Rose Variety Olivia Rose Austin

By David Marks
Olivia Rose Austin is one of David Austin’s recent varieties, first introduced in 2014.

This rose variety is named after the daughter of David Austin Junior. That in itself says a lot – he wouldn’t name a rose after his daughter unless he thought this variety was one of his best.

Normally lovely pink colored roses, produced over a long period of time combined with good disease resistance. Suitable for a large container or most garden beds.

Olivia Rose Austin is called an English Rose by David Austin. It is not a Hybrid Tea, it is not a Floribunda, it is probably best described as a shrub rose.

The majority of the flowers appear in clusters on a stem but occasionally they appear on a single stem. Without a doubt they flower well throughout the year. Individual flowers
don’t last long however so this variety is not the best as a cut rose for a vase.

Rose Olivia Rose Austin fully open
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Fully open flower Olivia Rose Austin

The flowers are a delicate shade of pink, sometimes turning almost white if the sun is strong for a long period. This is a vigorous varietiety as far a flower production is concerned, it continues to produce flowers from mid June / early July to October, often November in some areas.

The flowers are light scented, the strength differing depending on the growing conditions. Leaves are semi-glossy and medium green. This is a strong growing and upright rose bush which reaches a height of 1m / 3ft 3in and a spread of 90cm / 3ft. It can be grown well in a large container.

This variety does disappoint in even mildly wet or windy weather – the flowers are too heavy for the stems and they droop down under the weight in all but the best weather. Occasionally in our trials, stems would fall to the ground under the weight of the flowers. Not a variety we would choose except for protected positions. We will review this next year to see if this improves with age.


When the flowers initially open they have the shape of a Hybrid Tea rose for a few days before opening fully. The picture below is of a half open Olivia Rose Austin flower.
Olivia Rose Austin flower half open

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Half open flower Olivia Rose Austin

The David Austin rose book state that “Olivia Rose Austin is an outstanding variety in almost every way”. It also states that this variety is “entirely free from disease”. Both statements must taken with a pinch of salt, no plant is entirely free from disease and how outstanding it performs is a matter of opinion!


Olivia Rose Austin is a very healthy, disease resistant and quick growing rose. We still suggest however that you follow our instructions on controlling black spot which can be found here.


Prune an Olivia Rose Austin rose as follows:

YEAR 1 (after its first year of flowering)
Remove any dead or unhealthy stems back to live wood.
Remove all foliage to reduce the risk of black spot and other diseases next year – burn the foliage.
Trim back stems by about 10cm / 4in.
Step back and look at your shrub rose, prune back any stems which are longer than the overall structure of the rose so that it has an even profile.


Remove any dead or unhealthy stems back to live wood.
Remove all foliage to reduce the risk of black spot and other diseases next year – burn the foliage.
Prune away a third of the length of all stems. If you want to reduce the size of your shrub rose next year, prune away a half of the length of all stems.
Step back and look at your shrub rose, prune back any stems which are longer than the overall structure
of the rose so that it has an even profile.


Bought online from David Austin Roses on 24 January 2020 with another rose at a total cost of £39.95 including posting costs (so £19.98 per rose).

It was delivered with the other rose on 29 January 2020, extremely quick delivery time, in fact the quickest of all from five online rose companies we ordered from at the same time. The rose was supplied bare-rooted.

See our page on comparing online rose suppliers here.

Bare rooted Olivia Rose Austin rose from David Austin
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Bare root Olivia Rose Austin rose supplied by David Austin

The Olivia Rose Austin rose was planted in our rose bed on 30 January 2020. We will update you below throughout the life of this rose.


4th April 2020
Sprayed with Roseclear. Looks to be establishing OK. Surrounding ground covered in cardboard and mulched with very well composted wood chip. Watered twice after planting because of the unusually dry weather.

30 May 2020
Sprayed again with Roseclear.

12th June 2020
The first flowers appeared. The rose has established well with no signs of pests or diseases.

5 July 2020
Wet and slightly windy weather has caused two stems to fall under the weight of the flowers. Other flower stems are not held high by the relatively weak stems.

Individual flowers are without doubt beautifully formed and very photogenic. However the number of them that droop is a disappointment.

21st August 2020
Very similar results to Darcey Bussell. A disappointing rose. Rain and some wind have left the blooms falling over – and let’s face it, we do get rain and wind in the UK even in the height of summer. On the plus side, this rose variety seems very resistant to black spot.

For us, a rose plant that has drooping flower stems with the blooms facing downwards in even moderately bad weather, is not much use. Maybe, in its second year (2021) this will not occur.


HEIGHT: 1m (3ft 3 in)

SPREAD: 90cm (3ft)

ROSE TYPE: Shrub rose, repeat flowers in clusters and singly over the summer

FLOWER COLOUR: Pink, fully double

FRAGRANCE: Slight to medium

LEAVES: Mid green, glossy

THORNS: Average


USDA ZONES: 8b to 4b


GROWING CONDITIONS: Full or partial sunlight (four hours or more sun in summer)

SOIL CONDITIONS: Almost all soil conditions except dry or water-logged soils

CONTAINER GROWING: Well suited to large containers

BREEDER: David Austin, 2014

AWARDS: 2014 Rose Trials Gold Standard


Click here for more in depth reviews of our recommended rose varieties.