New York State Flower - Rose

New York has a long, historical relationship with roses.

New York has a long, historical relationship with roses.

The state of New York adopted the rose as its state flower on April 20, 1955, by a decree from the New York state legislature. Great horticulturists from George Folliot Harison to William Prince helped to cultivate and promote New Yorkers’ love and appreciation of the rose. New Yorkers continue to regale their gardens with roses and receive continued support from groups such as the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the Heritage Rose Foundation.


New York took nearly a century to declare its state flower, even though interest in choosing a flower existed for nearly a century. In 1890, the state Department of Public Instruction, now called the New York State Education Department, took a poll among schoolchildren to pick the state flower. Goldenrod received the most votes, although many districts didn’t keep a clear count. The rose placed a close second. Without a clear mandate, the superintendent called for a second vote on Arbor Day in 1891 and the rose came out on top. Though New Yorkers knew they had a floral symbol, no official action was taken until 1955.


The flowers have played an integral role in healing for centuries. The rose hip and the petals are edible and often used for medicinal purposes. The Rose Gallica is a species growing in the Trinity Cemetery in Harlem that once was used by New Yorkers to treat hysteria. Roses also played in integral part of women’s fashion in New York, where no fashionable lady went out without wearing a fresh-cut flower. Today, you can purchase cut flowers from one of the many greenhouses that cultivate the flowers year-round or order them directly from a premium online florist such as ProFlowers. The New York state flower is one of the most beloved flowers in the country and makes a particularly significant gift for New Yorkers.


Roses grow wild throughout the United States and are particularly prolific in New York. Rose enthusiasts in New York share tips and their love of the buds through various nonprofit organizations. There are 10 chapters of the American Rose Society in the state of New York, dedicated to sharing their enthusiasm for the buds as well as educating New Yorkers about how to grow and care for roses. For example, the Manhattan Rose Society arranges private garden tours and provides growing tips through its newsletter, Skyscrapers & Roses. The Capital Region Rose Society provides tips such as adding Epsom salts to your roses in May and phosphorous fertilizer in September just prior to the November winterizing you need to do in the state.


Garden roses are popular in New York, according to the Cornell Cooperative Extension and range in size from miniatures that grow to about eight inches high to climbing vines that can reach up to 50 feet. The hybrid tea roses, most associated with the New York state symbol, average between four and six feet. Highly valued for their rich fragrance, roses are grown to use for enhancing the landscape or for cutting. Floribundas and Grandiflora grow well in the New York climate. Bare-root roses perform best when planted in the spring in the state of New York and container roses can be planted any time before early September. Little pruning or extra care is needed in the summer as the flowers love the Northern climate, producing prodigious blooms until late August.

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  • Roses image by Andy Merrett from <a href=''></a>


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