Hot Cocoa roses were first bred in 2002 in the United States by Tom Carruth. They were introduced to market the following year by Weeks Wholesale Roses. Tom is a world renowned rose breeder who is best known for his award-winning roses, Scentimental, Fourth of July, and Betty Boop. The rose Hot Cocoa was created by crossing the rose Livin’ Easy with an offspring of the Playboy and Altissimo roses. The result is a stunning russet colored Floribunda rose that has a nice fruity fragrance.
The blooms on Hot Cocoa roses will be a little smaller in size than you might be used to with most Floribunda roses, averaging about 3 inches or so in diameter. The blooms will be somewhat full however, having as many as 40 petals or so per bloom. As I said before, the blooms will have a very pleasant fruity fragrance that makes this particular variety a joy to grow. The rose Hot Cocoa is a great rose for growing in a container as well, bring color and fragrance to your porch or patio.
Growing the rose Hot Cocoa is not all the difficult for the average grower and if you have any prior experience growing roses, you should not find this one all that challenging. The biggest choice you will have to make is where in your garden you choose to grow your roses. Roses in general need a lot of sun light if you want them to perform at their best and this variety is no exception. Try to choose a location that gets no less than 6 to 8 hours a day of direct sun light. If you can give them more than that is all the better.
You also will want to grow your Hot Cocoa roses in soil that drains well. Roses that sit in damp soil for too long tend to become very unhealthy. I’ve always been a little mystified by this issue because it is among the easiest of the issues to resolve. There are a wide variety of soil mixes available on the commercial market so all you really need to do is choose the one you like the best. You can also pick up a bag of a good organic and mix it into your garden soil at a ratio of 1 part compost for every 2 parts soil. This is a great general planting mix and your rose Hot Cocoa will love it as well.
Getting your rose Hot Cocoa into the ground is not a difficult matter and most growers can get the job done with just a few basic hand tools. How you purchased your roses does determine a little bit how you go about planting them. If you found one at a local nursery, then it was probably already established in a container and ready to bloom. These are the easiest to plant. You should dig your hole at least twice the diameter of the container it came in and equally as deep. This gives you plenty of room around the roots for your soil mix while keeping the bud union at its current depth.
If you picked up your Hot Cocoa roses online, then there is a good chance that they shipped them to you as bareroot plants. This is very common. You should first soak these in a bucket of room temperature water prior to planting day. Then dig your hole as wide as the longest roots on the plants and deep enough to allow you to set the plant on top of a mound of soil, while keeping the bud union no more than an inch or so below the surface of the soil.
Once you have your rose Hot Cocoa set in place on top of the mound, spread the roots out in all directions and then back fill the hole only halfway to start, using your preferred soil mix. Take the garden hose and water the loose soil heavily until it flows 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 be sure to top off any final settling that might occur. Never tamp down the soil! This method should ensure that you don’t get air pockets around the roots of the plant.
If your climate is hot or dry, you may want to mound up some fresh mulch around the exposed canes of the plant, just until you see new growth forming. This will prevent the canes from drying out and you can then remove the mound to ground level.
Taking care of the rose Hot Cocoa is not at all difficult, and once again if you have any prior experience growing roses, then that will surely come in handy here as well. You will need to make sure that you are providing your roses with enough water, while being careful not to overdo it. For most climates this amounts to about one deep watering per week. If you are in a very dry region, then you should check on your roses ever 4 to 5 days just to be sure.
You also should consider giving your Hot Cocoa roses a dose of a good all-purpose granular fertilizer in the early spring when the leaves begin to open up. This will give your roses a great jump on the season. Like most Foribunda roses, this variety is also a repeat bloomer, so it will benefit nicely from a few additional feedings over the course of the growing season. I will typically give my roses their second feeding immediately following the first big bloom, and then a third feeding sometime around the middle of the summer, to encourage late season flushes. Your rose Hot Cocoa will do well on this schedule also.
You should prune your rose Hot Cocoa in the very early spring when the weather starts to break, but before the leaves have opened up. This makes it much easier on you and the plant. Start by removing all the dead and discolored wood from the plant and set your cuttings aside. Next, prune back any overlapping canes as these will eventually compete for sun light once the leaves are fully opened. Lastly, give the remaining canes a cut back by about one third of their current height to promote new growth.
This is also the time to clean up around the base of your Hot Cocoa roses and get rid of all the dead leaves and debris that tend to collect there year to year. Throw all of this material away in the trash along with your cuttings. Finish up your pruning by giving your rose Hot Cocoa a fresh new layer of mulch to start off the growing season.
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