Caring for hybrid roses

Modern bush roses mainly fall into two types, Floribunda and Hybrid Tea roses, both of which can be hybrids, which means they have been created as a result of cross pollinating between two different varieties.  There are other modern bush roses such as Patio and Miniature roses.  Then there are modern shrub roses. However let’s examine Hybrid Tea and Floribunda this time!

Floribunda bushes carry abundant clusters of flowers on their stems, while Hybrid tea roses in general carry single blossoms on a long stem, making them a favourite for cut flower arrangements.  There is, however, a narrowing gap between the two. Many modern Hybrid Tea varieties will have more than one rose on a stem, and while early floribunda roses had very little form, but many do have more shapely, even Hybrid Tea-shaped blooms.

Hybrids can be developed for a variety of reasons such as for disease resistance, size of plant, flower, or fruit, increased flowering, colour, taste or any reason a plant might be considered special. Getting to the desired result can take years of crossing. Seed collected from a crossed pollinated seed pod, will be planted and those which germinate will produce a simple flower and then it will be decided if any are worth taking to the next stage.

There is otherwise nothing special to remember about caring for hybrid roses so the following is general guidance on care.

Established roses should be cut back by about a third in late December early January, to prevent wind rock. The reason for doing this is plants can be damaged if a hole is made near the root stem and water gets in and freezes it will damage the root system. It is not advised to do main pruning in the winter as if there is a severe winter then there is little left for the plant to die-back on.

We will cover the main Spring pruning, which should be done in February to late March depending on where you are in the country, next month.

Pruning of rambler and shrub roses should also now be completed if not already done. If Ramblers, general old shrub and species roses and Weeping Standards have not as yet been pruned  (normally it is recommended to be done in November), do this now.  Retain all rod-like growth, remove all weak and under-developed shoots and cut back the flowered stems.

Pruning is important because if bushes are left unpruned you may end up with a tangle of branches encouraging disease and bearing very few flowers.  Since roses are repeat-flowering it is worth making the effort in order to have a long season of blooms through the summer and autumn.

You should wear gloves as protection from thorns.

Gardening tips for January:

You can continue to plant roses throughout the winter including those Christmas gifts. The only time to avoid planting is if the ground is so hard you can’t dig!

January is also the ideal month to do a winter wash to kill off black spot spores which might accumulate in the soil.  First collect up any diseased foliage   Regretfully the product which helped most to prevent reinfection is no longer available.  Jeyes Fluid, however, can be used at a rate of 10mls to 5 litres i.e. normal watering can size.  This time of the year is when the sap is at its lowest so the fluid can be watered over the plants as well as the surrounding ground.

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