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Zephirine Drouhin The Right Roses rose review rose score english garden gardening author Erin Silversmith
'Rose Review' Series Color: Pink Disease resistance: Poor Flowering: Repeat flowering Fragrance: strong Ideal: Climbing roses for north facing walls Ideal: Shady areas Ideal: Very few thorns Old roses Rose: Climbing

Zephirine Drouhin Rose Review | Bizot 1868

Zephirine Drouhin 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
  • Almost thornless
  • Does well in shade


  • Poor health record
  • Needs time to get established
  • A monster eventually
  • Usually a stingy bloomer


Climbing Rose Bred by Bizot

Royal Horticultural Society

‘Zéphirine Drouhin’ is a vigorous climbing Bourbon rose to 3m tall, with thornless stems and highly fragrant, semi-double, cerise-pink flowers 8cm wide flowering almost continuously over a long period in summer and autumn.

David Austin

Wonderfully scented, deep rose pink blooms. Flowers freely and almost continuously. This thornless climbing rose prefers warmer climates. Controlling disease can be a problem. Bizot, 1868.

The Right Roses:

Bizot introduced rose ‘Zéphirine Drouhin’ in France in 1868. For more than one hundred years, the popularity of rose ‘Zéphirine Drouhin’ has not decreased a bit. It is a classic climbing rose which most of gardeners would first think about when they have a challenging spot.

Nonetheless, the likelihood of success with Zéphirine Drouhin depends on a lot of factors. It is like a bet. If you are lucky enough, Zéphirine Drouhin is truly a masterpiece. If you are not, Zéphirine Drouhin is such a burden that you would immediately want to give it a shovel.


It is more or less like a bet. If you are lucky enough, Zéphirine Drouhin is truly a masterpiece. If you are not, Zéphirine Drouhin is such a burden that you would immediately want to give it a shovel.

The Right Roses |


Zephirine Drouhin rose: The pros

Zéphirine Drouhin has three major strengths. They are the characteristics that all gardeners would love to see in a rose.

First, its fragrance strength is phenomenal. Having Zéphirine Drouhin in your garden, particularly the smaller garden, would make you feel so blessed when it is in blooms. The incredibly delicious, fruity fragrance would fill up your garden. Among different types of fragrance, fruity and old rose fragrance is very popular. It is so comforting and tasty that you would find it very hard to walk away.

Second, Zéphirine Drouhin is more than just about its strong fragrance. It is almost thornless. We would suggest you not underestimate the challenges those sharp thorns may cause to your wellbeing as a gardener. Having a shrub rose with big and sharp thorns is hard enough. It would make it many times harder if you have a thorny and large climbing rose. Please think about the time you need to deadhead your rose. And, think about the time when you must prune your roses. Having a thorny rose would decrease the frequency you deadhead, and eventually extend a very negative impact on the productivity of your rose. An almost thornless rose, like Zéphirine Drouhin, would definitely make your life so much better!

Third, Zéphirine Drouhin does very well in shade. Among the older varieties, Zéphirine Drouhin and Souvenir du Dr. Jamain are probably the two best varieties in terms of shade tolerance. They can do extremely well in even in less than ideal positions with only a few hours of direct sunlight. Souvenir du Dr. Jamain even gets fried if you give him too much sunlight.

Zephirine Drouhin rose: The cons

Zéphirine Drouhin has four weaknesses. Please note that you may have the following problems if you are not very lucky with Zéphirine Drouhin. If you are lucky, some negatives below may not be the biggest problem

First, Zéphirine Drouhin has a very poor health record. It is incredibly challenging to keep it healthy. Sometimes you do feel like that it is a mission impossible. No matter whether you spray or not, Zéphirine Drouhin would still drop most of its foliage by July/August or so. Therefore, in the UK, you can enjoy Zéphirine Drouhin for two months (May and June). After that, it will be an uphill battle between you and Zéphirine Drouhin. Zéphirine Drouhin presents you with one challenge after another, black spot and mildew.

Second, Zéphirine Drouhin needs a bit of time (2 – 3 years) to get established. Therefore, if you like it, please give it a little bit of time. This applies to many older varieties. Even some old David Austin roses also need quite a bit of time to get established. The more recent David Austin rose varieties are extremely vigorous

Third, Zéphirine Drouhin will be a monster in your garden (15 ft). In the first couple of years, its size seems to be manageable. However, once it gets established, Zéphirine Drouhin would like to take over your garden. Therefore, please give it a lot of room to stretch.

 Fourth, Zéphirine Drouhin may be floriferous in some gardens. However, most of the time it is a very stingy bloomer. Given its size in the garden and its health record, you must think twice before investing a lot of room in the garden in Zéphirine Drouhin.

Zephirine Drouhin rose in different climates

To be updated.

Zephirine Drouhin rose: The similarities

In our opinion, although Zéphirine Drouhin and Souvenir du Dr. Jamain produce different shades (deep rose pink vs maroon-purple), they are so similar in many ways. Their The Right Roses Scores are also very similar (5.8 vs 6.3). Both are good roses for those gardeners who love older varieties. Both can tolerate shade very well. Both are almost thornless. Their fragrance is exceptionally tasty and intoxicating. Only two things can separate them. First, the color of Souvenir du Dr. Jamain is incredibly unique. In terms of color, only Munstead Wood can be compared with that of Souvenir du Dr. Jamain. Second, the size of Souvenir du Dr. Jamain is more manageable in smaller gardens (6ft).

Zephirine Drouhin rose: The details

Height: Up to 15ft (4.5m) Color: Deep rose pink Fragrance: Strong
Fragrance notes: Fruity Flowering: Repeat Flowering Suitable for containers: No
Sun exposure: Partial sunlight Bloom size: Medium (2 – 3’’ or 5 –8 cm) Disease resistance: Poor
Zones: 6-11 Petal count: 30 petals Sub type: Bourbon

Photo credit: T.Kiya from Japan, Erin Silversmith

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3 months ago

After reading the review,I do not understand why Zephirine Drouhin is still popular in the world…I would rather plant “parade” to get the same effect in the garden.

Pamela Newman
Pamela Newman
1 month ago

I am interested in trying out Zephirine’s sport – ‘Martha’ – do any members of the RR team have any input in to this particular rose? Is she a healthier rose and have a better repeat flowering record?

25 days ago

Here is my 3 yr old Zepharine Drouhin. This is the first spring I have blooms (about 2 dozen buds so far). I have all the usual problems (black spot, powdery mildew, 2x per year complete leaf drop). I’m on the fence since I have a shady yard and lousy soil. Going to give her another year before I decide.

25 days ago


25 days ago

First bloom

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