Roses originated in Asia Minor and have been in cultivation for more than 5,000 years.
Romans believed white Roses grew where the tears of Venus fell, as she mourned the loss of her beloved Adonis. Her son, Cupid, stung by a bee, shot arrows in the Rose garden and the sting of the arrows became the thorns. Venus pricked her foot on a thorn and the droplets of blood dyed the Roses red.
There are over 35 varieties of differing colours and several distinct bloom shapes. All Rose varieties are not created equal: some last longer than others, in fact, the vase life of cut Roses can vary anywhere from 4-20 days and some varieties can stay in the bud stage and never open. Get to know your Rose varieties and purchase the varieties which best suit your needs. The following types are most commonly found in the cut flower market:
HYBRID TEAS – THE STANDARD ROSE:
One bloom per stem with sizes ranging 6–10 cm in bloom height. Hybrid Tea Roses generally have the longest cycle times. Roses in this category can bloom on stems as long as 80-100 cm.
Roses in this category are smaller than the Hybrid Teas and usually, but not necessarily, have flat-topped blooms. Intermediate Roses usually grow to a maximum length of 40-50 cm and are generally more productive, as well as having a shorter growing cycle.
These are Roses that have 3-6 small blooms per stem, usually less than 2.5-6cm size. These Roses mature on stem lengths of 20-60 cm. The norm is 40-50 cm. The centre bud is pinched during production so the remaining buds mature at approximately the same time. Spray Roses have fast growing cycles and are generally very productive plants.
This category is characterized by small-sized flowers, the bloom size maximum is 2.5– 6cm that mature on stem lengths of 20-30 cm. Roses in this category generally have the fastest growing cycles and the highest productivity per plant. The blooms of Sweetheart Roses are smaller than both Hybrid Teas and Intermediates.
(There are of course also climbing roses and ground cover roses, as they are not used as cut flowers in the florist trade I haven’t highlighted them here.)
Rose varieties are generally classified into 4 major categories from the most expensive to the most affordable by the flower farms. These are listed as categories AA, A, B and C. These category classifications are generally based on the productivity of each variety, market demand for new varieties, quantities available in production and vase life.
Roses are harvested at 4 different “cut stages” catering to different market demands.
• “Classic” Roses use the traditional “tighter” Rose cut stage and are harvested with a cut point that ranges from 2.5-3.0cm depending on the specific variety.
• “Sierraselect” Roses are produced with a more “open cut” by harvesting with a cut stage that ranges from 3.0-3.5cm. This technique produces stronger stems, larger flowers and ensures maximum opening and vase life.
• “Premium” Roses are harvested at a cut stage of 3.5-4.0cm, the “most open” possible cut stage. This process is reserved for a very specific, large headed variety selection and these Roses are largely shipped to the Russian market.
Tomorrows post will be about the latest variety of Rose that has always been popular in our gardens and in now also available as a fresh cut flower from your local florist, The Garden Rose.