Antique, Alba, Old Garden Rose 'White Rose of York'

Rosa alba

Family: Rosaceae (ro-ZAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Rosa (RO-zuh) (Info)
Species: alba (AL-ba) (Info)
Cultivar: White Rose of York
Additional cultivar information:(aka Bonnie Prince Charlie's Rose, La Rose d'York, Semi-Plena)
Registered or introduced: pre-1597
Synonym:Rosa alba semi-plena
Synonym:Rosa x alba nivea
Synonym:Rosa x alba semi-plena
Synonym:Rosa x alba suaveolens
» View all varieties of Roses




6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

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)

Bloom Color:

White (w)

Bloom Shape:


Flower Fragrance:

Very Fragrant

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer



Patent Information:


Other Details:

Sets hips

Pruning Instructions:

Blooms on old wood; prune after flowering

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From hardwood cuttings

From hardwood heel cuttings

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for cutting

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone


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

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Macy, Indiana

Elm Grove, Louisiana

Doylestown, Pennsylvania

Tiverton, Rhode Island

Columbia, South Carolina

Clarksville, Tennessee

Olympia, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 22, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

The registration name is 'Alba Semi-plena'. As the name suggests, the 2.5" flowers are semi-double, averaging 8 petals.

It is a shrub and not a bush. Foliage is described as gray-green or bluish green, not bronze.

'Alba Semi-plena' occasionally sports to 'Alba Maxima', and vice versa. The two differ principally in the number of petals. Both have been considered the white rose of York, the Jacobite rose, etc.

Rosa x alba is an ancient hexaploid hybrid and not a natural species. Its parentage is uncertain, but some think it may be a cross between R. canina and R. gallica.

Albas flower in clusters of 6-8 mainly on short lateral and sublateral shoots produced from second-year or older wood. These roses also regularly produce vigorous ... read more


On Apr 26, 2012, Rosa_Alba from Olympia, WA wrote:

I have to commend this rose for toughness! I ordered it from Rogue Valley Roses year before last. It came as described--a wee, tiny thing, but it's growing quite nicely. This last winter was ugly, with an ice storm that caused a lot of damage, but this little guy came through it all like a champ. It will be a while yet before it gets to blooming size, but its tenacity has certainly impressed me.


On Feb 19, 2007, soulgardenlove from Marietta, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

From's list of list of carefree roses by Mary C. Weaver:
'Alba Semi-Plena' (also called 'The White Rose of York'): If fragrance is important to you, make room for this exquisitely scented variety, which has been cultivated for the production of attar (fragrant essential oil) of roses. An alba--one of the most cold-hardy and disease-free classes--'Alba Semi-Plena' bears large, semidouble milk-white flowers with showy stamens in spring and a good crop of red hips in fall. The blooms' grace and purity is matchless, and the grayish-green foliage is disease-resistant. It has long prickles, so don't site this substantial shrub where you'll brush up against it. Cultivated before 1867. Hardy to Zone 3 or 4. A spreading shrub 5 to 7 feet in height and width.


On Jun 8, 2006, TBGDN from (Zone 5a) wrote:

I am fond of all antique roses, especially this one. Even though it blooms only once, I enjoy having it in the landscape. I planted White Rose of York in 1994, and it still grows beautifully in its original location. It blooms massively during the early part of June, and on calm days the fragrance is widely spread in the air. It is quite attractive to butterflies and bees, (and unfortunately) to brown rose chafers which invade without fail every single year.


On Aug 11, 2001, louisa from Troy, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

Also known as the Jacobite Rose. Good autumn fruit. 16th century shrub rose. 6ft x 4ft wide. Shade tolerant.