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A new breed of little roses: the mini-floras; up to 2 feet tall, to try in pots.

A new breed of little roses: the mini-floras

A new breed of compact roses--known as mini-floras--is appearing in Western nurseries this summer. These free-flowering varieties, many developed in France, are well suited to container culture: they're small enough to thrive with contained roots, yet large enough to be seen from across a patio.

Plants grow to 1 1/4 to 2 feet tall, twice the size of miniatures but smaller than floribundas or polyanthas (they were bred from floribundas selected for small size). Flowers are up to 2 inches across and come in orange, pink, red, white, and yellow.

Mini-flora varieties

Mini-floras are intended to be an improvement over two older, similar-size roses, "Garnette' (a small floribunda) and "Margo Koster' (a polyantha). In contrast to these, the mini-floras grow more compactly and bear flowers with a more classic shape and in more colors.

In nurseries, garden centers, and florist shops now and through summer, you'll find the following varieties in 4- or 6-inch pots or gallon cans for about $5 to $8. Check the labels carefully; at some garden centers, mini-flora roses may be mixed in with the true miniatures they closely resemble, especially when young.

"Amber Flash': 1 1/2-inch yellow-orange blooms on a 20-inch plant.

"Astra': 1 1/2-inch dogwood-like clusters of pink blossoms on a plant 12 inches high.

"Classic Meillandina': 1 1/2-inch vibrant pink flowers on a 15-inch plant.

"Magic Sunblaze' (also sold as "Sunblaze Magic'): 2-inch white blooms with pink to scarlet edges on a 15- to 18-inch plant.

"Orange Meillandina' (also sold as "Sunblaze Orange'): 1 1/2-inch brilliant orange flowers on a 15- to 18-inch plant.

"Pink Meillandina' (also sold as "Sunblaze Pink'): 1 1/2-inch clear pink blossoms on a 15- to 18-inch plant.

"Royal Sunblaze' (also sold as "Sunblaze Royal'): 1 1/2- to 2-inch yellow blooms on a 15- to 18-inch plant.

"Scarlet Meillandina' (also sold as "Sunblaze Scarlet'): 1 1/2-inch deep scarlet flowers on a 15- to 18-inch plant.

"Stardance': 2-inch white blossoms with yellow centers on a 24-inch plant.

Planting and care

Give mini-floras a sunny location. Plant them in a mix containing plenty of organic material such as compost or ground bark. Mix in a timed-release, high-nitrogen complete fertilizer before planting.

Water--and control pests--as you would on other roses. Remove spent flowers frequently to encourage more bloom. Prune in late January. Like miniature roses, mini-floras are not grafted onto a rootstock; they grow on their own roots, so it isn't necessary to remove suckers. (In cold-winter regions, grow in pots to move indoors when temperatures drop to 20|.)

For more on growing roses successfully, see the Sunset book Roses (Lane Publishing Co., Menlo Park, Calif., updated 1986; $5.95).

Photo: Mini-flora rose is 10 inches high in gallon can, twice size of miniature at left; both are a year old

Photo: Rosebud on "Magic Sunblaze' mini-flora will open to long-lasting 2-inch bloom like others in cluster
COPYRIGHT 1986 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Jun 1, 1986
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