Roses forum→What is "free flowering"?

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PNW (Zone 8b)
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Aerith
Jun 14, 2021 4:10 AM CST
I see "free flowering" and " blooming freely" in rose description every now and then, but I can't find what's the meaning of it. It seems to be a blooming style. But, what rose doesn't bloom freely? I'm so curious.
Name: Mike Stewart
Lower Hudson Valley, New York (Zone 6b)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Photo Contest Winner 2020 Garden Photography Roses Bulbs Peonies
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Mike
Jun 14, 2021 7:47 AM CST
I tend to think of it in two ways, depending on how it is included in the overall description. One way is that it can refer to the frequency of bloom, meaning it blooms continuously or repeatedly throughout the season. Another way is that it can refer to a loose bloom form, which I associate with floribunda, shrub roses, and bushy OGRs, which can have a less "structured" form compared to upright hybrid teas that often (though not always) have a single bud per stem (or just a few).
PNW (Zone 8b)
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Aerith
Jun 14, 2021 7:42 PM CST
Thank you Mike. It looks like an ambiguous term to describe maybe all roses except once bloomer or HT right? Who invented it is a genius! Rolling on the floor laughing
Name: Mike Stewart
Lower Hudson Valley, New York (Zone 6b)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Photo Contest Winner 2020 Garden Photography Roses Bulbs Peonies
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Dog Lover Cat Lover Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: New York
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Mike
Jun 15, 2021 7:43 AM CST
I find similarities between writing descriptions of wines and descriptions of roses. Having written many rose descriptions, I start to run out of adjectives after a while, and though I've seen "free-floweirng" in other descriptions, I've not used it before. I'll have to add it to my lexicon!
Port d'Envaux, France (Zone 9a)
A Darwinian gardener
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JBarstool
Jun 15, 2021 8:02 AM CST
Admittedly, I know more about the English language than about roses - but it seems quite an adequate and precise term to me. Free-flowering as an adjective simply means that the plant produces flowers freely; generously and in profusion. In the same way that you might say a person who is generous with their time gives their time freely.
Or that a person who offers unsolicited language and grammar advice is a jackass. I mean an ass freely. I'll have to work on that bit.
I find myself most amusing.
Name: aka Annie
WA-rural 8a to (Zone 7b)
Sandsock
Jun 15, 2021 11:00 PM CST
Aerith...I listened to a rose grower in BC talk about if you wanted Julia Child to be in full bloom for a garden party, cut off all the buds and blooms 4 weeks before the event, then you would have bush covered in blooms... from that Julia Child is not free-flowering, but more flushes from his description, yet if I leave Julia to her own nature, she always has a few blooms or half the bush.
SW Ohio River Valley (Zone 6b)
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vaporvac
Jun 16, 2021 12:17 AM CST
But I would consider a rose bush covered in blooms free flowering. Some roses just don't give many blooms.
[Last edited by vaporvac - Jun 16, 2021 12:33 PM (+)]
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Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis Irises
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zuzu
Jun 16, 2021 12:50 AM CST

Moderator

Mike said:I tend to think of it in two ways, depending on how it is included in the overall description. One way is that it can refer to the frequency of bloom, meaning it blooms continuously or repeatedly throughout the season. Another way is that it can refer to a loose bloom form, which I associate with floribunda, shrub roses, and bushy OGRs, which can have a less "structured" form compared to upright hybrid teas that often (though not always) have a single bud per stem (or just a few).


I tend to agree with your second definition, Mike, referring to the looser forms, sometimes lax petals, and often clustered blooms of a floribunda or shrub as opposed to the high-centered, exhibition-quality form of most hybrid tea blooms.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member Dog Lover Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry Keeps Horses I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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porkpal
Jun 16, 2021 7:52 AM CST
To me "free flowering" sounds like language in a marketing plan.
Porkpal
Santa Barbara, CA (Zone 9b)
SusaninSB
Jun 16, 2021 9:26 PM CST
To me, "free flowering" means that it blooms a lot, particularly indicating that it repeats frequently, and presumably that there are a good number of blooms per flush. So, to me, that certainly doesn't exclude roses that bloom in flushes. If I get 6 flushes per season from a rose, I'd consider that more free flowering than one I get 4 flushes from. But I deadhead my roses.
Name: Rosemary
Sacramento, CA (Zone 9b)
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reh0622
Jun 17, 2021 1:59 PM CST
The most "floriferous " of the roses I am acquainted with:

Betty Boop—never without blooms from the end of March to the middle of the following Feb., or whenever winter pruning takes place:
Thumb of 2021-06-17/reh0622/13259a
(I had just deadheaded. The blooms retain the petals);

This one I am not sure of the name. On the rose map it is identified as "Cartwheel":



Thumb of 2021-06-17/reh0622/049fbf

This mini always seems to be blooming—Wild Plum.




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