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Desdemona rose. David Austin Rose. English rose review comments. Photo credit: Rose review:
'Rose Review' Series Color: White & Cream Disease resistance: Excellent Flowering: Repeat flowering Fragrance: strong Highest rated roses by gardeners worldwide Ideal: Pots & Containers Rose: Shrub rose

Desdemona Rose Review | David Austin 2015

Desdemona rose


Fragrance Strength


Repeat Flowering


Bloom Size




Suitable for containers


Tolerance of shade


Disease resistance


Tolerance of poor soil


Few thorns


Best for cuttings



  • Strong fragrance
  • Best for cutting
  • Extremely floriferous
  • Attractive shrub
  • Excellent disease resistance


  • Small blooms: 2 - 3.5'' or 5 - 9 cm
  • Needs full sunlight



English Shrub Rose bred by David Austin

David Austin

Peachy pink buds open to beautiful, white, chalice-shaped blooms, with a pinkish hue at the earliest stage of flowering. The incurved petals create an arresting interplay of light and shadow. The strong Old Rose fragrance has hints of almond blossom, cucumber and lemon zest. It forms a neat, rounded, bushy head of growth. David Austin, 2015.

The Right Roses:

David Austin introduced Desdemona for the UK in 2015. He named this rose after a character in William Shakespeare‘s play Othello (c. 1601–1604).

If you need a succinct and precise review of Desdemona rose, then here it is. Desdemona rose is one of the absolutely best David Austin introductions, along with Gabriel oak (2019), Eustacia Vye (2019), and Olivia Austin Rose (2014).


Desdemona rose is one of the absolutely best David Austin introductions, along with Gabriel oak (2019), Eustacia Vye (2019), and Olivia Austin Rose (2014)”.

The Right Roses |

Desdemona rose: The pros

David Austin rated Gabriel oak (2019) as one of the best David Austin roses at 6 dimensions. Olivia Austin Rose (2014) is one of the best David Austin roses at 9 dimensions. Eustacia Vye (2019) is one of the best David Austin roses at 3 dimensions. And, Desdemona rose is certainly one of the best David Austin roses at 7 dimensions.

No. Desdemona Gabriel oak Olivia Austin Rose Eustacia Vye
1 Best for fragrance


Best for fragrance Best for health


Best for pots and containers


2 Best for smaller shrubs


Best for flowering Best for flowering


Best for shady areas


3 Best for rose borders


Best for pots and containers


Best for rose borders


Best for windy, wet, and exposed


4 Best for mixed borders


Best for windy, wet, and exposed


Best for mixed borders


5 Best for pots & containers


Best for poor soil


Best for pots and containers


6 Best for smaller hedges


Best for cutting


Best for smaller hedges


7 Best for cutting


Best for cutting


8 Best for shady areas


9 Best for poor soil


The best trait of Desdemona rose, to me, must be her fragrance. It is one most fragrant David Austin roses, according to the Handbook of Roses 2019/2020. Her exceptionally strong and sweet fragrance with hints of almond blossom, cucumber and lemon zest would attract every gardener. If I can tell you only one thing about Desdemona, it must be her just absolutely beautiful fragrance! You would just want to keep her very close to you so that you can enjoy her fragrance at every opportunity.

Moreover, Desdemona rose’s fragrance matches her color to perfection. Her white blooms have a delicate shade of very light pink. She looks just so innocent, perfectly picturing Desdemona, the character in William Shakespeare‘s play Othello.

Desdemona is one of the best roses for cutting. Her blooms have an upright habit, almost like Queen of Sweden rose. I really like this character of hers. As a gardener, I would love to enjoy the fruit of my labor at very opportunity. I love decorating my dining table and windowsills with my garden flowers. A David Austin rose like Desdemona, with a good vase life, would make my life just so dreamy!

In addition, Desdemona reblooms extremely well. She is one of the longest flowering David Austin roses. She covers her own shrub with a mass of blooms and buds. She blooms very late into the autumn.

Furthermore, she will make a very attractive shrub. It is extremely neat and rounded. Therefore, she is a dream rose for the front of the border, given her shrub form and fabulous fragrance.

Finally, she is very vigorous and healthy. David Austin rated her as “excellent” disease resistance. She is not susceptible to black spot and other diseases.

Desdemona rose: The cons

Desdemona rose is an exceptional rose. I hope you can see my excitement when I talk about Desdemona rose. She almost has no weakness. Just two very tiny, tiny ones.

I wish her bloom could be larger. Her bloom size is only medium (2 – 3.5’’ or 5 – 9 cm).

Furthermore, she needs full sunlight to perform at her best. However, even with these two weaknesses, she is already a top rose for gardeners like us.

Desdemona rose: The similarities

Very few David Austin roses can compete with Desdemona rose. Claire Austin is a climbing rose. David Austin introduced her for the UK in 2007. She produces a strong fragrance and tolerates shade. Winchester Cathedral is a shrub rose. She produces only a medium fragrance and also needs full sunlight. Therefore, if you need a white David Austin rose, Desdemona rose must be your top choice!

Desdemona rose: The details

Height & Spread: 3.5ft x 3.5ft Color: White Fragrance: Strong
Fragrance notes: Old Rose Flowering: Repeat flowering Suitable for containers: Yes
Sun exposure: Full sunlight Bloom size: Medium (2 – 3.5’’ or 5 – 9 cm) Disease resistance: Excellent

Photo credit: The Right Roses |,

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7 months ago

when planting a rose in a big pot: how many roseplants do you plant? And when you plant the rose in open soil? Just one or several to obtain a good effect?
Does your reply apply to all roses or is it different from rose to rose?

Thank you!
Nathalie from Switzerland

Charles Davis
Charles Davis
2 months ago

Would she perform well in 4 hours of sun in a pot? Thank You!

Roslyn Mirrington
1 month ago

Hi from Australia! We are just coming into Autumn and the rose catalogues are arriving in the post. Desdemona is a new release for us this year. I stumbled across your fabulous website when I was trying to decide whether to order Desdemona or not. Your reviews are the best I’ve seen. Thank you so much for the effort you put into your detailed rose analyses. I am convinced to order Desdemona! If I were to grow her as a hedge, how far apart would you recommend planting them? Thanks again for your site. I am so glad to have… Read more »

1 month ago

I’m trying to decide between Desdemona and Emily Bronte. I’m so torn! I have never seen either in person. It’s hard to make that final decision having never witnessed the beauty or fragrance first hand.
How do the fragrances compare? Are the blooms upright on both? Fragrance, health and blooming frequency are top priorities. Thank you for building such a comprehensive website and sharing your insights. It is a treasure trove of valuable information!

VLadimir Vladimirov
VLadimir Vladimirov
25 days ago


is Desdemona good for front of the border? South location, full sunlight.

Thank you!


VLadimir Vladimirov
VLadimir Vladimirov
25 days ago


is Desdemona good for front of the border? South location, full sunlight.

Best regards

Vladimir, Germany

VLadimir MilkovVladimirov
VLadimir MilkovVladimirov
25 days ago

is Desdemona good for front of the border?

Best regards

Vladimir, Germany

15 days ago

What a wonderful review, Desdemona now tops my autumn planting list! Are there any other roses that you would recommend for good vase life? Or productivity?

I currently have Olivia Austin, Roald Dahl, Claire Austin, Harlow Carr and Teasing Georgia (would love to see you review this!) Thanks 😀

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