[newbie] is rose color affected by soil comp...?

berninicaco3June 10, 2014

I'm horticulturally illiterate so forgive the ignorant question:

I'm aware that, as the only example I know, rhododendrons have different color flowers depending on the pH of the soil.

I ask because, partially due to nostalgia of the miniature roses we had when I was a kid, I was lingering over some miniatures the local garden center has and will be buying 2-3.
They have one variety, 'beauty secret,' and some of them are a true pink whereas others are definitely more a red.

Is this simply variation in their genetics? The more pink plant, will always flower with that shade of pink; the more red 'beauty secret' will always be more red?

Or can the color be affected by the soil, and the red plant could be persuaded to flower more pink or vice versa?

Some secondary questions that don't merit their own threads:

I already have some miracle gro tomato and vegetable fertilizer. Compared to the rose-specific, it has more calcium and less nitrogen (I think-- let me double check). Any reason it won't work on roses?

Second, any that you'd particularly recommend from this list of what's available at the local garden center? This is more a taste question, but if one is harder to take care of maybe I'll steer clear. I'm having trouble deciding! :)

33 Rose - Miniature Baby Elizabeth
16 Rose - Miniature Beauty Secret
39 Rose - Miniature Cracker Rose Pink
46 Rose - Miniature Louis Philippe
37 Rose - Miniature Nancy Hall
23 Rose - Miniature Nu Gold
8 Rose - Miniature Real Pink
8 Rose - Miniature Royal Ruby
12 Rose - Miniature Snow Bride
6 Rose - Miniature Starina (Orange)

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seil zone 6b MI

According to Help Me Find Roses Beauty Secret is a very RED rose. So I don't know why some of them are pink. They may be mislabeled or they could be old faded blooms or it could be the weather or soil conditions. In any case if you're really interested in pink and not red I would look for a different rose because Beauty Secret should be red.

Any well balanced fertilizer should work fine. Roses aren't as picky as people make them out to be. They just want FOOD!

You don't list your zone or say where you live so it may not matter but a lot of minis seem to be a bit black spot prone. I'm not sure why that is but maybe it's because they're short and their leaves grow very close to the ground where most of the spores come from. If black spot is a problem in your area you'll either have to spray to keep them clean or live with some spotty or leafless plants for a while.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 12:30PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Color of roses is probably not affected by the soil. Some red and yellow pigments are strongly affected by the temperature and sun exposure.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 12:55PM
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Thanks michaelg for the explanation!
The pinker blossoms weren't wilted or dying, but, it's entirely plausible that they'd simply been in the sun more.

Thanks seil: I think I'll get beauty secret for red (not ruby red), then baby elizabeth for a pink :)
I'll go ahead and use the 'tomato' fertilizer then! I think mainly it had more calcium, which simply might not matter for the rose one way or another.

I'm in Iowa. We're zone 5, but last winter got down to zone 4! Our summers aren't as hot and humid as when I lived in Maryland, so maybe it'll be less a risk... but I'll keep an eye out for blackspot (I looked it up) and spray fungicide if it begins.

I'm putting these in pots, and I've read that I need to keep the soil WELL DRAINED so I'm adding a ton of vermiculite and a bit of perlite? Sound good?

I might also take them inside for the winter?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 1:03PM
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jazzmom516(Zone 7 LI, NY)

(1) I've never heard of rhododendron flower color being affected by pH levels of the soil. But you might be confusing it with hydrangeas that are pink or blue flowered.
(2) I agree with michaelg, roses of certain colors --the violets or yellows will change color due to the heat of the summer or the amount of sunlight hitting the petals (causing yellows to fade to whitish shades). 'Ebb Tide', a floribunda starts out in bloom in a red violet color and then as the summer wears on, becomes less red violet with subsequent blooms.
'Molineux' and 'Solero Vigorosa' tend to have their yellow blooms fade over time with the sun hitting them.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 1:54PM
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nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska

Hi Berninicaco3

Welcome to gardenweb and this is a great place to check out ideas and input for roses and other plants. I only have Beauty Secret and Starina among the minis you list, but they grow well in the ground for me in the next state over. Next time you post, it helps if you put your zone 5 and Iowa in the zone line, so people can adapt their input for your zone. Even though we had a bitterly cold winter last year too, it doesn't change our zone for the time being, since those talk about averages rather than extremes.

I'm not a good one for pot growing in general, but your well drained soil sounds like a good plan. Two points to add, though. You don't want to bring your roses in for the winter, since roses hate being inside and you'd get spider mites and sickly plants in the process. Instead, what you'll need to consider is how to winter protect your pots for the cold months. As I'd mentioned, both of those minis are hardy in the ground for me, but pots allow more cold air to reach the roots of the plant and can reduce the hardiness of the plants a full zone.

What I'd recommend for the winter is to figure out a system for protecting the whole pot in a relatively secure (but still cold) part of your yard. Some folks use unheated garages or sheds, making sure to check water for the pots over the winter. I bury the whole pot in DRY oak leaves (don't use leaves that mat down and stay wet) in a spot next to the house for added protection, and take off the leaves in the spring when the garden warms up. Seil has a lot of pots she overwinters in a system where she wraps the whole bunch in protective materials against the side of her house, and she can chime in about her system there.

Bottom line though is that they'll be happier outside and protected (and dormant for the winter) than trying to bloom inside.

Have fun and it looks like you have some nice choices.


    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 2:06PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Well drained soil is good but that also will mean they'll need to be kept watered more frequently and because of that they'll also need to be fertilized more frequently. Because the water drains down and out the pot it takes nutrients from the soil with it.

Cynthia gave you some very good ideas for winterizing. If yo can fit them in your garage that's usually the best because it's a little warmer inside there and it protects them from the wind and drying canes. And you do need to water them all winter. Even though they're dormant you do not want them to get too dry or they'll die. Dessication can kill a rose as quickly and easily as freeze damage can.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 6:57PM
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Welcome! Yes, some colors can be affected by pH and nutrient levels, but pure pink isn't Beauty Secret. It could either be misnamed or it could be Copy Cat, the pink sport (mutation) of Beauty Secret. Take a look at the link below and see if that could be your pink rose. I wonder if their "Cracker Rose Pink" could be the found rose called "Pink Cracker"? Louis Philippe isn't a mini any more than Cracker Rose is. You can look them up on Help Me Find- Roses, the link I posted below. Yes, you can use the tomato fertilizer you have for your roses. Roses can't read. Vermiculite slows drainage and actually breaks down into a clay material. Perlite increases drainage. Just use your regular all purpose potting soil without adding anything to it. You aren't growing cactus, which requires much more drainage than roses. You haven't indicated what size pots you intend to use, but make sure they are large enough to insulate the roots against the heat from sun shining directly on their sides. Too small and you can easily cook them on a hot day, even in Iowa. They also need a large enough size to hold enough water for you to not have to constantly water them. Kim

Here is a link that might be useful: Copy Cat

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 8:17PM
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