The Roots of RosenTantau

In Memory Of Our History

The Roots of RosenTantau

RosenTantau is a German family horticulture business founded in 1906 by Mathias Tantau Senior. Mathias Tantau Sr. was born in 1882, the son of a farmer. From a young age, he was captivated by roses and after finishing school moved to France and Switzerland to pursue his dream, where he worked in various specialized rose nurseries.

After a few years of experience with roses, he moved back to Uetersen to build his very own rose nursery on a piece of his father’s land in 1906. 

And that’s where the story began

Mathias Tantau Sr.’s main aim was to grow garden roses and wild roses. Through hard work, the number of rose plants produced annually rose in 1914 to over 250,000, and that of wild roses to over 3 million. During this time, RosenTantau became one of the world’s most famous rose-breeding companies.

Then came World War I and Mathias Tantau had to think of alternatives and innovative ways to stay in the market. The war brought a great loss of income with it and roses lost people’s interest. Mathias Tantau came up with the idea for RosenTantau to transition into a breeding farm and start breeding new varieties of roses. Through his efforts, two new varieties originated: the ‘Stadtrat Meyn’ and ‘Schöne von Holstein’, which were introduced to the market in 1919. There were other varieties such as ‘Rotelfe’, which appeared in 1922. 

In 1933, together with Wilhelm Kordes and Uetersen, Mathias Tantau founded the Rosarium Uetersen, the oldest and largest rose garden in Northern Germany. After a long respected and successful career as a rose breeder; Mathias Tantau died on June 26, 1953. One of his last creations was the famous ‘Schweizer Gruß’ (‘Red Favorit’), which hit the market in 1953 after his death.

Mathias Tantau’s son Mathias Tantau junior took over the business in 1948. Mathias Tantau Jr. implemented the prevailing trend of long-stemmed, bright, large-flowered roses. One of his most famous varieties was the ‘Konrad Adenauer’ rose, which appeared in 1954. In 1960, Mathias Tantau junior brought to the market one of his biggest hits, the salmon-orange rose ‘Super Star’. He also led to the market of other famous varieties, such as ‘Duftwolke’ and ‘Floribunda rose’, in 1963.

All these new varieties lead to Mathias Tantau Junior winning several international awards for rose breeding. He was even granted the Georg Arends Commemorative Medal for all his contributions to the rose industry. In 1985 Mathias Tantau sold the rose farm to one of his employees and retired a few years later to rest. Mathias Tantau Jr. died on March 28, 2006, at the age of 93, in Uetersen.

Since then, RosenTantau has followed its legacy and throughout the years has become the most important breeding house for different varieties of cut roses, becoming the market leader of the new generations of roses.

“All the flowers of the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.”

– Indian Proverb

Related Articles


Uncovering our Breeding Secrets

We are a farm that specializes in breeding beautiful, high-quality roses. But how exactly did we become market leaders in the rose breeding industry? The answer lies in sticking to traditional breeding techniques.