Need suggestions for Florida roses (central east)

cupshaped_roses(6)April 5, 2010

Some friends of mine from Iowa are moving to Port Orange/near Daytona. They so look forward getting away from the cold winters. The roses I planted in their garden did really well - but now I really do not know what to suggest for them in Florida. I know they are not very skilled gardeners (drip irrigation will probably be installed)- but love fragrant roses - as I understand it heat and humidity is a problem in Florida.

I understand that roses on fortuniana rootstock do best and have located a nursery (Nelsons)other suggestions for good vendors in the area/mail order? (can roses grow own-root there)?

So far It seems "Belindas dream" might be a good choice? Is it fragrant?

Please suggest some other very fragrant roses that may do well there - any class is considered (even HTs). Florida is totally out of my leaque ...

(when to plant roses - when to prune? What months?). Other problems I must know about? (when is the season for chili trips)?

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I have heard some not so good things about Nelsons recently. Try Cool Roses. They have some antiques on fortuniana. They are hard to reach. A phone call is best and I am sure that a fairly large order would peak their interest.

Your friends will want to really amend their soil with lots and lots of organics. They should stick with chinas, teas and noisettes.

Also, please send them to the Florida Garden Web Forum. That forum is dynamite and very helpful to those who seek to learn to garden in this unusual place.

They must have the very fragrant Louis Phillipe which is a perfectly carefree rose for Florida. However, many vendors sell Cramoisi, St Davids, White Pearl in the Red Dragons Mouth and others as LP. My stupendous LP came from Antique Rose Emporium.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 9:26PM
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Niels, I'm guessing that you haven't been paying attention, but not to worry, I'll happily tell you the roses that do well here. There isn't much difference between Ocala and Port Orange unless they're going to be right on the beach with all it's salty air and spray. Can't help you in that case.

My favorite Florida rose nursery is Rose Petals Nursery near Gainesville on I-75. (There are a few east-west routes that will take them over to the coast (about an hour's drive) & I-95 to go south to Daytona from I-75 if they want to stop en route to their new home.) Your friends can use the website to view lots of own-root roses that do well here.

My three personal bulletproof favorites are Le Vesuve, a China/tea, gorgeous and healthy, worthy of a very prominent position in the garden, probably will be 6x6 easily; Louis Philippe, a fragrant red China, laughs at blackspot & nematodes and doesn't need pruning except for sizing purposes, can be kept at a 5x5 size (mine is so beautifully & densely foliated now and about to burst into bloom); and Mrs B R Cant, a raspberry pink (most of the time) fragrant tea rose, will get huge (at least 8x8 with time), isn't bothered by blackspot or anything else. There have been recent posts about her including photos.

Any tea or China rose will do well. They all love our heat and humidity. The Souv de la Malmaison clan does well. Noisettes of all shapes and kinds do well (Natchitoches Noisette is a good sized healthy bush). The noisette and tea-noisette climbers love our heat and humidity and will attain grand size. Climbing Maman Cochet is a beautiful must-have if they have something very large for it to hold on to. In my garden Perle d'Or and Clotilde Soupert are doing very well.

I have had problems with Hybrid Musks because I have alkaline/neutral soil, but I am still growing Cornelia and Nur Mahal fairly successfully (they're both young).

Lots of people grow HTs and floribundas here (should be on Fortuniana rootstock due to nematodes in our sandy soil plus Dr Huey rootstock is awful here due to no dormant season and nematodes) but they pretty much all need spraying as do the David Austins. They'll want to get specific advice about them. Some are absolutely hopeless while some tolerate our conditions decently - with spraying.

The drip/micro sprinkler system is a must in my opinion. My roses are doing SO much better since I added my system this past winter. Even though they like the heat and even with a lot of amending with organic matter, our soil gets very warm/hot, and in my garden they struggled without daily water. Drip/micro systems (and hand watering) are not subject to watering restrictions (i.e., twice a week) due to low volume at least in our water district. Daytona may be in our district - St Johns River Water Management District.

The soil here must be amended with lots of organics which also wards off the nematodes. After all, Florida soil in most places is pretty much sand - of one color or another.

Tell your friends to come ahead, the more the merrier. I hope they love Florida. I do!


    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 9:43PM
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Niel, I just remembered a public garden in Fellsmere, Florida which is not far from Port Orange. I believe it's inland from Cocoa Beach, southwest of Orlando. Here's the link thru HelpMeFind. They also have a website of their own. Sorry to say I've never been there, but we've emailed.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 9:54PM
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TY very much for the helpful advice - about nurseries and rose selection.

Louis Philippe made the list (I checked HMF and saw Sherrys nice plant).

It´s not that I have not been paying attention - but most of these roses are miserable in my climate here in Denmark (we had the longest, coldest winter for 14 years (and I never considered them for Iowa).

I know they are not going to want a lot of roses - but gardening has grown on them - and she love roses - even though she needed time to accept anything else than hybrid teas that died in the cold Iowa winters - while others fared much better - even freezing to the ground every year.

They are probably going to order the roses and have them in a pot ghetto first - until I can come over and plant them.

I have heard about the poor sandy soil - and have read about how to ammend the soil and improve it - so unlike my rich loamy black clayish soil over here.

Just looked up Ocala - seems about 60 miles west of Port Orange? The house they bought are not close to the sea - so salt will not be a problem. I hope they do not get eaten by alligators or hurricaned too much. Would be nice to get a chance to meet you Sherry :-).

Besides the roses I choose for them - I know that she will want some hybrid teas ... and I am trying to read up on plants that will thrieve there and preferably be fragrant - like brugmansia in the evening but what do I know - I am very little familiar with plants that thrive in Florida and have a pleasant fragrance. I am used to 5 month of leafless canes and no flowers here and hard pruning ...

Seems like it is important to have some plants that attract the beautiful butterflies too. Wonder if "butterfly bushes can make it there" or if they need a cold dormant period?

Do ornamental grasses do well there ...

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 7:29AM
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I'm thrilled to find this thread! I'm originally from New Smyrna (one town south of Port Orange) and my mother still lives in Port Orange-- she always wants to plant roses but has had abysmal luck (perhaps not fair to blame her luck, when it's probably due to a combination of lack of good information and the big garden centers stocking roses that won't actually thrive in that climate. She has no internet access, can't research this sort of ting easily on her own). So next time I'm back home, I'm going to set her up with some of these that y'all have recommended. And will definitely check out Rose Petals nursery when I go visit my friends in G'ville. Thanks!

cupshapedroses, hope your friends enjoy their new home!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 2:03PM
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In a recent article in TampaBay's Senior Connection, it talks about the Plant City Campus of the University of Florida teaching garden. The article says that this campus in in the process of developing low maintenance roses.

The article goes on to name Mrs B R Cant the top one rated so far.

Mrs B R Cant is a very large tea a maturity and she has lovely, very large and fragrant, raspberry pink blooms. I agree that this is a very good one, if you have the room for it.

I would also add the Duchesse de Brabant to that list. Very prolific, very healthy, large, but not quite as large as Mrs B R Cant here in my no-spray garden in west central Florida.

If your friends are interested in a white rose, I am finding that her sport, Mrs Joseph Schwartz, performs almost as well.

These three mentioned I grow own root in very good soil and in giant pots. I am moving the garden to fortuniana grafted, and in the ground, as I can.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 5:55PM
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Niels, I just gave my sister-in-law who lives a little southeast of Tampa two rose bushes (including planting them) for her birthday. I was astonished to dig into her very black soil that even seemed to hold water for more than two minutes. I rode home seriously thinking of moving to Riverview just to have that soil! I am SO jealous. So who know what you'll find in their new yard.

Everyone (almost no exaggeration) grows Formosa azaleas (Southern Indica) and several other hybrids that bloom here in February and March. Gardenia is very fragrant, blooming in early summer, I believe. Daylilies are wonderful, but find the evergreen & semi-evergreen varieties since the dormants need chill and won't bloom after the first year. Brugmansia is fine though will freeze to the ground, but that may not be a problem in Port Orange - but they come back anyway and quickly grow into a tree again. The GW Florida Forum is a great place to start your research. Butterfly bushes (buddleia?) grows here but is susceptible to nematodes and may have to be replaced in a few years, but they grow quickly. Amend, amend, amend!! We have lots of ornamental grasses that grace our highways and yards. Tropical stuff will do better there than here. Citrus trees are VERY fragrant in late spring if I remember right and carry in the air for great distances around blooming trees. The thing to remember about Florida gardening is that it continues into fall and winter. That's when we can grow the northern plants as annuals that can't take the summer heat. Choose the half-hardy and hardy ones. Dianthus survived temps in the high-teens Fahrenheit in my garden this winter.

I look forward to meeting them!


    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 11:48PM
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Stay away from Nelson's Roses.

Not all antique roses need to be on fortuniana. Most of the china roses will be bulletproof on their own roots. Many of the teas will do fine, as well. Mrs. B.R. Cant is a wonderful tea but allow at least a 10 foot spacing from other plants. 12 feet is even better. Teas as a rule resent much pruning. Slight shaping and deadheading is O.K. However, if I am able to obtain teas on fortuniana from a reliable source, I tend to purchase them. I grow most of them own root though.

Belinda's Dream is a wonderful rose for Florida, and I am fortunate to have a grafted one (fortuniana) in a pot, virus free, that survived my heartache of frozen potted roses this winter. We had an unusually hard winter here in Florida. As soon as I have a spot prepped for her she is getting planted! Some people grow her own root....I haven't tried her own root yet.

I agree that hybrid teas should be on fortuniana. They are disease prone in Florida and need to be sprayed with fungicides on a regular basis. I don't grow them any more as I don't enjoy spraying in our heat and humidity. I do not have to spray the old teas or chinas.

Many of the old noisettes will do fine here own root and many stay healthy without spray, but not all. I have had good luck with Crepuscule, Lamarque, and Brightside Cream. They do best when trained as climbers.

Some polyanthas such as Cecile Brunner and Caldwell Pink will do well own root, and do not need to be sprayed.

Three excellent mail order rose nurseries are Roses Unlimited, The Antique Rose Emporium, and Vintage Gardens. I would guess that Euro Desert Roses is also excellent because Cliff appears to be a great rosarian, and nice person, as well. I haven't ordered from him yet. I will though. He is importing rare roses from Europe.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 12:52AM
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I have visited Country Care Roses and they are very knowledgable about what does well in that part of the country. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit there. You can contact them about your questions.

I have provided a link below to the list the local rose society recommends. They have an annual show at Leu Gardens.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 3:56PM
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We lived just south of Daytona for over 20 years. We hadn't discovered OGRs, but gave up on the HTs that were sold at garden centers because they were too much work--the constant spraying required was a nightmare. Especially in the heat of summer, when you'd come in needing a blood transfusion from all the mosquito bites. We were on a barrier island, so the "soil" was almost pure sand with a thin layer of leaf litter and pine straw on top. Water & nutrients ran right through it. We found gardening with Florida natives to be a very satisfying, enviromentally friendly way to go.

If you want a Florida native that will attract butterflies, get a firebush (Hamelia patens). Wonderful red-orange tube-shaped flowers are great nectar sources for most butterflies, and hummingbirds like them, too. Being a native, it should perform well--there may be a little freeze damage once in a while in Daytona, but it's good to whack the bushes back once in a while, anyway.

Another great Florida native for butterflies is Wild Coffee (Psychotria nervosa). Makes a beautiful rounded bush with shiny leaves, small white flowers, and red berries. Zebra longwing butterflies LOVE it.

Citrus trees act as larval food for Eastern Swallowtails (the caterpillars look like bird poop, and put out scary red antennae-type things when alarmed, but the butterflies are GORGEOUS.) The caterpillars don't eat that much, so just ignore the few chewed on leaves and wait for them to emerge in all their flying glory. And you can eat the citrus, too.

Passionflower vines are larval food for zebra longwings, and have great flowers.

Muhly grass is a lovely ornamental native grass that has pinkish blooms. And some of the spartina grasses are also great native ornamentals.

Green Images in Christmas, Florida is a WONDERFUL native plant nursery that's not too far from Daytona. Worth a trip over there, and they should have a bunch of natives that will perform well and bring in the butterflies.

Depending on your friends' soil, amendments can be tricky. If they're in a real sandy area, the soil is so coarse that it has tons of air & oxygen in it, and organics burn up so fast that you almost can't add them quickly enough to make a difference. Other places are muck (basically swamp bottom) and have much richer soil.

The Florida Native Plant Society is a wonderful organization and a great source of information if you want to "go native". Natives are so much easier to grow, provide food and cover for birds and butterflies, and low maintenance to boot. Water rationing is becoming pretty common in Florida, and planting things that will deal with normal rainfall is a way to have a beautiful garden in spite of water restrictions.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 5:14PM
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A minor correction to what Lucretia said is that the Gulf Fritillary butterfly uses the passionflower vine as a host. They are delightful smallish orange butterflies. (But do not get the red passionflower vines. They look like the blue/purple ones but are bad for the butterflies.) In summer the caterpillars will strip the vine but it leafs out again rapidly - only to be eaten again :)) And butterflies fill the air. The only negative about Passiflora is that it's a monster. Put it on something big & strong away from other plants or it will grab onto them and keep going. It also pops up in the lawn, etc some distance from the mother plant. It is tender but mostly comes back on the frozen wood.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 9:17PM
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I think both the Gulf Fritillary and the Zebra Longwing use the passionflower as a host plant. So it's a twofer!

And the flowers look really neat, too.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 12:26AM
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One suggestion is to try and grow the native pasionflower in a pot, elevated on a stepping stone to try and keep it contained. It is very vigorous, and, as has been mentioned, will send baby plants up all over the place.

However, about a year ago I planted one, let it grow at will, and had such a delightful amount of butterflies, it was absolutely breathtaking. There were butterflies in all stages of growth.

If you have a garden area that is strictly formal, and you plant it in the ground, you may not be happy with the prolific baby passionvines. If you have an informal area for it, I say grow it. It's worth it.


    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 9:49PM
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Thank you very much for your helpful advice - I am grateful that you took the time to reply and enjoyed reading your replies and suggestions! Nothing can ever replace local experience and knowledge - and Florida is so unknown territory for me - so it takes some reading up and solid good advice from people living there.
It is important for me that a garden "speak" to all the senses - and I enjoy fragrant plants. And Gardenias are small houseplants here ... but oh I enjoy their powerful heady fragrance. There are already some citrus trees there - not sure what kind? I also like passionflora - but they are annuals here and do not survive the winters (only if kept indoor in pots).
I did see that it was colder than usual in Florida this year - as most of the East coast experienced - getting several northern artic blasts. Damaging plants that do not go dormant ...
There is an ugly palm tree there and I hope they will replace it with a Canary date palm tree - there are lots of big trees surrounding the property) but also open sunny spaces (I suppose roses still need 6 hours of direct sunlight - to thrieve - even in Florida).
And there are roses in the garden! Lanky ugly neglected akward growing roses... that seems to have never been fertilized or pruned - and/or probably placed in a bad spot/with no soil ammendment.
I know they drove wednesday from Iowa - in trucks, cars, Uhauls with help from family and friends and have started unpacking. I hope they are going to be happy there and that gardening grows on them - if they get some help and choose the right plants and get them started well.

I hope she will realize that there is more to roses than HTs - if they do so poorly there. (Nothing wrong with nice HTs roses - I like them when they do well and some are great! But better choose something that is less fuzzy there. Thanks again for the suggestions.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 4:48PM
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Niels, I really don't think anything here goes dormant. All plants that I know of always have their "sap up" (probably not the right term and I could very well be wrong), but some are deciduous or semi-deciduous and look dormant for a couple of months and some are more tropical, being very tender to freezes or even temps below 40F or 45F like hibiscus. Some will die back to the ground and come up in the spring, and some will just die like an annual. There are several Florida gardening and plant books by Tom MacCubbin, an Orlando Master Gardener, that they might want to get - great for newcomers. Gardenias here are wonderful shrubs that get very large. I had some in Orlando as tall as the house. When we first came down, I was amazed to see all the houseplants I had had up north growing in the yards - like poinsettia.

So glad they arrived safely, and I wish them the best. Stop by when you come to visit!


    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 6:39PM
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