History of Polka Roses:
The rose Polka was first bred in France by Jacques Mouchotte. Mouchotte was the Research Director for Meilland starting in 1978 and among his many achievements, he is most noted for the Carefree Delight & Carefree Wonder roses, as well as the Debut rose and the Bonica rose. Polka was created by using a seed plant from the Golden Showers and Meipaisar roses, crossed with a Lichtkonigin Lucia rose. The result as you see is a beautifully colored apricot rose.
Polka roses can be grown as a short rose as small as 4 feet tall, or it can be left to reach its full height of anywhere up to 12 feet tall. The blooms on the rose Polka are gigantic and will average about 6 inches in diameter at full maturity. The blooms will have apricot colored petals that tend to be lighter at the edges, and they will usually have a strong, classic rose fragrance. This rose is considered very hardy and will thrive in zones 5 and warmer. Polka has been proven to be a disease resistant rose making it a favorite among growers around the world.
Growing Polka Roses:
Growing the rose Polka is pretty easy and straight forward. This rose is a repeat bloomer which means if you want to get the most out of the blooms, you should try to find it a location where it will receive a minimum of 6 to 8 hours each day of direct sun light. If you can provide it with more, then all the better. I know my roses always seem to do best when planted in front of my house where they get exposure to the early morning sun light.
This exposure helps to dry out the morning dew early on in the day, which keeps the leaves of my roses drier and healthier than those that get only the afternoon and evening sun light. Polka roses should also be planted in a location where the soil drains well. Roses typically will under-perform if they are grown in soil that stays damp for long periods of time. You should also try to find a spot in your garden where the rose Polka is not overly sheltered from the air currents. Moving air will dry up excess moisture from the leaves.
Planting Polka Roses:
Planting the rose Polka is an easy task and you should have no trouble getting the job done with a few simple hand tools that you probably already own. The first thing I always suggest to growers is before they dig any holes in their gardens, take a trip to the local garden center and buy some organic compost (if you don't already make your own). When you dig the hole, mix the compost in with the loose soil at a ratio of 1 part compost for every 2 parts soil. Your plants and roses will absolutely love it.
How you go about planting your Polka roses depends a little on where you purchased them from. If you were lucky enough to find them locally then they were probably already planted in containers. These are very easy to get into the ground. Dig the hole at least twice the diameter of the container, and equally as deep. This allows plenty of room around the roots of your rose Polka for your new soil mix, while keeping the bud union at its current depth. This is very important!
On the other hand, if you bought your rose Polka online, it was most likely shipped to you as a bareroot plant. These are not difficult to plant, however you should soak the plant overnight in a bucket of lukewarm water, prior to planting day. This will help rehydrate the roots. Dig the hole as wide as the longest roots on the plant, and deep enough to allow you to set the plant atop a mound of soil while still keeping the bud union an inch or two below the surface of the soil.
Once you have your rose Polka set in place, spread the roots out in all directions around the mound and then back fill the hole only halfway to start, using your new soil mix. Take the garden hose and water the soil heavily, until it flows around the roots like mud. Then go ahead and back fill the hole the rest of the way and give it one more heavy watering. Make sure you top off any final settling that may have occurred. You should also mound up some mulch around the exposed canes until new growth starts to form, then you can remove the mound. This helps prevent the canes from drying out.
Caring for Polka Roses:
Taking care of the rose Polka is very easy if you follow basic rose care maintenance. You will need to make sure that your roses get ample water, but be very careful that you do not over water them. In most climates roses will do quite nicely if you give them one deep watering each week.
You should give your Polka roses a dose of a good all-purpose granular fertilizer in early spring when the leaves start to bud. Since this is a repeat blooming variety, you can give it additional feedings throughout the year to encourage more blooms. I will usually give my roses a second feeding just before the first big bloom, and then a third feeding sometime around mid summer to encourage late season blooms.
Pruning Polka Roses:
You should always prune the rose Polka in early spring before the leaves start to open up. Begin by removing all the dead wood from the plant, along with any canes that look discolored from disease. Next, prune back any overlapping laterals canes because these will inevitably compete for sun light once the leaves fully open. Lastly, you can give your climbing roses a light pruning for shape, and to encourage new growth.
This is also a great time to rake up the dead leaves and debris from around the base of your roses. Throw away this material in the trash along with your cuttings. Never let decaying matter lay around the base of your roses as it can quickly become a breeding ground for various pests and diseases. I always finish up my pruning by giving my roses a nice fresh layer of mulch to start off the new growing season.
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