For The Answer
Weekly Express-News Article
By Calvin R. Finch, PhD, SAWS Water Resources Director, and Horticulturist
As you admire the roses from the florist that you received for Valentine’s Day do you wish you could grow such roses and have cut roses for the house more than just a week at Valentine’s Day? Do you then discard the idea because you know cut flower quality roses are just too difficult to grow? Most florist quality roses are difficult to grow, but there are some modern and old-fashioned “tough roses” that make wonderful cut flowers.
If you are looking for a rose that produces good buds and florist type blooms for cutting, but also is a good xeriscape plant, consider Belinda’s Dream. This “tough rose” reaches five – six feet tall and four feet wide. It has pale pink blooms that are available for cutting or admiring approximately eight months out of the year. Belinda’s Dream makes a good specimen shrub or can be planted in the shrub border if there is full sun.
As good as
Belinda’s Dream is, I like Katy Road/Carefree Beauty even better. It is equally tough being able to go through
black spot and blooming eight months of the year without a pesticide spray
program. I like it better because the
pink blooms have more red in them. Katy
Road/Carefree Beauty also produces rose hips that are good wildlife food and
are decorative. Although the buds are as
attractive, the Katy Road/Carefree Beauty blooms are flatter with fewer petals
than Belinda’s Dream so if you prefer a florist type bloom, Belinda’s Dream
makes a better cut flower in that regard.
Both Belinda’s Dream and
rose” suitable for cut flowers is Mrs. Dudley Cross. It is a thorn-less fragrant-less
old-fashioned rose, but has full formed buds and multiple petaled blooms in the
league with Belinda’s Dream. The flowers
are a yellow peach color. A while back, author
Grey Grant, identified Mrs. Dudley Rose as the San Antonio Rose because of its
superior characteristics and widespread planting in this area. Mrs. Dudley Cross makes a slightly smaller
If it is a true yellow rose that you long for for your bouquet, consider Grandma’s Yellow rose. Grandma’s is a modern rose selected by Jerry Parsons and his Texas Super Star team as a plant worthy of promotion state-wide. The small yellow buds and florist type blooms are its main assets. In my experience, it is tough enough to be part of a xeriscape landscape, but is more affected by black spot and drought than the other roses in this article. The plant is about the same size as Belinda’s Dream but is less robust.
The tough roses are good xeriscape plants. They can survive in our area without supplemental irrigation or pesticide sprays. They do, however, perform better if they receive a deep watering every two weeks during droughty summer weather. A leaky hose works very well for a bed of “tough roses.” Prune the “tough roses” when it is convenient. It is easier to access the blooms for cutting if dead and scraggly branches are removed, but unlike modern roses they do not need to be pruned every year. The tough roses can be planted in raised beds or native soils. They require full sun to perform well.