History of John F Kennedy Roses:
The hybrid tea rose John F Kennedy was first bred in 1965 in the United States by Eugene Boerner. “Papa Floribunda”, as he was often called, was a german born rose breeder who became the Director of Research for Jackson & Perkins, and upon his death he left behind quite the legacy of rose breeding and research. This particular variety was created by crossing the rose White Queen with an unknown seedling.
John F Kennedy roses are your standard white hybrid tea roses. The blooms on this variety will get quite large and reach as big as 5.5 inches in diameter. They will have a strong fragrance for a white rose and the blooms will be big and full with as many as 40 or more petals each. The plant itself will grow upwards of about 3 to 5 feet tall and it will have a habit similar to most hybrid teas that you are used to. The rose John F Kennedy is a great choice if you want a strong smelling white rose for cut flowers.
Growing John F Kennedy Roses:
Growing the rose John F Kennedy is not terribly difficult and if you already have some experience growing roses, you will be pleased to find out that your established practices will do well with this variety as well. You will want to make sure that you grow your roses in soil that drains well. Too much moisture around the roots for long periods of time will make the plant unhealthy and susceptible to root rot and various diseases.
One of the biggest decisions that you will make in the life of your John F Kennedy roses is where you grow them. Roses require a lot of sun light if you want them to perform at their best and this variety is no different. At a minimum you should be providing your roses with at least 6 to 8 hours each day or direct sun light. If you can give them more then that is all the better. It is also preferable if you can grow your rose John F Kennedy in a spot that gets good air circulation through your garden. This helps keep the leaves dry and healthy!
Planting John F Kennedy Roses:
Getting the rose John F Kennedy planted into the ground is a rather simple matter and just about anyone can get the job done with a few basic hand tools and a little bit of ambition. How you go about planting them however does depend a bit on how you purchased them. If you bought your rose from a local nursery, then they were probably already planted in a container and ready to bloom. These are the easiest to plant. Dig yourself a hole that is twice the diameter of the container and equally as deep. This will keep the bud union at the same depth it was originally planted, which is very important.
If you bought you John F Kennedy roses from an online vendor, then there is a good chance they were shipped to you as bareroot roses, which is pretty common. You should first soak these overnight in a bucket of room temperature water prior to planting day, to rehydrate the roots. Then dig your hole as wide as the longest roots, and deep enough to allow you to set the plant atop a mound of soil and still keep the bud union no more than an inch or two below the surface.
Once you have your rose John F Kennedy set in place, spread the roots out in all directions around the mound and then back fill the hole halfway to start, using your soil mix. Take the garden hose and water the loose soil heavily until it flows around the roots like mud. You can then back fill the hole the rest of the way and give it one more heavy watering. Be sure to top off any final settling that may occur. This method should ensure that no air pockets have formed around the roots.
You also may want to mound up some fresh soil around the exposed canes until new growth appears. This will help prevent the canes from drying out.
Caring for John F Kennedy Roses:
Taking care of the rose John F Kennedy is pretty straight forward and like I said earlier, you can follow the same basic rose care guidelines that you are already used to. You will need to make sure that you are providing ample water to your roses, without overdoing it. For most climates one deep watering per week is usually enough. If you live in a hot or dry climate, you may need to check them every couple of days.
You also should give you John F Kennedy roses a dose of a good all-purpose granular fertilizer in the early spring when the leaves begin to form. This will give your roses a good start to the season. Since this is repeat bloomer, it will benefit greatly from a few additional feedings over the course of the growing season. I will usually give my roses a second dose right after the first big bloom, and then a third dose sometime around the middle of the summer to encourage additional flushes. Your rose John F Kennedy will do well on this schedule also.
Pruning John F Kennedy Roses:
You should always prune your rose John F Kennedy in the early spring before the leaves begin to form. This will make it much easier to see what you are doing. Start by removing all the dead and discolored canes from the plant and set these aside. Next, prune back any lateral canes that overlap one another as these will ultimately compete for sun light once the leaves fully open. Lastly, cut back the remaining canes by one third of their current height to promote new growth.
This is also the time to clean up around the base of your John F Kennedy roses and get rid of all the dead leaves and debris that may have collected there from the previous growing season. Throw all of this material away in the trash, along with your cuttings. Never let decaying matter lay around your roses as they can quickly turn into breeding grounds for various pests and diseases. Finish up your pruning by giving your rose John F Kennedy a fresh new layer of mulch to start off the growing season.
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