History of Firecracker Roses:
The rose Firecracker was bred in 1993 in the United States by Ping Lim and his mentor Jerry Twomey. It was later introduced commercially in 2004 by Bailey Nurseries. Ping Lim was born in Laos and got his education in Taiwan. He spent years studying the art of breeding roses and eventually became Bailey Nurseries' Director of rose research. Among his many creations are the Love and Peace rose, the DayDream rose, and the Rainbow Sorbet rose, all of which have earned him awards for his amazing work. The Firecracker was bred by crossing a Carefree Wonder rose with the Chuckles rose.
Firecracker roses are compact shrub roses that only grow to a height of about 2 feet tall, making them excellent candidates for small rose gardens and even container growing on your porch or patio. The rose Firecracker produces solitary blooms that average about 3 inches or so in diameter with a low petal count of 8 to 10 per bloom. The blooms are a bright red that tends to stay to the lighter side of the spectrum, bordering on a dark pink. The Firecracker is a very hardy rose and does well in zones 4 through 7 and it also has an strong resistance to diseases.
Growing Firecracker Roses:
The rose Firecracker is a repeat bloomer, but it tends to expend much of its energy on the first big bloom of the season, which could happen in late spring or early summer depending on your climate. It will continue to produce scattered blooms throughout the rest of the season. The growing conditions for Firecracker roses are much the same as other roses. It will need a lot of sun light and does not do quite as well in shady locations.
You will also want to make sure that the location you plant your rose Firecracker in has good air circulation and soil that drains well. Even though this variety is resistant to diseases, it can still become infected, especially if the growing conditions are not good. In my experience, roses tend to do best when planted in spots that get that full morning sun that can help burn away the dew that collects on the leaves. Combine this with the proper soil type and good air circulation; you should have a great location to offer your roses.
Planting Firecracker Roses:
Planting your rose Firecracker is pretty straight forward. Before I do any digging, I always take a trip to the local hardware store and make sure that I have a bag of a good organic compost handy. When you dig up the soil, mix this compost in at a ratio of 1 part compost for every 2 parts soil. This really gives roses and other plants a great boost when you first plant them. Give it a try and see if you don't agree.
If you bought your Firecracker roses locally, then they probably came in a container already established and most likely blooming. These are real easy to plant. Dig yourself a hole at least twice the diameter of the container and just as deep. Then back fill with your new soil mix. This gives you ample room for the nutrient rich soil, while still keeping the bud union at the same depth it was in the container.
If you ordered your rose Firecracker online, then it probably came as a bareroot plant as these are easiest to ship. The plant will still be dormant so you should soak it in a bucket of lukewarm water overnight before planting.
Dig yourself a hole that is as wide as the longest roots, and deep enough to allow you to mound up some soil in the center of the hole and still keep the bud union about an inch or two below the surface once the hole is filled. Set your rose on top of the mound of soil and spread the roots out in all directions, angling them down the sides of the mound.
Once you have the bud union at the proper depth, back fill the hole with your soil mix about halfway to start and then water it heavily until it is almost like mud. Then go ahead and back fill the rest of the way and water it heavily again to set the soil. This will ensure that there are no air pockets around the roots and they are completely covered.
I usually finish up by giving my roses a generous layer of fresh mulch.
Caring for Firecracker Roses:
Once your rose Firecracker is in the ground, taking good care of it is pretty simple and you can follow pretty standard caring instructions for roses in general. Make sure that you give your roses one deep watering every week, or maybe every 4 to 5 days if you live in a hotter or drier region.
I always give my roses a dose of a granular organic fertilizer every spring when the leaves begin to open and your Firecracker roses will do well with this practice too. For repeat bloomers, I will often give them a second feeding just as the first big bloom starts to develop, and one more around mid-summer to help encourage more flushes.
Pruning Firecracker Roses:
Pruning the rose Firecracker is very easy, especially on such a compact rose bush as this one. Begin by removing all the dead wood as well as any canes that look diseased or discolored. I always use this opportunity to clean up around the base of my roses as well. Never leave dead leaves and debris collect around the base of your roses as these could lead to certain pests and diseases infecting your plant.
After you've done that, start cutting back any overlapping lateral canes on your rose Firecracker because once the leaves open up, these overlaps could compete with one another for sun light. Lastly, trim back the remaining canes by about one third of their current height, or just give it a light pruning for shape. That's all there is to it!
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