Life Isn’t Always a Bed of Roses; Neither is Math

A red rose in a garden

Roses are all the rage every Valentine’s Day, as well as any occasion when lovers express their feelings for each other.

A more recent mention of roses would be the enchanted rose in the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. The young prince, cursed by an enchantress for making judgements based on appearances, was given as much time as it took an enchanted rose to lose all its petals to break the spell he’s under.

The enchanted rose, a floral hourglass. Photo credit: Disney

The enchanted rose, a floral hourglass. Photo credit: Disney

But wait, that rose was an enchanted one, and it bloomed until the prince turned 21, before the last of its petals fell. That got us thinking: How long does it take for a real rose to bloom and wilt compared to an enchanted one?

Lifespan: Real roses vs. The Enchanted Rose

Pink rose bush

A rose by any other name…still needs proper care to grow.

Roses are perennial plants, which means that they undergo a continuous cycle of growing, producing flowers and wilting until the rose bush dies. A growth cycle can last between 6 to 8 weeks, depending on the species.

While there is a good deal of discussion about how old the prince was when he was cursed, for ease of calculation, we’ll go with the proposed age of 11 years, which means that the enchanted rose bloomed for an entire decade.

So to calculate the enchanted rose’s lifespan against that of an average rose, here’s how it looks: A real rose grows faster than the enchanted one, but it wilts at the end of its growth cycle in 6 weeks, unlike the enchanted one that blooms for 10 years before the last of its petals falls. After 6 weeks, a real rose plant will begin flowering again. A well-maintained rose bush can last up to 35 years or longer with adequate care.

Type of roseReal roseEnchanted rose
Average growth cycle6 weeks10 years
Lifespan35 years10 years

Which will result in a graph like this:

Here's what you get when you plot the growth and lifespan of a real rose plant and the enchanted rose from Beauty and the Beast.

Here’s how it looks on a line graph.

So to answer the question: “How long does a real rose live compared to an enchanted one?” Pretty long, with a little bit of care. The enchanted rose, alas, only blooms and lives for a spell. We’d recommend staying away from enchantresses. And judging by appearances.

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