Need suggestions: Firefighter & Francis Meilland

sara_ann-z6bokFebruary 8, 2014

I planted one each of Francis Meilland and Firefighter last April. They are both beautiful roses, but didn't do much at all for me as far as blooming. Francis Meilland gave me one gorgeous rose, Firefighter gave me two. The bushes themselves are puny looking too. I have them planted in the same bed. I also have a floribunda planted in the same bed that bloomed almost continuously all season, it was its third season though. Most of my roses are good bloomers, so I'm pretty sure it's nothing I've done wrong. I can deal with sparse blooming, just a few roses per flush, but just three between them during the whole season isn't worth it. They are both such beautiful and fragrant roses I really am pulling for them to do better. Does it just take these two awhile to get established or could it be that they would do better in another area? I believe they are getting plenty of sunlight, mostly afternoon.

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Sara Ann,
I've grown Firefighter for several years now. It's my best red (granted, I only grow a handful of reds, but it is my best). Flushes aren't huge, but a couple of dozen at a time and very quick to repeat for me. Mine is in all day full sun, so the petal edges will burn a bit after a few days, but not too bad. It's constantly throwing new basal canes...that (and blackspot) have been my only issues with it...the new canes grow long quicker than they get strong and frequently break off at the ground during our windy springs if I don't keep them cut back short or don't support them...but several more pop up to replace the ones that broke off. Mine was a pretty good bloomer from the start, but I bought it as a big 5 gallon potted rose grafted on Dr. Huey. If yours is own root or was planted as a bare root, I would definitely give it a little more time to see if it improves.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 11:26AM
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Sara Ann,

I planted FM last year and FF two years ago. Both are pretty good bloomers, Here's how FM looked after 4 months. FF, being more established was bigger and it's kept in partial shade and still does well. Of course, growing conditions in the desert are unique. I did feed them Vigoro and give them a shot of sulfur and Epson salts when they break dormancy (which was early this year). I'm trying Rose Tone this year.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 12:17PM
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I have had similar results but for different reasons. I also planted mine, both 5 gal plants, in the last part of May 2013.

Firefighter has been puny and not many blooms. But this spring (my plants think it's spring) it has a lot of new growth so I am hopeful.

FM was fine for a while then went puny also. (Both FF and FM are in the same bed) But for a different reason. The canes started looking like they were dying. I looked closely and found a canker about the size of a lemon. It was not there long, I watch my babies like a hawk. My local Rosarian said that if it developed that quickly it was one of the more aggressive type cankers and that I should remove it and a lot of the soil around it quickly. (I put it in the trash so it wouldn't be composted). I did what she said and drenched the soil with a light bleach solution. Then several months later, used Physan on it. I bought another FM about 4 or 5 months ago and put it in a 15 gal pot to sit and grow (I hoped) till the ground was ready to plant another FM in. I just did that about one month ago and the new FM is looking GREAT!. Very vigorous and beautiful foliage.

It's just a LITTLE warmer here than where you are. We are already having spring growth AND RAINNNNN!!! finally

Hope your answers are as easy. (Well not exactly easy, but at least clear cut)


    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 12:42PM
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Thank you everyone - You are giving me hope that these will both, eventually be vigorous roses. I can remember now that before my roses stopped blooming for the season they were both setting on some blooms, but by that time it was too late in the season. Maybe for some reason they were just slow getting started. It does sound like they are both generally good roses and I really do want them to flourish. Pat, they are both bareroot on Dr. Huey, which is generally what I plant.

This post was edited by Sara-Ann on Sat, Feb 8, 14 at 18:31

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 4:39PM
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seil zone 6b MI

I always try to give a new rose 3 years before I make any kind of judgment on it. And bare roots need that time in particular to grow back the root ball that was cut off for packaging. You also have to remember that if you're buying potted roses they were probably bare roots that the nursery just got this season and potted up themselves. If after 3 years they're still that slow to bloom and you're not happy with them then you can replace them guilt free.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 7:46PM
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Frances M had just a few flowers for the first year but gave some amazing quality roses that lasted so long in a vase. It is very tall and being own root I was impressed with it growing so well right away.

My Firefighter is grafted and is blooming right through the year. I would give this rose time because the quality of the flowers is so nice that if it will get going for you, you will be pleased to have it.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 9:30PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

My two grafted Firefighters did zip-nada-nothing for the first two years. Sat there. Then year three the large basals started shooting up and they both turned into bloom machines.

My impression is that it is slow to establish, however my climate is much different than yours.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 11:54PM
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ArbutusOmnedo 10/24

I planted a Francis Meilland at my mom's house last year and it was never covered in blooms at any one time but it always had at least one lovely bloom and buds just about to bloom.

They are beautiful blooms with a nice fragrance and they seemed to do well as cut flowers for her. She really likes it so far. I would hold out hope! No disease issues here in Coastal So cal.

I don't have any experience with Firefighter.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 2:23AM
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