, Texas

Paris, Texas

Rowlett, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Concrete, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 28, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This entry conflates 'Mlle de Sombreuil', a tea rose available in commerce as 'La Biche' in the US, with 'Sombreuil', a large-flowered climber introduced in 1959 as 'Colonial White'.


On Jun 6, 2014, bobbieberecz from Concrete, WA wrote:

I was given this rose as a gift last year. I had sworn off roses as black spot, aphids and mildew wreak havoc on them in my NW Washington state area. Our home is in the valley of tall mountains and we get a lot of rain. Much to my delight this rose has shown none of the above mentioned problems so far. The tag stated the bush will be "shy" to produce flowers the first year or two but mine is covered with buds and the opened blossoms are so fragrant I can smell them while working in other parts of the yard as the scent wafts on the breeze. The scent is reminiscent of freesia. Last summer, its first, it survived a full 6 weeks of 90+ degree weather and this winter was one of the coldest we've had in a long time (0 - 5*). Didn't faze it a bit! It gets full sun and is on an arbor out i... read more


On Jun 8, 2013, Handed from Armidale,
Australia (Zone 8b) wrote:

I adore this rose! Just the shape of it, like a giant wichuriana bloom with the quilled petals - and that gorgeous perfume! Mine is over two years old climbing a small apple tree which it hangs onto very well with its thorns, though I tie it here and there. It's currently about 2 metres, but I think it will go higher. It gets plenty of sun, food and water there. The only fault it has is that it will produce a huge flush of buds and get me excited, then it rains and the buds rot and only one or two open :(. I think it has some black spot late in the season, but not much.


On May 11, 2012, lancer23 from San Francisco, CA wrote:

I bought this rose with much anticipation of its beauty and especially its fragrance but alas it has NO fragrance whatsoever. Did I buy a fake? Is there another similar one with no smell? It has the classic look but no smell. Help!
Update: it begin to slowly have a very light scent, almost like an iceberg type almost detectable fragrance. I think this plant I have must be defective in the stock plant or a sport of Sombreuil. I heard over-propagated stock can lost some of the good quality of the parent plant. Must remember to buy plant from good source. See my photo. Its getting better on the scent and over-all plant is healthy but it is no way near strong scent!
Update: 6 yrs later. Well, there's positively detected medium fragrance finally! The scent gets stronger ev... read more


On Jun 25, 2011, 100cyclist from Newport Beach, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

I have found that generally, white roses of any type are more heat sensitive. Therefore, the ones that I am most successful with I have planted in a place where they get some morning to mid-day sun, then it tapers off early in the afternoon. Excessive heat is really hard on these whites ( this includes Gruss an Aachen,Claire Austin, Litchfield Angel)


On May 15, 2011, anenemity from Portsmouth, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

This has been growing in my yard since the 1940s or earlier. It blooms profusely all summer with NO maintenance on my part. I hope to propagate with cuttings soon to increase their beautiful presence in the garden!


On Feb 13, 2011, gardenjoan from Inver Grove Heights, MN wrote:

We have 2 of these climbers on the south side of our garage. It has been tipped over and covered with bags of chips to overwinter. This rose has withstood 5 of our winters!!! The blossoms have a hint of pink and the fragrance is reminescent of apple blossoms only sweeter. It makes a eat cut flower. I have "pegged" the rose, that is, bend the cane over and tied it to another and this has increased its blooms. Have not had any mildew.


On Jun 22, 2010, monniemon from Lansdale, PA wrote:

i purchased two sombreuil climbers last season. One for the front arbor and one for the back garden. Sombreuil is not hardy to high temperatures, when the heat is on sombreuil's beautiful flowers burn like over cooked microwave popcorn!!! I have 7ft climbers loaded with roses and buds and they are burned!! So both sombreuils have been shoveled and replaced, i was sadden to do it, but no need in keeping a rose that burns in high heat. It is however hardy for the zone 6 winters, but not our summers.


On Feb 28, 2003, bettygiesel from Melrose, FL wrote:

This is a really lucious rose--wonderful scent and gorgeous flowers often flushed with pink in the center.


On Feb 13, 2001, Grits from Pineville, LA (Zone 8b) wrote:

1856 7-12' Flowers repeatedly Zones 6-9

Considered one of the finest climbers in the rose world. with flat blossoms, full of petals and fragrance enough to fill a room. The roses are Ivory in color.