How to Plant, Grow, and Care for ‘Madame Ernest Calvat’ Roses

‘Madame Ernest Calvat’ roses enchant the garden with old-fashioned pink blooms and a delicious old rose fragrance. A short climbing rose or graceful shrub, ‘Madame Ernest Calvat’ boasts the hardiness, disease resistance, and vigor of its Bourbon rose parentage. Explore the true beauty of this rose with garden expert Katherine Rowe.

Close-up of Madame Ernest Calvat Roses blooming in a garden against a blurred green background. These hybrid tea roses produce large, double blooms with a high-centered form. The petals are a rich, velvety crimson hue, providing a striking contrast against the dark green foliage.


Rosa ‘Madame Ernest Calvat’ is a decadent heirloom rose loaded with silvery pink blooms and an exceptional classic rose fragrance. The luscious flowers carry notes of raspberry in their cupped and nodding forms.

This stunning rose is of Bourbon lineage, a classification of old garden roses bred for repeat flowering, vigorous growth, and high fragrance. Long, arching canes and a bushy habit make it ideal as a graceful specimen shrub or short climbing rose.

Antique roses tell tales of travel, culture, and garden history. Exploring their origin is like tracing a family tree, with new names and faces among the familiar and noteworthy. Let’s indulge in rosa ‘Madame Ernest Calvat’ and the beauty she brings to the garden.


Close-up of Madame Ernest Calvat roses in bloom among dark green foliage. This rose variety boasts dark green, glossy foliage that provides a lush backdrop for its stunning blooms. The flowers are large and double, with tightly packed petals that unfurl to reveal a soft pink hue with hints of deep pink at the center.
Plant Type Rose
Family Rosaceae
Genus Rosa
Species ‘Madame Ernest Calvat’
Native Area Garden origin
Exposure Full sun to partial shade
Height 5-7’
Watering Requirements Medium
Pests & Diseases Blackspot, powdery mildew, rust, aphids, scale, Japanese beetles
Maintenance Average
Soil Type Average
Hardiness Zone 6-10

What are Madame Ernest Calvat Roses?

Close-up of a blooming rose bush in the garden. It is an elegant hybrid tea rose known for its exquisite beauty and classic charm. The plant features glossy, dark green foliage that serves as a backdrop for its stunning blooms. The flowers are large and double, with velvety petals that unfurl to reveal a rich, deep pink coloration.
A fragrant Bourbon rose of timeless beauty.

‘Madame Ernest Calvat’ is a stunning rose with fully-petaled pink blooms and an exceptional old rose fragrance. She belongs to the Bourbon rose classification of old garden roses known for their vigorous growth, hardiness, disease resistance, and repeat flowering.

Bourbon roses represent a group of old garden rose hybrids from around 1817. A natural cross between wild roses occurred on the Ile de Bourbon (now Réunion) in the Indian Ocean near Mauritius and off Madagascar. The new Bourbon roses arrived in France two years later, where they went on to produce more hybrids like ‘Madame Ernest Calvat’ and modern roses.

This variety was discovered in France by esteemed rose breeder Marie-Louise Schwartz in 1888. The new cultivar grew as a sport (a genetic mutation) of the Bourbon Rosa ‘Madame Isaac Pereire.’ The difference between the two roses is the bloom color and form – ‘Mme. Isaac Pereire’ is deep pink-violet with a tall, arching habit, while ‘Mme. Ernest Calvat’ is lighter pink with a slightly bushier form.


Close-up of a large, lush  rose bush. Blooming roses are a sight to behold, their lush, velvety petals unfurling to reveal a pink hue tinged with hints of crimson. The bush produces compound leaves with oval, jagged edges.
Indulge in the aromatic allure of ‘Madame Isaac Pereire’ rose.

Rosa ‘Madame Isaac Pereire’, a parent of ‘Madame Ernest Calvat’, is one of the world’s most fragrant roses. Its old-fashioned raspberry-purple blooms match its intensely fruity, old-rose fragrance. Fully-petaled flowers are cupped and quartered for a lush display from spring through frost. ‘Mme. Isaac’ grows vigorously as an arching shrub or climbing rose and tolerates dappled shade. Armand Garcon bred this award-winning rose in 1881 in France.

As a sport of ‘Mme. Isaac Pereire,’ the beautiful ‘Mme. Ernest Calvat’ features the same hardy stock and plant qualities. Marie-Louise Schwartz of the esteemed Schwartz House of Horticulture in France’s rose-growing capital of Lyon found and propagated the new cultivar. 

Marie-Louise’s husband, Joseph Schwartz, was a renowned breeder who introduced many favored old garden roses, including ‘Madame Alfred Carrier,’ a Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit recipient. After Joseph’s death, Marie-Louise successfully continued the operation. ‘Madame Ernest Calvat’ was one of her several rose introductions.

We don’t know much about the rose’s namesake, other than that her husband, Ernest Calvat, was an amateur horticulturist who contributed to chrysanthemums. Ernest Calvat was a glove manufacturer from a prominent Grenoble family. His father (also Ernest Calvat) was mayor at one time. Ernest Calvat left a legacy of several chrysanthemum introductions.


Close-up of blooming pink roses on a blurred background. The rose produces a cluster of double pink flowers with velvety soft pink petals with a more crimson hue at the centers.
Grace your garden with captivating blooms.

This rose features fully double blooms, cupped and quartered, with fifty or more pink petals per flower. Slightly nodding blooms boast a strong raspberry scent.

Green canes grow long and arching, making ‘Mme. Ernest Calvat’ beautiful as a specimen shrub or climber on posts, arbors, trellises, and walls. Dark green foliage provides a leafy backdrop to the prolific blooms in repeat flushes.

When the flat flowers are fully open, bright yellow stamens attract pollinators. As blooms fade, rose hips emerge, bringing lasting winter interest and food for birds and other wildlife.

As a Bourbon rose, it flushes heavily in spring, with repeat flowering throughout the season until frost. Fall may see another bloom flush.

Native Area

Close-up of roses in bloom among lush green foliage. The roses boast elegant, pale pink blooms, each petal delicately arranged in a classic rosette formation. Their glossy, dark green foliage provides a striking backdrop, enhancing the beauty of the flowers.
Embrace the timeless allure of Bourbon roses’ heavenly fragrance.

Bourbon roses came about on Réunion Island when a lineage of ‘Autumn Damask’ hybridized with a China rose. The Damask and China rose parents of Bourbon roses account for their heavenly fragrance and continual blooming.

The parent Damask roses originated in Central Asia by crossing three wild species:  R. gallica, R. moschata (the musk rose), and R. fedtschenkoana. Hybridization likely occurred in cultivation since the habitats of these roses don’t overlap. The resulting ‘Autumn Damask’ (or ‘Quatre Saisons’ in France) is prized for its repeat flowering.

Their other Bourbon parent, Rosa chinensis, is a vigorous climber native to China. ‘Old Blush’ became an important repeat-flowering China rose as it flowers continuously and is the foundation for many repeat-blooming rose cultivars.


Roses with arching canes grow in various situations and versatile positions. For climbing, place them near a support structure like a pillar, wall, arbor, or trellis. It’s best to have supports in place when planting to avoid disturbing rose roots later on.

For good air circulation and to plan for maturity, leave ample space around the plant for air movement and ensure roots have enough room to spread. Leave at least one foot between roses and companion plantings and three to four feet between larger plants to avoid overcrowding.


Close-up of male hands planting a rose seedling in the garden. The rose seedling is characterized by upright stems with small sharp thorns with compound leaves that are dark green in color. These leaves are composed of oval leaflets with finely toothed edges.
Plant roses in optimal conditions for thriving blooms year-round.

Roses can be planted year-round, with the best conditions generally in late winter, early spring, and fall. Cool temperatures and seasonal moisture set the site for success. Avoid frozen or waterlogged conditions and periods of extreme heat or drought for the least stress on the new plant.

Roses ship potted or bare-root, usually from January through May, depending on your climate. Look for “own root” roses, which are plants propagated from a single variety with a developed root system or grafted stock for increased vigor.

Bare root roses arrive dormant without soil but quickly fill out after planting and with warming temperatures. They’ll establish over the spring for summer blooming. Before planting a bare-root rose, soak it in water for 24 hours.

For nursery potted and bare-root plants, dig a hole six to eight inches larger than the root ball to accommodate all the roots and loosen the surrounding soil. Amend the native soil with compost.

How to Grow

As roses go, Bourbons thrive in the right cultural conditions. They are good options for containers, climbing obelisks and pillars, and pegging (an old garden technique of pegging down stems).

‘Madame Ernest Calvat’ reaches around seven feet tall and is considered a short climber. Long canes train easily on upright structures. They don’t twine independently, so they’ll continue to need tying off as they grow.

Ensuring air circulation for plant vigor and health while preventing foliar diseases is essential to growing healthy roses. This rose thrives with the same foundational requirements as other roses and is relatively carefree.


Close-up of roses blooming in a sunny garden. They are renowned for their exquisite beauty, featuring lush, pale pink blooms with a hint of apricot at the center. Each flower is composed of layers of delicate petals, forming a perfect rosette shape.
Locate in a site with full sun for the best blooms.

‘Madame Ernest Calvat’ roses grow best in full sun, where blooming and disease resistance improve, though she’s unique in tolerating partial shade. Dappled sunlight is fine for this tough Bourbon, though full shade decreases blooming and overall health. In hot summer climates, she’ll benefit from the morning sun with protection from direct afternoon rays.


Close-up of a female gardener in white shorts, orange top and yellow gloves holding a yellow watering can with orchid patterns. Climbing roses with pale pink flowers grow in the garden.
Roses benefit from deep watering, preferably in the morning.

Water deeply (rather than frequently) throughout the growing season to a depth of one inch. When newly planted, ensure the soil stays moist until the roses establish (about one month). Once established, water needs are average at about one inch per week. Watering too frequently increases root diseases.

Roses do best with morning water, preferably drip or ground-level irrigation. Refrain from overhead watering to help prevent foliar diseases, especially avoiding evening or nighttime sprinklers. Either way, watering in the morning gives leaves time to dry in the day’s sun.


Close-up of planting a rose bush in the garden. A gardener wearing blue gloves compacts black soil at the base of a seedling. The rose seedling has compound, serrated leaves with glossy green leaflets.
Provide loose, rich soil to nurture roses.

Like all roses, ‘Madame Ernest Calvat’ roses prefer loose, rich, slightly acidic soils with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. They thrive in well-draining soils with even moisture.

This hybrid grows in a variety of soil conditions, best with organic material added to native soils. Add three to six inches of compost from completely broken-down plant material at planting. Compost will help with aeration, moisture retention, drainage, and nutrition. 

Temperature and Humidity

Close-up of a stunning cluster of blooming soft pink roses among green foliage in a garden. These roses are large, with delicate double petals with slightly wavy edges. The leaves are bright green, oval in shape with finely toothed edges.
Plant young rose bushes in spring or fall.

‘Madame Ernest Calvat’ is hardy down to USDA zone 6 and withstands hot and cold temperatures. For planting, roses prefer temperatures between 40 and 60°F (4-16°C).

Mulch in the summer to regulate temperatures by keeping roots cool. In cold winter areas, protect the rose crowns for best overwintering.

In areas with high humidity, give your rose plenty of air circulation. Ensure enough space around the plant and between its support structures, and avoid overcrowding with other plants.


Close-up of a woman's hand spreading plant fertilizer under a rose bush with a scoop in a spring garden. Granular fertilizers have a round and oval shape in light beige and gray shades.
Feed with care for a flourishing rose season ahead.

A balanced fertilizer in early spring and early summer ensures a vital growing season. Fish emulsion, seaweed extract, or an organic rose fertilizer do the trick throughout the growing season. Mycorrhizal fungi promote healthy roots and soil.


Close-up of a woman pruning rose bushes in a sunny garden. A woman trims faded buds using red pruning shears.
Remove spent blooms to encourage more flowering.

For the best growth, roses require a few seasonal garden tasks. Year-round, maintain a three-inch layer of mulch to retain moisture, regulate temperature, and suppress weeds. Mulch also adds nutrients to the soil as it decomposes.

To encourage reblooming, remove spent flowers, although ‘Madame Ernest’ repeat flowers without deadheading. She’ll just produce flowers more quickly when not directing energy to seed. Stop pruning and deadheading flowers in late summer so showy hips will set for fall interest and wildlife forage.

Remove diseased leaves, plus those from the ground during the growing season and in winter, as part of regular maintenance. Removing fallen leaves and flowers promotes overall health and reduces the occurrence of pests and diseases.

Pruning in late winter before spring buds set helps plant vigor by increasing circulation and shaping plant form. As preventative maintenance, remove any crossed, diseased, or dead canes.

Training and Pegging

Close-up of a blooming rose bush in a sunny garden. A rose bush climbs up the supports. The rose produces large buds of pink flowers with delicate double petals and a hint of crimson in the center.
Train these roses for abundant blooms with climbing techniques.

In the third year and beyond, ‘Madame Ernest Calvat’ is ready for training as a climbing rose with long, pliable canes. A simple technique to increase flowering is to train the main canes horizontally to start. Climbing roses typically produce bloom clusters on the tip of stems as they scramble toward the sun. To promote flowers along the stem for an all-over bloom appearance, promote the growth of side shoots (laterals). 

Choose the sturdiest canes and tie them loosely to the support. Leave enough “give” for cane movement and thickening. Evenly space canes as close to horizontal as possible (between 45 and 90 degrees). This horizontal positioning allows each leaf node and bud eye to develop a stem to hold bloom clusters. Continue tying canes as they grow on your support structure.

“Pegging” is an old garden technique to increase flowering among climbing roses. As with horizontal training, pegging stems promotes blooms along the length of the cane from the ground up. 

Pegging is anchoring stems to the ground or tying them in loops around each other to create a full appearance. When canes are long enough, they’re bent back to the base of the plant, tied to a stake, or pegged into the ground. Pegging makes an interesting rose form full of blooms and saves space when working with a climbing rose in smaller garden spots.


Propagate roses through softwood cuttings. Rose cuttings may take a few years to develop into full, multi-stemmed plants, but reproducing the parent plant through cuttings is relatively easy.


Propagation of roses by cuttings. Close-up of a rose cutting in a small brown pot. The stalk consists of compound leaves with oval leaflets and jagged edges.
Propagate roses from cuttings for new, tender blooms.

Propagate roses from cuttings in the spring or fall. Take multiple cuttings since not all may root. Here are guidelines for taking rose cuttings:

  • Cut a six-to-eight-inch piece of stem from the tip of a healthy cane. Remove any flowers or hips down to the first layer of healthy leaves.
  • Remove the foliage from the bottom ½ of the cutting, keeping any upper leaves intact. Keep cuttings moist until ready to pot.
  • Moisten the cutting and, optionally, dip the lower stem in rooting hormone, coating generously. Tap off any excess rooting powder.
  • Stick the cutting at about half its length in a pot with moist, well-draining potting mix. Vermiculite and perlite make suitable mixtures.
  • Place the pot in a bright, warm location, avoiding direct sunlight (especially direct afternoon sun).
  • Water/mist as needed, keeping the soil evenly moist. When roots have taken hold and new growth emerges, transplant stems to a larger pot or into the garden. New plants will be tender.

Common Problems

Choosing a disease-resistant plant like Rosa ‘Madame Ernest Calvat’ and providing the appropriate cultural conditions are the first steps to a healthy and beautiful rose.

Roses are susceptible to black spot, powdery mildew, rust, and rose rosette. They may incur aphids, beetles, scale, and spider mites, among other insects. 

Planting in full sun with plenty of air circulation and average moisture helps stave off infections. Pruning and removing diseased leaves helps prevent the spread of pests and diseases. For best health, remove fallen leaves and flowers from the base of the plant during the growing season and in winter.

Certain companion plantings for roses, like lavender, catmint, allium, geranium, and agastache, help repel pests like aphids and beetles. They’ll also attract beneficial insects, creating a well-rounded garden system.


Close-up of a young rose stem with rosebuds covered in swarms of aphids. Aphids are tiny insects clustered along stems. They have pear-shaped bodies that are green in color.
Early detection is key to managing garden insect infestations.

The best way to control insects is to spot them early. You’ll likely see the insects themselves or notice their sticky waste on plants, nibble damage, yellowing leaves, or stunted growth.

Aphids are common garden insects usually treated with non-chemical means. Often, they cause no plant damage, but severe infestations cause plant stress. Signs of stress include curled leaves and stunted growth.

Scale are common garden pests that pierce plants to feed on sap. You may notice a sticky residue from sap-sucking pests. The little legless blobs usually appear on the undersides of leaves and stems as black, gray, or silvery dots. Leaves may yellow and drop, with branches dying back in heavy infestations. Remove affected leaves (and branches, if severe).

Spider mites live on the undersides of leaves, indicated by webbing and light yellowing of leaf surfaces. Beneficial predatory insects like ladybugs and predatory mites help control populations.

Japanese beetles feed on leaves. They cause leaves to skeletonize or turn yellow and drop.

In the active growing season, spray the plant with a strong stream of water to deter and knock insects off the stems. Do this in the morning so leaves dry in the early sun. A simple horticultural soap rids the plant of insects if an infestation occurs, but be sure to follow label directions, as these affect beneficial insects as well.


Close-up of rose leaves affected by Black spot fungal disease. Black spot fungal disease of rose leaves presents as circular black or dark brown spots on the upper surface of the leaves.
Prevent rose diseases through careful garden management practices.

As with pests, the best disease control is prevention through cultural conditions. In general, remove problem roses from the garden to minimize chemical treatments and promote the health of surrounding plants.

Black spot is probably the most common disease for roses. Black spot fungus causes black spots with feathery margins on leaves and stems. It occurs when leaves remain overly wet (from overhead watering or periods of prolonged moisture). If spraying leaves with water to deter pests, do so in the morning or midday when leaves will have time to dry in the sun.

Rust, a common fungal disease, occurs in hot, humid summer climates. Powdery spores appear on the undersides of yellowing leaves. If you spot rust, cut off the infected leaves. Rust spreads readily, so destroy the infected plant parts.

Powdery mildew is another common fungal disease indicated by a gray-white powdery substance on leaves, stems, and buds. Leaves may distort and drop.

Rose rosette is a virus that causes growth malformation (like witch’s broom) and kills the plant. Remove roses with symptoms of rose rosette to prevent the fast-spreading disease.

Horticultural oils like Neem treat black spot, rust, and powdery mildew (but again, these impact beneficial insects, so be sure to follow application requirements). Before a spray treatment, try removing diseased leaves and plant parts from the plant and ground to prevent spread.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are ‘Madame Ernest Calvat’ roses known for?

A sport of old garden rose hybrids, this Bourbon rose features abundant medium pink blooms, cupped petals, and an exceptional fragrance. Noted for hardiness, vigor, and overall plant health, this rose performs beautifully as a climbing rose or specimen shrub.

Can ‘Madame Ernest Calvat’ roses grow in containers?

As a short climbing rose or shrub, it is well-suited to containers with a bit of extra care. Use an extra-large pot to support root growth and fill it with a fertile, well-draining potting mix. You can expect it to reach five to seven feet tall by three to four feet wide.

Do ‘Madame Ernest Calvat’ roses grow in the shade?

‘Madame Ernest Calvat’ roses are among the special old garden roses that tolerate partial shade. While full sun (at least six hours) is best, dappled sunlight suits this rose just fine. Morning sun benefits roses, as does protection from direct afternoon rays in hot climates.

Final Thoughts

‘Madame Ernest Calvat’ enchants in a way that only old garden roses can. Its scrumptious pink blooms, dark green foliage, and high fragrance delight the garden from spring through frost. Its carefree nature and versatility in form make this special rose ideal for a variety of growing conditions. Give the garden a brush of blush with this old-fashioned beauty.

A vibrant garden teeming with life, showcasing an array of azalea bushes. Blossoms paint the scene in hues of pink, white, and purple, creating a picturesque display of nature's beauty and diversity.

Ornamental Gardens

15 Beautiful Plants for Mass Planting

Mass planting is a simple way to achieve a harmonious landscape befitting any garden style. Design your garden with groups of plants “en masse” in drifts for high impact and visual appeal. Join landscape designer Katherine Rowe in exploring mass planting selections for gorgeous garden arrangements.

A wooden raised bed filled with colorful flowers and lush green plants, basking in the sunlight. In the background, a garden teems with life, offering a vibrant backdrop to the tranquil beauty of the bed.

Gardening Tips

15 Gift Ideas for Mothers Who Love to Garden

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about how to honor and thank the extraordinary women in our lives. If your mother, wife, grandmother, or other special lady loves gardening, you’ve come to the right place. Gardener and farmer Briana Yablonski shares 15 gift ideas for mothers who love gardening.

A cluster of 'New Dawn' roses captures the essence of a new day with their delicate pink hues, gracefully unfurling amidst verdant leaves. Adjacent, bold red roses stand in full splendor.


How to Plant, Grow, and Care For ‘New Dawn’ Roses

‘New Dawn’ roses may just be the perfect climbing rose. These vigorous, disease-resistant roses grow in a variety of conditions with ease. A profusion of lightly fragrant, blush pink blooms emerge in clusters in late spring, with repeat blooming through the fall. Showy rosehips extend the plant’s interest into winter. With their quick growth and abundance of soft flowers, ‘New Dawn’ roses make a stunning focal point in the garden. Join garden expert Katherine Rowe in exploring how to plant, grow, and care for ‘New Dawn’ roses.

Yellow marsh marigold flowers bloom, their petals unfurling gracefully under the sunlight, radiating warmth. Resting gently on their leaves, they create a picturesque scene, a delicate balance of nature's artistry and tranquility.


27 Beautiful Flowering Plants For Wet Soil

Are you wondering what to plant in that wet spot in your yard? It can be challenging to find plants that thrive in wet soil, so you may be pleasantly surprised that there are so many beautiful plants that love wet soil conditions! In this article, gardening expert Liessa Bowen introduces 27 fabulous flowering plants for your rain garden, pond border, or low-lying flood-prone riparian area.

harvesting red rose hips


17 Roses with Beautiful Rosehips for All-Season Appeal

Roses grace the garden with gorgeous blooms, fragrance, and form. They also produce beautiful rosehips! Extend the interest in roses by fostering hips that enliven the fall and winter garden in all sizes, shapes, and colors. Rosehips are also a valuable food source for wildlife. Energize the cool season garden with roses that produce abundant hips. Join garden professional Katherine Rowe in exploring roses with beautiful hips for multi-season interest.