The Q&A Archives: Roses

Question: I will need to replant new roses next year. I would like to know which is the most hardy rose that I can buy? I live in zone 8. I'm looking for a rose that has extremly good disease resistance, regular watering, and needs no maintaince, besides prunning, to grow. The hardier, the better. It needs beauty too. Also, I heard that there is black and blue roses. Is it true?

Answer: There are many "low maintenance" roses. One of my favorites is the 'Bonica' rose. It is highly disease resistant, very hardy, and very carefree. It is available from Burpee. You can reach them at 1-800-888-1447. Many shrub roses or "old" roses are pretty low maintenance. The "pickier" roses are usually hybrid tea roses. Other low maintenance varieties include Rosa Rugosa (also available from Burpee), 'Carefree Wonder', 'Carefree Beauty', Harrison's Yellow (hybrid Foetida), Persian Yellow (Hybrid Foetida), Rosa hugonis (Father Hugo's Rose), and Hybrid Spinossissimas (plenty). Check local nurseries if you are interested in any of those varieties.

According to the Oxford University rose society, no true black roses exist. Some roses sold as black roses are actually dark red or maroon. The petals of many of these dark red roses tend to sunburn easily. To see that a rose is not truly black, hold it up next to a piece of black construction paper. To make a dark red rose appear blacker, put its stem in water that has black ink in it. I have listed some roses that have been mentioned when black roses are discussed. Next to some of the roses a very subjective description of the color is given. * Black Jade: dark red miniature, * Cardinal de Richelieu: dark purple Gallica, * Chateau de Clos-Vougeot: HT, deep red blossoms, blackish highlights, poor growth, * Francis Dubreuil: Tea rose, * Guinee: very, very dark red, * Mr. Lincoln: HT, dark red, * Nuits de Young purple Moss rose, * Oklahoma: HT, deep crimson, * Souvenir du Dr Jamain: Hybrid Perpetual, dark red/maroon, * Sympathie: deep red climber,* Taboo: Popular dark rose that has deep red flowers with darker edges (it reportedly has nearly black buds), * The Prince: English rose, very, very dark red/purple, * Tuscany Superb: Gallica, deep maroon velvet.

No true blue rose exists, but many lavender roses have been introduced (Sterling Silver and Blue Girl). The reason that a 'true blue' rose may never be produced is that the blue pigment (delphinidin) is not naturally present in roses.

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