History of Compassion Roses:
The rose Compassion was first bred in the United Kingdom in 1972 by Harkness & Company. Harkness & Company is based out of Hertfordshire, England and was started by Robert Harkness who died in 1920. Compassion was created by crossing the hybrid tea Prima Ballerina rose with the White Cockade rose. The result is a beautiful climbing rose with both orange and pink shades. Compassion is often grown as a pillar rose and used for cut flowers.
Compassion roses can thrive in zones 5 through 10 and will grow anywhere from 5 feet tall, up to 15 feet tall at full maturity. It will achieve a width of about 5 to 8 feet. The rose Compassion produces nice sized blooms that average about 4 inches in diameter. The petals will have a salmon or orange color towards the center of the bloom and fade out to pink hues at the tips. The blooms will be quite full, having as many as 40 petals each. The blooms will form in small clusters across the plant and are known for their strong fragrances.
Growing Compassion Roses:
The rose Compassion is a repeat bloomer which means if you provide it with adequate care and the proper growing conditions, this rose will bloom in several flushes for you over the course of a single growing season. This rose is also bred to be resistant to diseases so this is a great variety for newer growers, or growers who don't want to be bothered with the more high maintenance types of roses. You should make sure that you choose a location for Compassion that has well drained soil. Roses in general will not grow well if they are constantly damp, and this rose is no different.
Because Compassion roses are repeat bloomers, they will require quite a bit of sun light to give you their best performance. The plant itself might grow just fine in partial shade, but you will certainly notice a reduced amount of blooms. If you do not have a location that gets full sun for much of the day, you may need to rethink your choice of roses. As a general rule of thumb you will need to provide the rose Compassion with a minimum of 6 to 8 hours a day of direct sun light. If you can provide it with the morning sun, to help burn away the dew faster, that's even better.
Planting Compassion Roses:
Planting the rose Compassion is a pretty simple matter and just about anyone can do it with basic hand tools. Before you do any digging however, I highly suggest you take a trip to your local garden center and pick up a bag of some good organic compost. I got turned onto this stuff a few years ago by an older, more experienced grower and I could not believe the difference it made. When you dig your hole, mix in the compost with the loose soil at a ratio of 1 part compost for every 2 parts soil.
Now if you were fortunate enough to pick up your Compassion roses locally, then they were probably already planted in a container and ready to bloom. These are the easiest to plant. Dig yourself a hole that is at least twice the diameter of the container the plant came in, and equally as deep. This gives you ample room around the root ball for your new rich soil mix, but still maintains the current depth of the bud union. This is very important!
If you got your rose Compassion online, then they probably shipped it to you as a bareroot plant. Many growers are intimidated by these but they are not all that difficult. Start by soaking the plant overnight in a bucket of lukewarm water prior to planting day. This will help re-hydrate the roots. Then dig yourself a hole that is as wide as the longest roots, and deep enough to allow you to set the plant atop a mound of soil in the center of the hole, and still keep the bud union about an inch or two below the surface once filled.
Set your rose Compassion on top of the mound at the proper depth, and then spread all the roots out in all directions around the mound. Once in place, back fill the hole about halfway with your new soil mix and then water it heavily until the soil flows around the roots like mud. Then go ahead and back fill the hole the rest of the way and water it once more heavily to fully set the soil. Do not tamp it down however. This method will ensure that no air pockets have formed around the roots.
Caring for Compassion Roses:
Take care of the rose Compassion is a pretty easy task if you follow basic rose bush care guidelines. Roses need a lot of water to do their best, but they are also sensitive to too much water. This might seem like a contradiction but it isn't. A good rule of thumb is to give them one deep watering every week unless you live in an unusually hot or dry region. Then you might need to step it up to every 4 to 5 days.
You can give your Compassion roses a dose of an all-purpose, granular fertilizer in early spring when the leaves begin to open, since this variety is a repeat bloomer, it will benefit greatly from additional feedings throughout the growing season. I will usually give a second feeding right before the first big bloom, and then a third one around the middle of summer to encourage additional blooms.
Pruning Compassion Roses:
Pruning the rose Compassion is not difficult and should be done in early spring before the leaves open up. Start by removing all the dead wood, as well as any canes that are discolored from disease. Next, prune back any overlapping canes as these will compete for sun light once the leaves have opened up. Lastly, pruning your climbing rose lightly for shape, or heavily if you want to keep it growing short.
This is also a good time to rake up around the base of your rose Compassion and clean up all the dead leaves and debris that have collected there from the previous growing season. Throw away this material, along with your cuttings, in the trash. Never let this material lay around the base of your roses as it could become a breeding ground for certain pests and diseases.
I always finish up by giving my roses a fresh layer of mulch to start off the growing season.
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