History of Midnight Blue Roses:
The rose Midnight Blue was first bred in the United States in 2004 by Tom Carruth of Weeks Roses. Many avid rose growers know the name Tom Carruth well as he has won numerous awards for his many creations, not the least of which are the Scentimental rose, the Betty Boop rose, and the Fourth of July rose. The parentage of the Midnight Blue is quite detailed, containing elements of the Sweet Chariot rose, the Blue Nile rose, Stephens' Big Purple rose, and the International Herald Tribune rose.
Midnight Blue roses produce gorgeous purple blooms that have lighter undersides and tend to fade to white in the centers. The blooms are of an average size, just under 3 inches in diameter and they are somewhat full, having as many as 25 petals per bloom. Many gardeners love the rose Midnight Blue because of its strong clove and spice fragrance and you will often find this variety growing near patios and porches, and windows that are often open to allow the breeze to carry in the scent.
Growing Midnight Blue Roses:
The rose Midnight Blue is a very compact shrub rose and will only grow to heights of about 2 to 3 feet tall. Because of its short stature, it lends itself well to a wide variety of landscaping ideas and can even be grown in containers if you really want to keep it close to your living areas. You will need to provide this rose with adequate freeze protection if you grow it in a container and the Midnight Blue will grow well in zones 6 through 9 like most roses.
Midnight Blue roses don't have any special considerations that you need to take into account when choosing a location to grow them in, however they are repeat bloomers so you should try to find them a home that gets ample sun light each day. A minimum of 6 to 8 hours at least, and if you can find them a spot that gets exposure to the morning sun, that's even better as it will help to burn away the morning dew quickly and dry out the leaves. Proper air circulation and soil that drains well is also essential to the health of your rose Midnight Blue.
Planting Midnight Blue Roses:
Planting the rose Midnight Blue is not difficult at all and you can get the job done pretty easily in under an hour with basic hand tools. I always advise new gardeners to take a trip to the local nursery or garden center and pick up a bag of some organic compost. When you dig your hole, mix in the compost with the loose soil at a ratio of 2 parts soil to 1 part compost. Your rose Midnight Blue will absolutely love it and you will be amazed at how quickly plants establish themselves with all that rich organic matter around their roots.
How you plant your rose Midnight Blue depends a lot on where and how you purchased them. If you picked up a plant locally, then it was 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 and equally as deep. This will give you a lot of room around the roots for your new soil mix, while still maintaining the same bud union depth.
If you bought your Midnight Blue roses online, they probably were sent to you as bareroot roses. Many gardeners are intimidated by these but there is no reason to be. Soak the plants overnight in a bucket of lukewarm water and then dig yourself a hole that is as wide as the longest roots on the plant, and deep enough to set the plant on a mound of soil in the center of the hole, and still keep the bud union about and inch or two below the surface.
Set your rose Midnight Blue in place and spread the roots out in all directions and then back fill with your new soil mix about halfway to start. Using the garden hose, thoroughly saturate the soil until it flows around the roots like mud, then back fill the hole the rest of the way. Water it one more time heavily to make sure all the soil has settled and you're done. What you are doing is trying to make sure that no air pockets have formed around the roots.
Caring for Midnight Blue Roses:
Taking care of the rose Midnight Blue is very easy. First, make sure that you give it ample water without overwatering. A good rule of thumb is one deep watering each week. If you live in a hotter or drier climate, you may have to step that up to every 4 to 5 days. A good way to check is to stick your finger into the soil at the base of the plant. If it comes out wet or damp, then you do not need to water.
You can give your Midnight Blue roses a dose of fertilizer in the early spring when the leaves start to form, to give it a quick jump on the season. Since this is a repeat bloomer, I often give these varieties 2 more feedings over the year, with the second one given just before the first big bloom starts to pop, and the third given around midsummer to promote additional late year blooms.
Pruning Midnight Blue Roses:
You should prune your rose Midnight Blue in early spring before the leaves begin to bud. Start by cutting off all the dead wood, as well as any canes that look discolored from disease. Next, prune back any lateral canes that overlap one another so they do not compete for sun light once the leaves open up. Lastly, cut back the remaining main canes about one third of their current height, to promote new growth.
This is also a good time to rake up around the base of your roses to clean up any dead leaves and debris that have collected there from the previous season. Throw these away with the cuttings in the trash. Never let them lay around your plants and never throw them into the compost pile. I always finish up by giving my roses a fresh layer of mulch to start off the new growing season.
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