For the first time in more than half a century the traditional plant is pushing out the more exotic foreign fauna that became fashionable in the sixties. Sales of the rose bushes – once as high as 50 million a year – had fallen to a mere nine million a decade ago.
But now garden centres and supermarkets have seen a resurgence.
Sales are already back to 12 million a year and some varieties are more than doubling in sales annually.
Bernard Mehring, a leading member of the Royal National Rose Society, said that the return of the rose was down to nostalgia and new disease resistant varieties.
“The decline set in during the sixties when suppliers started bringing in exotic plants from New Zealand and Australia,” he said.
“It was thought they would require less work and because they were new they were better marketed.
“But now people have realised that all plants need looking after and the new varieties of roses have come along that have a level of disease resistance people want today.”
He said that with new hybrid varieties such as “Special Child” and “Aphrodite” were especially hardy and the latter was suited to be grown in pots.
A new tradition of giving potted roses as gifts for special occasions such as weddings, birthdays and other anniversaries has also pushed up sales.
Last year Tesco began selling garden roses for the first time and sales were so strong that it is again selling them this year.
All its varieties are grown in this country.
David Fryer, Tesco horticulture technical manager, said: “It’s wonderful to see people appreciating this beautiful and very British flower again.
“In the mid-20th century roses were found in just about every British garden.
“But a younger generation of gardeners wanted something new and exotic which to impress the neighbours and roses fell out of favour.
“They were also seen as high maintenance as they needed more pruning than regular garden plants.
“But over the last few years rose growers have created new hybrids that don’t require so much attention and this is driving a new surge in popularity.
“It’s also now possible to buy them in pots, which makes them popular as gifts.”
More and more “special occasion” varieties known as Celebration Roses are coming onto the market and since 2006 sales have grown by an estimated 200 per cent.
Sales of another relatively new rose variety, Patio Standard, have risen by an estimated 100 per cent in the same time period. More HERE