History of China Doll Roses:
The rose China Doll was first created back in 1946 by rose breeder Dr. Walter E. Lammerts out of Los Angeles, California. Dr. Lammerts was a very successful breeder in the 40's and 50's. The China Doll was created by crossing the Mrs. Dudley Fulton rose with the Tom Thumb miniature rose. The result was a floribunda rose that maintained a short, compact stature, only growing about 1 foot, to 3 feet tall at full maturity.
China Doll roses produce small pink blooms throughout much of the growing season, averaging about an inch and a half in diameter and containing upwards of 25 petals each. They will often carry a mild fragrance, but nothing too overpowering. Their short size makes them ideally suited for container growing on porches and patios, and growers will often use these as edges and borders for small and larger landscaping ideas as well. The rose China Doll is not overly hardy, however it will do fine in zones 6 and warmer, however if you grow them in containers, you will need to provide freeze protection for the plant and roots.
Growing China Doll Roses:
The rose China Doll is considered a perpetual bloomer, meaning it will usually bloom continuously from the first big bloom, all the way through the growing season. Generally speaking, these types of roses require a lot of sun light in order to provide you with the best possible blooms they can produce. You can often grow many varieties in somewhat shady locations; however they rarely will perform as well as they would in full sun. a good rule of thumb for most types of roses is to give them at least 6 to 8 hours each day of direct sun light.
The morning sun light is almost always preferable as well as it will help to quickly dry out the morning dew and keep the leaves strong and healthy. China Doll roses also need to be grown in soil that drains well, but provides adequate moisture retention. You need to make sure that your roses have time to absorb the nutrients, however you do not want them sitting in damp soil for long periods of time. If you can provide a location for the rose China Doll that has good air circulation, that will go a long way towards keeping the plant healthy as well.
Planting China Doll Roses:
Planting the rose China Doll is actually pretty each and not near as intimidating as many gardeners believe. The first thing you should do is make sure you have some rich compost on hand before you start digging. If you do not make your own, then take a trip to the local garden center and pick up a bag. This stuff is great and it will really help your roses establish quickly. When you dig the hole, mix in the compost at a ratio of 2 parts soil to 1 part compost.
How you go about planting your China Doll roses depends a bit on where you got them from. Local nurseries will just about always sell them already planted and established in containers. These are the easiest ones to get planted. Dig yourself a hole that is at least twice the diameter of the container the rose came in, and equally as deep. This will give you a lot of room around the root ball of your rose China Doll for your new rich soil mix, but it will also keep the bud union at the same depth it was originally planted. This is important!
Now if you went online to purchase your China Doll roses, they most likely shipped the plant to you as a bareroot plant, and also when it was suitable for planting in your area. These sometimes look intimidating, but they are real easy to get into the ground. You should first soak the plant overnight prior to planting day, in a bucket of lukewarm water to re-hydrate the roots.
Dig yourself a hole that is as wide as the longest roots, and deep enough so that you can set your rose China Doll on a mound of soil in the center of the hole, and spread all the roots out down the sides of the mound. The bud union should be no more than an inch or two below the surface of the soil once back filled.
Back fill the hole halfway to start using your new soil mix, then take the garden hose and water the loose soil heavily until it flows around the roots like mud. Go ahead and back fill the hole the rest of the way and water it once more thoroughly to fully settle the soil. This should ensure that no air pockets have formed around the roots of your rose China Doll.
Caring for China Doll Roses:
Taking care of the rose China Doll is a pretty straight forward proposition. You will need to make sure that your roses get adequate water, however you do not want to overdo it and keep them soaked for long periods of time. A good rule of thumb is one deep watering each week unless you live in an unusually hot and dry region. If you are unsure, stick your finger into the soil at the base of the plant. If it comes out wet, they do not need watered yet.
You can also give your roses a dose of fertilizer in early spring when the leaves start to bud. This gives them a strong start to the growing season. Since the rose China Doll is a continuous bloomer, it will benefit from additional feedings over the course of the growing season. I will usually give a second feeding right before the first big bloom opens up, and then a third around mid summer to promote more late season blooms.
Pruning China Doll Roses:
You should always prune the China Doll in early spring before the leaves start to form. Start by removing all the dead wood and any canes that look overly discolored. Next, start trimming back any lateral canes that overlap one another as the leaves will eventually compete for sun light once they open. Lastly, cut back any remaining 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. Never let dead leaves and debris, or any cuttings lay around as these are breeding grounds for some pests and diseases. Always dispose of this material in the trash, never the compost pile. Finish up your pruning by giving your roses a fresh layer of mulch for the new growing season.
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