History of American Beauty Roses:
American Beauty is a hybrid perpetual that has a bit of a murky history. While it was introduced into the US in 1886 under the name it currently carries, it is believed that this rose is really the French Mme Ferdinand Jamain, bred in 1875 by Henri Ledechaux. There are several theories on how the American Beauty came to be. It is well known that the plant was collected and propagated from the garden of George Bancroft, an American Historian.
From there the breeder and grower George Field and Bros sold American Beauty Roses commercially. It is believed that George Bancroft's daughter purchased the rose as a seedling from a Baltimore nursery, and planted it in her father's garden. It wasn't until years later, after it had already been commercially named American Beauty, that the true identity of this plant was identified. This hybrid perpetual produces beautiful blooms of deep pink that carry with them a very strong fragrance that is sure to impress even the most experienced rose growers. The American Beauty is not the hardiest of roses available, so novice grower may find this one to be tougher to cultivate.
Growing American Beauty Roses:
As I said before, growing the American Beauty is not one of the easier plants you could choose. While it makes for great cut flowers and it can bring a wonderful fragrance to any space you give it, you just have to be prepared for a rose that is fairly high maintenance compared to others. For starters, it cannot tolerate some of the colder climates as many roses do. It is only hardy in zones 6 or warmer. American Beauty roses are also susceptible to ruse, mildew, and blackspot, so don't be surprised if yours comes down with one of these ailments also.
On the plus side, the American Beauty produces large cupped blooms that are very full and can contain up to 50 petals each. The plant in shrub form will only grow 6 to 7 feet tall with about a 3 foot spread. However there is a climbing American Beauty as well that can grow upwards of 12 to 15 feet tall and is a great choice for around a pillar or trellis. One can certainly grow the American Beauty with overwhelming success, but you will really have to practice excellent cultivation techniques to get this rose to truly perform at its best.
Site Selection for American Beauty Roses:
Selecting a site for your American Beauty is the same as you would any other variety of rose. I would suggest however that due to its increased susceptibility to certain diseases, you take a few extra moments to make sure the location you have in mind is ideally suited. For starters, one of the most important factors you should consider is how well the site drains water and what kind of air circulation it gets. Blackspot and mildew generally strike roses that stay unusually wet for longer periods of time.
If you water your plants with a hose from the top down, that could be a contributing factor. If your region tends to get a lot of rainfall and your roses do not get to dry out as quickly or as often as they should, that could be another factor. When watering roses, especially ones susceptible to diseases, you should always water the base of the plants as much as possible to keep add moisture off the leaves. If this is not possible, then try to limit your waterings to early mornings, so that the plant has all day to dry out in the hot sun. if the location you planted your roses in does not drain well, this is also bad for American Beauty roses especially and you should consider a different home for them.
Planting American Beauty Roses:
Planting the American Beauty is fairly easy and straight forward and if you follow a few basic tips you can give your roses an excellent start to their new life in your garden. Before you start planting, one suggestion is to pick up a bag of organic compost from your local garden center. When you dig the hole for your American Beauty roses, place the freshly dug soil into a wheel barrow and mix it 2 to 1 with the organic compost. This will give you an excellent soil for backfilling.
Now if you purchased your American Beauty from a local nursery, then it most likely came in a nursery pot around the 2 gallon size. Planting these is simple. I usually dig my holes about twice the diameter of the container that the plant comes in as this gives a lot of room for my new soil mix. You will need to dig the hole deep enough so that the surface of the container soil will be level with the surrounding soil. This will maintain the bud union's current depth once planted.
If you ordered your American Beauty online, then you probably received it as a bareroot plant and the planting is a little more in depth. You will first need to dig your hole wide enough to accommodate the roots without having to force them into the hole. You also should dig it deep enough so that you can mound up soil in the center, and set the bud union about an inch or two below the surface of the soil.
The reason you mound up the soil in the center of the hole is to allow the roots to lay naturally at a downward angle. This is how they would grow naturally and is just good practice.
Feeding American Beauty Roses:
Whereas most roses will do just fine with a single fertilizing in the early Spring, the American Beauty is a little more high maintenance than that. While the plant will survive, it may not perform well for you if you do not give it a more robust feeding schedule. You can give it a second feeding just as the first big bloom begins to develop, along with a third feeding mid-summer, around the middle of July. Just make sure that you allow at least 4 weeks in between feedings.
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