How To Grow And Care For 'Julia Child' Roses

The beloved chef lends her name to an equally exuberant rose.

If you have a shelf of Julia Child cookbooks in your kitchen, you need a row of 'Julia Child' roses in your garden. They're floribunda roses that repeat bloom in big, free-flowering clusters all season, and they're a perfect match for the celebrated chef who lent her name to the shrub.

'Julia Child' is a lovely rose cultivar that produces vibrant, butter-yellow roses (after all, butter is an essential ingredient in French cooking). The licorice-scented golden blooms are borne heavily on lush, glossy green foliage. 

Tom Carruth developed these roses in the United States in 2004, crossing the roses 'Voodoo' with Rosa soulieana, 'Summerwine,' and 'Topnotch.' Wild versions of R. soulieana have a fragrance described as clove or cinnamon—lending a culinary scent, appealing to the connoisseur of cooking.

"Just before our wonderful American icon left us, she selected this exceptional rose to bear her name. Julia loved the even butter gold color and the licorice candy fragrance," according to Weeks Roses, the growers that initially introduced the rose. "Yet it wasn't just the old-fashioned blooms that inspired the recipe. The perfectly rounded habit, super glossy leaves, and great disease resistance finish off the dish." These roses are excellent cut flowers with an eye-catching bloom that attracts pollinators like bees, butterflies, and birds. 

Plant Attributes

Plant Attributes
 Common Name:  Julia Child Rose, Floribunda Rose
 Botanical Name:  Rosa 'Julia Child'
 Family:  Rosaceae
 Plant Type:  Perennial, Rose, Bulb
 Mature Size:  2-3 ft. tall, 2-3 ft. wide
 Sun Exposure:  Full, Partial
 Soil Type: Moist but Well-drained, Loamy, Sandy  
 Soil pH:  Acidic (6.5)
 Bloom Time:  Spring, Summer, Fall
 Flower Color:  Yellow
 Hardiness Zones:  Zones 5-10 (USDA)
 Native Area:  North America

'Julia Child' Roses Care

'Julia Child' was sure to be a winner, earning the All-America Rose Selection Award in 2006. The plant launched in the U.K. (named for the television show Absolutely Fabulous) and in Australia. 'Julia Child' Roses are popular because of their large clusters of full golden blooms, repeat blooming patterns, and long flowering season from late spring to late fall.

Very heat-tolerant and hardy in USDA Zones 5 to 10, this rose is suited to the warm temperatures of the South. Ordinarily, these bushes are compact and rounded, growing to a height of 25 to 30 inches and a width of 20 to 25 inches. As a landscape planting, the rose is versatile in flower beds, containers, and borders. The sturdy stems of this floribunda rose also make it a perfect cut flower for decorating the dinner table.


'Julia Child' Roses need at least six to eight hours of daily sunshine. These roses thrive in the morning sun because it allows the foliage to dry before the temperatures cool and prevents fungus or diseases from developing. Warm temperatures and proper air circulation also help with avoiding wet leaves.


These roses are tolerant of a range of soil, including sandy, clay, and loamy, as long as it's never soggy. Well-draining soil is essential, as is a slightly more acidic pH.


'Julia Child' roses need a lot of water to maintain healthy roots and abundant blooms. Water the plant base, avoiding the foliage, but ensure the soil drains entirely before watering again. Use your hands to feel the ground to determine if the plant needs more water. 'Julia Child' roses sometimes need water only once a week, but temperature and climate conditions will impact the amount needed. Water in the morning and avoid soggy soil so fungus and disease do not develop.

Temperature and Humidity

'Julia Child' roses thrive in moderate humidity and temperatures between 60°F to 70°F. In areas with high humidity, fungal diseases can develop. These flowers are relatively heat and cold-tolerant, but plants will not tolerate freezing weather, so moving plants to containers can help manage cold ground temperatures.


Fertilize 'Julia Child' roses throughout the year to encourage more blooms. A well-balanced fertilizer can supplement the soil, providing more nutrients to sustain growth. Begin fertilizing in early spring after the final frost and when the leaves begin to emerge. Use a high-nitrogen fertilizer to initiate plant development. Adding Epsom salts can promote new cane development or more lush foliage. To see more blooms, continue feeding the plant, especially in early summer. A slow-release fertilizer is best after the branches are four to five inches long. After the blooming season, discontinue fertilization to prevent growth during the colder months.


Prune yearly to maintain 'Julia Child' roses being a carefree and compact plant. Prune your rose in early spring before leaves appear, removing any dead wood and cutting back canes that cross. Cut the remaining canes by one-third to encourage flowering and remove dead or damaged branches—abundant growth means you can remove weak branches and shape the plant.

Remove overlapping branches, so there is no competition for sunlight. Continue cleaning up and pruning branches throughout the growing season to maintain their shape.

Propagating 'Julia Child' Roses

As a patented cultivar, propagating 'Julia Child' roses is illegal. To add more of these roses to your garden, search online or at garden centers to purchase one of these beautiful blooms.

Potting and Repotting 'Julia Child' Roses

'Julia Child' roses are compact, but if the plant outgrows its container, gently remove the rose and transplant it into a larger pot. Early spring is the best time to repot flowers, but keep the roots intact when removing the rose from its original container. Gently loosen the excess soil before planting. Add nutrients to the soil, such as compost or fertilizer, when repotting 'Julia Child' roses. Container plants need more water than those grown in a garden bed, but the soil should still be well-drained. Continue watering until the root ball is soaked but allow it to drain entirely before watering again.

If transplanting outdoors, plant your rose in full sun in rich, well-drained soil. Dig a hole as deep as your rose's container and twice as wide, mixing in soil conditioner or compost if your soil needs amending. Plant your rose, mulch around the base, and water frequently to establish the plant.

If you purchased bare-root roses in winter, soak the roots in a bucket of water for two to 12 hours before planting. Dig a hole about 18 inches wide and deep and mound the soil in the center. Drape your plant's roots over the ground, ensuring that the swelling on the plant's main stem is grafted to the rose just above the soil level (in colder climates, plant the base an inch or two below the soil level). Backfill with soil, amend it first if necessary, and water well. Trim back any long canes and mulch around the base.


Protect 'Julia Child' roses grown outside from colder temperatures by adding a layer of mulch around the plant's base. If grown in containers, move the roses inside and keep them in an area like a garage or shed. Stop fertilizing plants in the late fall. Prune stems and deadhead flowers. Cover the container with mulch and add a burlap cover. Do not water the containers because you do not want to encourage growth during the winter. Remove the layer of mulch in the spring after the last frost, and remove broken branches or debris from the area.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

These flowers are relatively disease-resistant, but infections like root rot, gray mold, and leaf spots can occur. These diseases are often related to oversaturated soil or lack of nutrients. Remove diseased foliage and roots, and repot the rose to a new container or location if a fungus is present. 

Japanese beetles sometimes infest roses during pollination from bees. Removing the beetles by hand or using an insecticidal soap can help eliminate the issue.

How to Get 'Julia Child' Roses to Bloom

The sweet, licorice-smelling perfume of 'Julia Child' tickles your senses through ongoing blooms. To achieve more frequent blooms, supplement the soil with nutrients and fertilizer in early spring when foliage and buds first emerge. Additional feedings throughout the summer can encourage a second showing of blooms. Suspend fertilization in the fall so the plant can go dormant for the winter months. Deadheading spent flowers can also promote new growth, and removing diseased or damaged canes helps maintain a healthy plant.

Common Problems With 'Julia Child' Roses

'Julia Child' Roses are relatively easy-to-maintain if meeting environmental and care conditions. Proper sunlight, nutrient-rich soil, and adequate watering can ensure showy blooms throughout the spring and summer. After fulfilling the necessary care requirements for this plant, some issues can still arise.

Leaves Turning Yellow

In general, yellowing leaves indicate overwatering or improper soil nutrition. 'Julia Child' roses are similar and may start showing yellow patches with an imbalance of Magnesium, Sulfur, Potassium, or Nitrogen. Test the soil near your roses, and use the appropriate fertilizer to amend its nutrients. 

Drooping Leaves 

Lack of water is the leading cause of wilting or drooping foliage. Use your hands to feel the soil to determine if it is dry and needs additional water. In regions with intense summer heat, try adding more water or planting roses in a container so you can move them based on the weather conditions. 

Browning Tips

Yellow or brown leaves can also signify leaf burn. Make sure to plant your roses in an area with partial sunlight, or if in containers, remove roses during the intense summer heat.

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