Mardi Gras roses were first bred in the United States by Dr Keith Zary, in 2007. Dr Zary went to work for Jackson & Perkins in 1985 and he is responsible for several hundred thousand varieties of roses in the company’s research gardens. He is also credited with 3 award winning roses in various European trials. Mardi Gras was created by crossing the Singin’ in the Rain rose with an unnamed partner. The result of this pairing is a rather gorgeous pink and orange blended floribunda rose.
Mardi Gras roses will produce generous blooms that average about 4 inches or so in diameter and will form either solitary, or in small clusters, with a more classic form of a hybrid tea rose. The blooms will be somewhat full, having around 20 to 25 petals and they will have a strong, musky, sweet fragrance. The rose Mardi Gras is a great rose for cut flower arrangements and it is equally at home in border or hedge gardens. This rose is a vigorous grower and is resistant to rust and mildew, but it is somewhat susceptible to blackspot.
Growing the rose Mardi Gras is pretty straight forward and if you have had any experience in the past growing roses, then you certainly will not find this variety to be difficult at all. One of the biggest decisions you will make when growing any rose is the location you choose for it. Roses need a lot of sun light if you want them to perform at their best so try to select a site that gets a minimum of 6 to 8 hours each day of direct sun, starting in the morning hours.
You also will need to grow your Mardi Gras roses in soil that drains very well. Especially varieties such as this that are susceptible to blackspot. This is really not all that difficult to accomplish as there are a wide variety of garden soils available at your local garden center. If you aren’t a fan of bag soil you can try mixing in some organic compost into your garden soil at a ratio of 1 part compost for every 2 parts soil. This is a great, inexpensive growing mix and I have had good luck with this with roses as well.
Getting your rose Mardi Gras into the ground is not difficult, however it does depend a little bit on how you purchased your rose. If you bought one from a local nursery, then chances are it was already planted for you in a container. These are the easiest roses to get planted. You will want to dig your hole at least twice the diameter of the container and equally as deep. This gives you a lot of room around the roots for your new soil mix, while still keeping the bud union at its original depth.
If you bought your Mardi Gras roses online, then there is a very good chance that it was shipped to you as a bareroot plant. These may look intimidating but they really are not. You should first soak these overnight in a bucket of lukewarm water prior to planting day. Then dig a hole that is as wide as the longest roots, and deep enough to allow you to set the plant on top of a mound of soil while still keeping the bud union no more than an inch below the surface of the soil once planted.
Once you have your rose Mardi Gras set in place on top of the mound, spread the roots out in all directions and then back fill the hole halfway to start, using your soil mix. Take your garden hose and water the loose soil heavily until it flows all around the roots like mud, then you can continue filling the hole the rest of the way. Give the soil one more heavy watering and top off any final settling, but do not tamp down.
If you are in a hot and/or dry region, you may want to mound up some fresh mulch around the exposed canes of the plant to help prevent them from drying out while new growth is forming. After which, you can remove the mound back to ground level.
Taking care of the rose Mardi Gras is easy and once again, any past experience you may have growing roses will certainly come in handy here as well. You will need to make sure that you are providing ample water to your roses without going overboard. For most mild climates this usually amounts to one deep watering every week. If your region is warmer and drier, then you should check your roses every 4 to 5 days just to be on the safe side.
You also should consider giving your Mardi Gras roses a dose of a granular all-purpose fertilizer in the early spring when the leaves begin to bud. This will give them a great jump to the growing season. Like many floribundas, this variety is also a repeat bloomer so it will benefit from a few additional feedings throughout the growing season. I typically give my roses a second feeding right after the first big bloom, and then a third feeding sometime around the middle of the summer to encourage late season blooms. Your rose Mardi Gras will do well on this feeding schedule also.
You should prune your rose Mardi Gras in the very early spring when the weather breaks, but before the leaves have started to open. This makes it much easier to see what you are doing. Start by removing all the dead and discolored wood from the plant, and set your cuttings aside. Next, prune back any overlapping canes so they do not compete for sun light once all the leaves fully open. Lastly, give the remaining canes a cut back by about one third of their current height.
This is also the time to clean up around your Mardi Gras roses and get rid of any old debris from the past growing season. Throw away all of this material in the trash along with your cuttings. Never let dead matter lay around your roses as it can quickly turn into a breeding ground for different pests or diseases. Finish up your pruning by giving your rose Mardi Gras a fresh new layer of mulch to start off the growing season.
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