Green rose – Rosa x odorata ‘Viridiflora’

Weird but wonderful. Although the foliage might give ‘Viridiflora’ away as a rose, its flowers are not instantly recognizable. Instead of having classic rose-like petals, the floiuers are made up of over-developed, modified leaves called bracts.

ANNUAL CALENDAR

SPRING

March-April:

Firm soil around mature plants that have been rocked by winter winds, as water could collect around the base and cause rot.

Prune as needed.

Watch out for early signs of aphids.

SUMMER

May-July:

Deadhead regularly. Spray against caterpillars. Water during dry spells.

Turn the tap on low and let the water trickle gently around the base of the plant to give it a good soaking.

Do not deluge the plant.

AUTUMN

August-September:

Plan new plantings and prepare new sites.

WINTER

October-February:

Plant new bushes.

PRUNING,

Pruning not only helps to give a rose a good shape, but also maintains a healthy plant. Be sure your secateurs are sharp and cut just above an outward-facing bud, slanting the cut down and away from the bud. Prune ‘Viridiflora’ in early spring, aiming simply to tidy the bush. It does not need the severe pruning given to cluster-flowered or Hybrid

Tea roses. Begin by removing all dead, diseased, weak and twiggy stems, cutting back to healthy wood. Cut strong-growing shoots back to about a third of their length. ,

INDOOR DISPLAYS ‘Viridiflora’ is a good choice for dried flower decorations. Cut the flower spray with a long stalk when most of the buds are open and still looking fresh. Hang upside-down in the airing cupboard or place on trays of dry sand and leave to dry anywhere out of direct light and where air circulation is good.

This green rose has been found in gardens since the 1840s, when it was widely grown for its curiosity value. Today it is a favourite with flower arrangers. ‘Viridiflora’ is one of the smaller roses, only 90cm high and not much more across, so it is ideal for container growing.

Planting and care

Roses from specialist growers usually arrive bare rooted and can be planted from October to November or in winter as long as the ground is workable. Roses from garden centres are generally container grown. Buy and plant them in autumn if possible.

Dig a planting hole 45-60cm wide and deep enough so the bulging join of root stock and stem is at least 2.5cm below the soil.

Prepare the hole before planting by loosening the bottom with your garden fork. Put in a generous spadeful of well-rotted manure and add a handful of bone meal to the soil taken from the hole.

If the rose is bare rooted, cut back long or damaged roots. Fan out roots in the bottom of the hole. Work some soil between them to hold the plant in position while backfilling the hole.

As you return the soil, gently wiggle the plant up and down to work earth around the roots. Firm with your heel.

When you have finished filling the hole, tread again and top-dress with a thick mulch (layer) of compost.

Deadhead (remove dead flower-heads) regularly. Remove the whole cluster when it has finished flowering by cutting back to the first bud just above a full leaf, from where a new flowering stem can grow.

In heavy clay soil, roses can resist drought, but those grown in free-draining sandy or chalky soils benefit from regular watering in dry weather.

Green rose

SITUATION

Can be grown in partial shade, or in a sunny bed or border where air circulates freely. Do not plant new roses in an old rose-bed; always choose a new site or replace soil SOIL

Slightly acid, clay soil is ideal. Improve other types by digging in well-rotted manure or compost CARE

Water during dry spells. Feed by top-dressing the soil with rose fertilizer or a foliar feed. Deadhead (remove dead flower-heads) regularly and prune each spring.

LIGHT:

Full sun-partial shade.

FLOWERING:

June-October.

HEIGHT: 90cm.

SOIL:

Heavy, ideally clay soil.

Many rose growers find this novel plant irresistible. The ‘flowers’ change from green to mottled brown as they age.

PLANT HEALTH

On the whole ‘Viridiflora’ is not affected by diseases. It is hardy and resistant and blooms continuously during summer, so the flowers can be freely harvested for indoor decoration. Be alert for pests.

Aphids may feed on new flower buds during early summer. Pick off small numbers or blast them off with a jet of water, but begin spraying immediately you spot large numbers. Later on watch out for caterpillars damaging foliage, and pick off or spray them.

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