Saturday, May 04, 2002

'Mister Lincoln' tea rose wins many growers' votes

        Hybrid tea roses — the classic roses used by the cut flower industry — are the most widely grown roses in the world. Long, narrow buds open into delicate blossoms on long, straight stems.

        Thousands of tea roses have been introduced since the first was named “La France” in 1867. Hybrid teas bloom prolifically from early summer until the first frost. With our mild winter this year, several of my hybrid tea roses were blooming in December.

        The tea rose “Mister Lincoln” was an All America Rose Selection winner in 1965, and its popularity has increased yearly. Many rosarian friends tell me that if they could grow only one red rose, it would be “Mister Lincoln.” Raised by Swim & Weeks, it is a cross between “Chrysler Imperial” and “Charles Mallerin.”

Mister Lincoln rose
(Park Seed Company photo)
| ZOOM |
        Elegant, burgundy-red buds of “Mister Lincoln” unfurl to reveal double, velvety maroon-red to cherry-red flowers 4 to 6 inches across. Held singly on long stems, the powerfully perfumed flowers start out with high centers, opening to a cupped form accented with yellow stamens. Tall, thorny stems produce matte, dark-green foliage with moderate disease resistance.

        Flowering begins in late spring or early summer — depending on the weather — with good repeat through summer into fall.

        “Mister Lincoln” produces gorgeous flowers, but the rose bush is fairly stiff and upright, generally growing 3-4 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide.

        In the garden, “Mister Lincoln” looks best if planted in groups of three or more to present a bushier effect in the back of a border. If you don't have space in a border, be sure to grow at least one “Mister Lincoln” in your cutting garden so you can enjoy the superbly scented blooms indoors.

        Hybrid tea roses — in fact all modern cultivars of roses — are prone to powdery mildew and black spot if weather conditions are damp, muggy and hot. I spray all my roses once a week during the growing season with Orthenex and have never experienced black spot disfiguration.

        A rose planting tip: Never plant a new rose where an old rose has grown (died or been removed). Change the soil within the site where the old rose grew by digging out about a bushel of the old soil and replacing it with new.

        A new rose planted in old soil may suffer from “rose sickness,” caused by the buildup of infections to which roses are susceptible.

        Contact Tim Morehouse at; mail: c/o Cincinnati Enquirer. (If writing, enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope.)


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