History of the Meaning of a Yellow Rose:
Yellow roses were first found during the 18th century around parts of the Middle East where they were just growing wild. While they do not have the long and rich history of their red, white, and pink cousins, yellow roses are no less significant in their symbolism. Prior to their discovery, most of the roses that were in cultivation at the time were overwhelmingly pink, or some shade thereof.
Once yellow roses were discovered, it didn't take long for growers around the world to catch on and start breeding these varieties as well. Their popularity increased exponentially, as did the meaning of a yellow rose. In the beginning, yellow roses did not have much of a fragrance to speak of, if any at all, and that was one of the very first traits that early breeders focused on adding to these gorgeous flowers. As rose breeding techniques improved over the years, breeders were eventually able to create new varieties of yellow roses that shared many of the fragrances that made other roses so desirable.
The Early Meaning of a Yellow Rose:
The meaning of a yellow rose has evolved greatly over the years since its discovery, and in early times giving someone yellow roses meant a far different thing that it does today. The color yellow has always had a deep association to the sun for many different societies. It also carried with it a positive kind of symbolism since the sun is essential to life. For the Eastern civilizations, they would often attribute the feelings of power, wisdom, and joy to the color yellow, and yellow roses were often given to powerful leaders.
In European cultures however, the meaning of a yellow rose quite often carried much more negative connotations. Yellow roses were frequently given to symbolize a dying love, or jealously among suitors. Not surprisingly however as the years progressed, yellow roses found themselves slowly being associated with more positive feelings across all cultures. They moved from symbolizing jealously and envy to the more traditional overtones of joy and friendship. Today, yellow roses are frequently given among friends and there are even subsets to this group of roses. For instance, if you gave a close friend yellow roses with red edges, they might be inclined to think your friendship might potentially lead to a romantic relationship. The meaning of a yellow rose has certainly evolved over the years.
Growing Yellow Roses:
While the meaning of a yellow rose might be interpreted differently from one culture to the next, how you grow them is far more universal. Yellow roses typically need a lot of sun light to produce their blooms, so you should try to plant them in a location where they can receive ample sun light. At a minimum you should try to get them at least 6 to 8 hours each day of direct sun light.
It is also preferable to place them in a location that gets the morning sun light, as this will help to burn away the dew much faster and keep the leaves as dry as possible. Roses also are not generally tolerant of damp growing conditions, especially standing water. You will want to make sure that you provide them with a location where the soil drains well. If the spot you have in mind tends to stay damp for long periods of time, it is probably not well suited to growing roses. Proper air circulation is also a great bonus when growing roses as the air movement will go a long way towards keeping the leaves of your roses dry.
Caring for Yellow Roses:
Taking care of your yellow roses is pretty easy and the biggest thing you need to be concerned about is managing the moisture level of your roses. A good rule of thumb is to give your roses one deep watering every week. If you live in a region that is unusually hot or dry, then you might need to step that up to every 4 or 5 days. If you are unsure if it's time to water or not, stick your finger into the soil at the base of your plant. If it comes out wet, then you don't need to water yet.
You can also feed your yellow roses in the early spring when the leaves start to form with an all-purpose granular fertilizer. I've learned from past experience to stay away from the liquid chemical fertilizers because they can easily burn some varieties of roses if not properly applied. For many of the repeat blooming varieties, you can benefit from giving them additional feedings throughout the season. I will usually give the second feeding right before the first big bloom pops, and a third feeding sometime around midsummer to help encourage additional blooms.
Pruning Yellow Roses:
Most varieties of yellow roses should be pruned in the early spring before the leaves open up so you can easily see what you are doing. Regardless of the type of rose, you should always start off by removing all the dead wood as well as any canes that are discolored from disease. Next, prune away overlapping canes as these will eventually compete for sun light if they are allowed to grow unchecked.
The last step depends a little on the type of rose you are growing. For shrub and bush type roses, you generally want to just cut them back about one third of their current height to promote new growth. For climbing and rambling roses, these you will prune more for shape than anything else.
This is also a great time to rake up around the base of your roses and clean up any dead leaves and debris that may have collected from the last growing season. Always throw away this debris, along with the cuttings, away in the trash. Never throw this material into the compost pile as many spores can survive the cold winter months to re-infect your plants the following year.
I always finish up my pruning by giving my roses a fresh layer of mulch to start off the season.
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