April 25th, 2007
Rose ‘New Dawn’

Rose ‘New Dawn’

After losing almost half my roses to drought over the last 18 months, I feel the wheel of fortune has turned again. 2007 has been a boom year for roses in Austin. Among my own roses, I’m seeing a flush of flowers like I’ve never seen before. The vast number of flowers are weighing down the canes. You’d think we were in England or something. Driving around town, I see it’s the same all over. One block east of Congress on East Annie, a Travis Heights cottage has its front picket fence covered with roses. The roses in every garden I visited this weekend were spectacular.

Three of my roses, ‘Heritage’, ‘Blush Noisette’, and ‘New Dawn’ took the center stage last week. After six years, ‘New Dawn’ is tumbling over the front fence as if she’s modelling for a photo in a rose catalog. The very thorny, stiff canes spread ten feet in each direction. I’ve read that they can get 20 feet long.

The pale pink flowers have a modern pointed shape and are lightly fragrant. (Peter Beales describes it as “well-scented” in Classic Roses. I disagree. He also says ‘New Dawn’ “flowers freely from June to October”. In England, I guess.) They fade to ivory when past their prime. The leaves are a bright glossy green that turns russet after a frost. If you don’t prune the spent flowers, rose hips develop.

Introduced in 1930, ‘New Dawn’ is the everblooming sport of ‘Dr. W. Van Fleet’ and the first rose patented in North America. Although the thought of plant patents now conjures up nightmares of Monsanto, after reading about the struggle of rose hybridists in For Love of a Rose, I understand better how important plant patenting is given that you can work for years developing a plant and anyone can stick it in the ground and propagate it.

Which is exactly what I did with ‘New Dawn’. Now I have three ‘New Dawn’ babies, one of which I managed to get planted last December. All three babies began blooming this year on April 22.

The question of whether ‘New Dawn’ is actually remontant keeps coming up on the net. Mine has one good flush in late April, and then a flower or two in the fall. Despite the weather (drought or flood, heat or cold) it is the one rose that always blooms at about the same time each year. Some people theorize that roses being sold today as ‘New Dawn’ have actually reverted to ‘Dr. W. Van Fleet’. Others posit that it depends on climate and in Austin’s hot summers ‘New Dawn’ goes dormant. Still others say they have no problem getting repeat bloom as long as they deadhead.

That might be my problem. Of all my roses, ‘New Dawn’ is the one I find most difficult to prune…yes even harder than ‘Mermaid’. Or it could be that it gets too much shade. Mama ‘New Dawn’, which is planted between the pecan tree and the Texas Mountain laurels, gets blooming the week the pecan is leafing out and doesn’t do much the rest of the year. However, it listed as a rose that can tolerate some shade, performing well with as little as 4 to 5 hours of sunlight.

In 1997 ‘New Dawn’ was voted the most popular rose in the world at the 11th World Convention of Rose Societies. Do you grow it? Does it rebloom for you? If so, what are your summer temperatures like and how much sun does it get?

Zanthan Gardens History

Spend all day preparing the hole for ‘New Dawn’. First I dig in several wheelbarrows full of compost and clean out the remnants of lawn and weeds. The area is very wet, mucky, clay, both black and caliche. Few rocks, though and many earthworms. The clay is so heavy that I dig in a lot of peat moss, greensand, and cow manure. Then I put the 3×3 foot box that AJM made and fill it with Revitalizer to make a raised bed. Finally, I plant ‘New Dawn’.

First flower.

‘New Dawn’ surprised me this morning with several perfect pink flowers about 3 inches across, somewhat flat but with a beautiful mounded center. The plant is sending out long shoots and I cut back the pecan tree and mulberry whips so that it would get some air and sun.

Top dressed with Revitalizer compost and then covered with Texas Native Hardwood Mulch.

Defoliated (a little) and pruned ‘New Dawn’. (Note: In Austin, where roses don’t lose their leaves during winter, stripping last year’s leaves encourages this year’s buds to sprout.)

First flower.

Cut back and stripped ‘New Dawn’. Planted 3 canes to see if I can sprout them in the vegetable garden as directed by Reddell; two eyes above ground and two below.


First flower. Just one that I almost missed. It is leafing out well, but there are only a few flowers. Currently the pecan has not leafed out and started shading it yet.

Fed with bone meal.

Weeded around ‘New Dawn’. Worked half a bag of Dillo Dirt into the pine needle mulch which is mostly broken down. Watered well. ‘New Dawn’ is one of the few roses that has leaves which turn russet after a frost.

All three baby ‘New Dawn’ plants began blooming today. The original plant has been blooming since the week of March 19th, when we were in New York city. Now a month later, she’s covered in flowers looking better than I’ve ever seen her.

Cut ‘New Dawn’ out. She’s completely died, the victim of too much shade (from the pecan in the summer and the Texas mountain laurels in the winter) or too much drought. All the other roses in the front are doing well so I think it’s the shade more than the drought. One of the cuttings I struck from this plant is thriving in the back north border. The others I never got around to transplanting and ended up throwing out when I built the raised vegetable garden in Fall, 2008.

Accidentally pull up a self-rooted rose ‘New Dawn’. Immediately potted it.

Pot up another self-rooted rose ‘New Dawn’. I had cut the cane and watered it and left it for a few days before digging it up. ‘New Dawn loves to send out long canes, layer itself and so spread around the garden.
I believe that I started this one from a cutting. It keeps moving itself west.

by M Sinclair Stevens

31 Responses to post “Rose ‘New Dawn’”

  1. From Annie in Austin:

    Good morning, M. After reading this post yesterday, I went through my old paper diaries to see what I’d written about ‘New Dawn’. It did well in IL, being cold tolerant and dependable, with a big early summer bloom, then light recurrent bloom until frost, with watering and deadheading.

    In June 1998 I wrote this: ‘New Dawn’ rose has wound itself together with ‘Polish Spirit’ clematis & ‘Henryii’ clematis – all a tangle of buds right now.


    Thanks for comparing note. That’s what I love about blogging. — mss

  2. From firefly:

    I currently don’t have any roses, but I do have a spot where I think they’d fit. I was going to put Rosa rugosa there, but after seeing this post, I might reconsider. Beautiful blooms, and it sounds quite robust — good for a boundary planting.

  3. From Pam/Digging (Austin):

    I’m so glad I got to see this rose in person. It certainly is gorgeous.

  4. From Angelina (Oregon):

    At my last house we had New Dawn planted and it got very large. I love this rose, the blossoms, while looking modern, are very delicate and the color is gorgeous. We grew it in our Western exposure front yard shaded by huge Sycamores. It would bloom spectacularly once a year and I think we would sometimes get a very weak repeat, but certainly not continually. I don’t know if it was the shadier spot it was planted in or not. It might be because later in the season the sycamores would leaf out more fully. I love your pictures. Reminds me of what I’m missing!

    Great info. Thanks for sharing. I’m beginning to suspect that ‘New Dawn’s remontancy is over-rated. — mss

  5. From Michelle:

    I am very interested in this rose, but have been unable to find it in my area. I need to know the planting specs. Such as spacing, so I know how many I should plant in a specific area. Any advice would be great.

    Spacing depends on what you want to do with it. Grow it up or grow it wide. ‘New Dawn’ is a climber/rambling rose. Over a trellis or up a wall, it can climb 20 feet. I have mine over a fence and, so far, it’s rambled about 10 feet in each direction. This is NOT a rose for bed of hybrid tea roses. However, it is a great rose to grow up a trellis under your daughter’s window–if you’re worried about dragons or princes. You can purchase it online from The Antique Rose Emporium, although it is not in stock at all times. You don’t mention where you garden; in Austin ‘New Dawn’ i. available at most of our locally-owned nurseries. — mss

  6. From Pixi:

    In France, New Dawn is very reliable, a spectacular firework show from mid May if Spring provides enough sunlight.The rebloom will take about 6 weeks if deadhead is done properly. Usually I will do a light prune after the first flash. I have noticed by pruning back and reducing weak, tinny stems, I get much more good quality and quantity reblooms. Therefore I always take a couple days in doing a good job.

    New Dawn does not like drought. Mine is planted in an area that has high retention of water, and clay soil with 2 hours morning 3 hours afternoon sunlight, and it performs wonderfully well.

    Thanks for sharing the specifics of your experiences growing ‘New Dawn’. This is great information! — mss

  7. From Linda, Tennessee:

    I planted a New Dawn last spring, and it grew well, but I never got a single bud. What could cause this? It is growing up a wall (10 feet at least). It gets at least 8 hours of sun.

  8. From Julie Springer, Virginia:

    Like Linda from Tennessee, I planted one last spring, wove it into a chain link fence I am trying to mask, but it didn’t bloom. It gets good Western sun, but I am new to roses and am uncertain about how and when to prune, what to fertilize with. Not sure what I can do to help it this year.


    Like most perennials roses take several years to settle in before they flower profusely. Roses typically require at least six hours of sun. There are scores of books on rose care and pruning in your library. Check them out. –mss

  9. From Rosemary Burr, TN:

    I’m not sure how much to prune my New Dawns. I planted one at each end of a sun porch four years ago. They now go up the wall and across the tops of the windows, tied to hooks. They bloom profusely in early May but have no second blooms (they get morning sun only). I’m wondering if I should take them down in the fall and bury the canes, as some guides suggest–or should I cut them back each year?

    I don’t understand why you would bury the canes…do you live somewhere quite cold. In these matters, local advice is best. However, generally, you should cut back the old canes so that new canes will grow. My New Dawn roses (I have four now) only bloom profusely in late April. I’ve read that they are remontant but they do not repeat-bloom for me. — mss

  10. From Trisha Arlington, VA:

    I planted a bare root New Dawn that took a full growing season to develop its roots. It didnt have a single bloom until the following year. So this year was the first year it bloomed and it is spectacular!!

  11. From dilip:

    I looked at Rosa “New Dawn” in Family Circle and love your pictures. Where could I buy it? I live in Southern California Orange County.

    Mine is from the Antique Rose Emporium (via the Natural Gardener). The Antique Rose Emporium does mail order, so you could probably buy it directly from them. — mss

  12. From J.Reynolds.Liverpool,England:

    I planted a potted New Dawn I bought at a garden centre 8 weeks ago.I did not expect any blooms so quickly,but it is flowering beautifully.

  13. From Susie in Indiana:

    I am new to rose growing, but am installing an arbor entrance to my front walk. I am thinking of growing a New Dawn rose on it along with Jackman clematis. I am wondering about winter pruning. Is one supposed to cut the canes all the way back to near ground level, or can they be left entwined on the arbor where they (hopefully) have grown?

  14. From Anne:

    I planted New Dawn about 10 years ago. It blooms well during the entire month of June, but does not bloom again until the next year. I live in SE Ohio (zone 5), and New Dawn is planted in Full Sun.

  15. From Melanie, Ontario, Canada:

    I just bought a potted New Dawn with flower buds already on it. I’m thinking of planting it in a pot since the earth near the arbour where I originally planned to put it contain large rocks that are impossible to dig up. Has anyone had success growing it in a pot?

  16. From Beau Swenson: Madison, Mississippi:

    I put in 10 Dew Dawn roses, around February ’07. They have been blooming at the tips of any new growth ever since, and on the older growth during the first spring flush of bloom. Here in Madison, I’ve seen a few spectacular old plants loaded with blooms near Christmas. Currently (Nov. 27), two of my plants have blooms, apparently undamaged by a fairly heavy frost.

    My subdivision was a cotton field until the early sixties. Drainage is not great (crayfish castles still pop up all around); so it was good to read that New Dawn does not like dry spots. My plants are in a newly-planted screen of Cryptomeria trees. The plan is to let the roses spill out of the conifers like they do in England. I’ll probably discover that the English spend endless hours achieving that ‘casual’ effect.

    I grew Dr. W. VanFleet at our office in Jackson. Even grown on clay and construction debris, in a narrow strip between the building and a retaining wall, it had thirty-foot canes and an enormous show in spring. It’s worth growing, even though there is only one flowering. You can tell the difference between it and New Dawn by the bloom size and slightly better foliage. VanFleet’s blooms are larger. But I agree with the experts that New Dawn is the world’s best rose.

    Just about any ‘old rose’ purveyor can supply either rose, but be sure to get plants grown on their own roots. That makes all the difference in the world.

    You have a beautiful garden and website. Thanks for sharing with us.

  17. From Dee/reddirtramblings:

    I do grow ‘New Dawn’ and after six to eight years in the ground, she and her sister plant are once blooming beasties. They are in full sun, but I’ve never had repeat bloom. Ever. They ate the entire back fence, and I nearly bled to death pruning them back this year. I won, however, and for that, I am grateful. I do love the glossy leaves with no blackspot whatsoever. Also, no scent.~~Dee

  18. From Denise Trone, Tehachapi, CA 93561:

    First of all, where can I buy this beautiful hybrid rose, call the New Dawn? Secondly, I would like to have a rose hybrid created, especially for my friend’s cherub-like, baby two-year old daughter. The baby died unexpectedly last night. I want to do a very special remembrance for my friend. I would love a rose hybrid that is an original (possibly a very light pink) to give to my friend. Thank you!

  19. From sheila england:

    Where can I buy a new dawn rose please?

  20. From Barret:

    New dawn will repeat where I live Zon e 4, it is plastered with rose all season.

  21. From Bob, central Virginia:

    I planted my New Dawns in the spring of 2007 at one end of a cast iron railing that is about 25 feet long. After two years it has grown nearly 20 feet, almost to the other end of the railing. It is now blooming profusely. The railing is situated on top of a wall overlooking my driveway. I have allowed some of the bush to cascade down the wall and it looks spectacular.

    When the wind is just right I can smell the scent of the roses from my deck in the back yard. Mine does not rebloom again after the spring.

    This bush can be labor intensive, but also a labor of love, if you want to keep it under control. I cut back the thicker branches, similar to suckers, because they usually do not produce flowers and take nutients from the flowers, and train the thinner branches that produce the flowers to grow in a straight line along the railing. Deadheading is important, so on a bush like mine I will take at least an hour every other day for a week or two until all the roses have finished blooming.

  22. From Jim, Detroit:

    About 15 years ago I planted New Dawn and Blaze alternating (about six plants of each, about two feet apart)against my west terrace, which is about three feet above the ground and surmounted by an iron railing about three feet tall. I looked forward to the mingling of the pale pink of New Dawn with the bright red of Blaze. In the second year the two varieties were spectacular together but within about four years the ultra-hardy and vigorous New Dawn choked out all of the Blaze and for the past few years the entire terrace is surrounded by nothing but New Dawn.

    If there is a period of intense heat early in summer (late May or early June) the blooming is extremely profuse. This seems to have the effect of exhausting the plants and for the rest of the summer there are just a few scattered new blooms. If early summer is only moderately warm, then there is a more consistent blooming throughout summer and all the way to fall, but in any case the initial blooming is always more profuse than the later blooming.

    If I had known that New Dawn would destroy the Blaze planted close to it, I would have planted all Blaze instead because I don’t find the pale pink color of New Dawn especially interesting. I think the intense late afternoon sun bleaches the petals to the point of being almost white. An eastern exposure with afternoon shade would probably be nicer.

    I use Ortho Rose Care as directed (every six weeks throughout summer) and find New Dawn to be absolutely trouble free.

  23. From Sorrel, the Netherlands:

    I live in Europe, in the Netherlands. My New Dawn flowers all summer and autumn, until the first frost. It’s the most profuse flowerer of all my climbing roses.

  24. From Pam Ruatto, Asheville, NC:

    I usually plant own-root, but a friend gave me a grafted New Dawn at the end of the summer last year, which had failed at her place, where she has too little sun. I cut the rose back and put in a safe place in the garden. I planned to move to a spot where she will get quite a bit of sun, but based on what I read here, I’ll put her where she can get afternoon shade instead. Thanks so much for keeping this blog going!

  25. From Paula:

    I have two New Dawn on either side of my front door.
    I had beautiful pink flowers the first two summers.
    This year, on of the plants has pink blossoms and the other
    plant has red flowers.
    Does anyone know why and what I should do??

  26. From Gayle Gainesville, FL:

    I planted a New Dawn on the South side of my home back in 2004. It didn’t do well. So I moved it to east side of the house, which gets morning sun and afternoon shade. That was in 2006. Now the rose is 10 feet tall and blooms from early Spring until first Frost.


  27. From Laurie Towanda KS:

    I planted New Dawn just outside my back porch on the south side six years ago. It took a few years for ‘her” to thrive but this spring the flowers were glorious. It has bloomed every year since planting but never any kind of remarkable rebloom, just a straggler here and there. I wish I knew more about how to properly prune after the first bloom and maybe I’d get more of a rebloom. This year the canes are intermingling with the clematis that was here when I bought the house. I love it when plants in the perennial garden start growing together. I’ve been gardening for 40 years but never fail to be surprised by something new every year. New Dawn has been such a delight with the pale pink, almost perfect flowers!

  28. From Dawn Munford:

    I purchased New Dawn last season,,dug a hole, dropped it in. That was it. I am new to rose planting, and let me say that it is frustrating. Just about every rose shrub, or hybrid has died. But, New Dawn bloomed that same season,,not fabulous blooms, but blooms. This year it has many beautiful roses on the stems,,hope I prune it right this year..The only thing I did this spring was feed it Miracle Grow! I live in Canada, so it can get cold, although last year was a mild winter, that could have helped with the climber…Happy gardening!

  29. From Dawn Munford:

    Forgot to mention, my New Dawn has a lovely fragrance. Not strong, but it’s there…

  30. From Dinah Tennessee:

    Purchased 2 Climbing New Dawn Roses for either side of my front door. My home is a split foyer with small porch and we built and attached to brick two wooden trellis’ on each side of front porch. These roses have grown about 6″ high this year and have always had some blooms. On east side of house. They always bloom better when I water them and I keep them deadheaded. They have lush green foilage and I would recommend them to anyone. They blend nicely with the red knockout rose bushes I have planted in front of them on either side of porch. NICE

  31. From Dinah, Tennessee:

    They have grown 6′ instead of 6″. Sorry about the error. They are lovely.