History of Gourmet Popcorn Roses:
This particular miniature rose was discovered in the United States in 1986 by Luis Desamero, who is a rose breeder out of California. It is actually a sport of the original rose Popcorn which was bred in 1973 by crossing the Katharina Zeimet rose with a Diamond Jewel rose. Where the parent variety tends to have blooms of about a dozen or so petals, the rose Gourmet Popcorn produces the same 1 inch diameter roses with upwards of 25 or more petals, making them look like freshly popped corn!
Gourmet Popcorn roses are extremely vigorous growers that are very resistant to diseases so needless to say these are popular among new and experienced gardeners alike. The white blooms will form in clusters that are just striking and the compact nature of the rose Gourmet Popcorn makes it ideally suited for containers and even hanging baskets. This rose will only reach heights of 18 to 28 inches with a spread of about 18 inches at full maturity. The blooms on this rose have a mild scent that is not unlike the smell of honey.
Growing Gourmet Popcorn Roses:
The rose Gourmet Popcorn is a repeat bloomer and if properly cared for will give you flushes of blooms for much of the growing season. Because of this trait, you will need to find it a home that gets ample sun light for much of the day. A good rule of thumb for roses is a minimum of 6 to 8 hours each day of direct sun light. Anything less and your rose will still survive, but it is unlikely to perform as well. This rose is just not a variety that will do well in shady locations long term.
You also should make sure that you give it a spot that has really good air circulation and soil that drains well. Gourmet Popcorn roses are often grown in containers on patios and porches, which makes it very easy to manage the type of soil that they grow in. It also makes them mobile and you can experiment with different locations to see where they grow best. Even though the rose Gourmet Popcorn is very resistant to diseases, it still can get infected and your best location might be one that gets the full morning sun light so it can burn away all that dew clinging to the leaves of the plant.
Planting Gourmet Popcorn Roses:
Planting the rose Gourmet Popcorn is pretty easy and since this miniature rose only grows so tall, you really have a lot of great options to choose from. Let's assume that you are going to plant it in a container. You will need to either purchase or mix up some potting soil that has good drainage, but still retains the moisture long enough to allow the rose to absorb the nutrients. There are a number of really good mixes on the market today that have additives in them to help retain moisture.
Containers tend to dry out fast so this is an important component. If you are just using some of your garden soil, then I highly suggest you mix in some good organic compost. If you don't make your own, you can easily pick up a bag of this stuff from any garden center or nursery. Mix it with your soil at a ratio of 2 parts soil to 1 part compost. This is also the same mix I would suggest using if you plant your Gourmet Popcorn roses in the ground as well.
If you ordered the rose Gourmet Popcorn online, then you probably received it as a bareroot plant still in dormancy. You will need to soak these in a bucket of lukewarm water overnight to start reviving it prior to planting. I would plant this rose in at least a 4 or 5 gallon container, no less than 11 or 12 inches in diameter and equally as deep. If you are planting it directly into the garden, dig a hole that is as wide as the roots and deep enough to allow you to mound up soil in the center of the hole and still keep the bud union an inch or two below the finished surface.
Once your rose is set in place, back fill the hole or container halfway, then water it heavily to set the soil around the roots before back filling the rest of the way. This will ensure that the roots are completely covered and no air pockets have formed.
Caring for Gourmet Popcorn Roses:
The rose Gourmet Popcorn will grow rapidly and vigorously once planted which is a welcome sight for rose growers all over. If you grow it in a container, you will need to make sure that you provide freeze protection for the plant as containers are more susceptible to cold evenings that your garden is.
I typically will give my roses a dose of an all-purpose granular organic fertilizer in early spring when the leaves begin to open up. I will often give them a second dose of fertilizer a few weeks later when the first big bloom really starts to develop. For repeat blooming varieties such as the Gourmet Popcorn roses, I will also feed them again in mid-summer to help promote more blooms later in the growing season.
Pruning Gourmet Popcorn Roses:
Pruning the rose Gourmet Popcorn should always be done in the early spring before the leaves start to bud. Begin by removing all the dead wood as well as any canes that look diseased or heavily discolored. I also will take this time to rake up around the base of my roses, cleaning up all the leaves and debris that collect there. Dispose of this debris and cuttings in the trash, never let them lay around the base of your roses. The rose Gourmet Popcorn is a hardy variety, but you could expose it to certain pests and diseases if you leave decaying matter lay around.
Next, cut back any lateral canes that overlap one another as these will eventually compete for sun light once the leaves open up. Lastly, trim back the remaining canes by about one third of their current height. I always finish up by giving my roses a generous layer of fresh mulch around the base to help retain some moisture and lay down a barrier against anything that might be present on top of last year's soil.
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