Rich red roses are for lovers. Black roses reflect the sorrow or somberness of the sender. But yellow roses, ah yellow roses, bursting with the sunny disposition for which they are famous, can only reflect feelings of joy and well-wishing.
Whether you want to express your gratitude to a close friend or send a get-well bouquet to a co-worker, these bright roses are the perfect choice. Other colors may raise eyebrows under such circumstances—such as sending a dozen red roses to your ailing secretary!–but yellow roses, awash in innocence and splendor, cause no such suspicious reactions.
During the 18th century the love of roses was in full bloom, but the colors were limited to pink and white. The lovely yellow variety was finally discovered in the Middle East, and it didn’t take long for Europe to fall in love with the radiant flowers.
The original yellow rose lacked the heady fragrance that make roses so sought-after, but avid cultivators simply would not be assuaged! They diligently worked to breed a yellow rose with the sweet-and-spicy perfume, and in time achieved the aromatic glory for which these specimens are now famous.
Did the Yellow Rose of Texas immediately jump into your mind at the thought of this color variation? If so, you’re certainly not alone. The famous song of the mid-nineteenth century depicts an African-American singer longing to return to his “yellow girl”, a phrase at the time used to describe a mixed-race (mulatto) woman. The original writer is unknown, but the song has not been forgotten.
Increasing evidence in recent years has shown that there was, in fact, a true “Yellow Rose of Texas” — a mixed-race woman named Emily said to be stunningly beautiful. The story goes that she distracted General Santa Anna in his tent after his routing of the Alamo. While the General lay distracted, Sam Houston’s army stampeded Santa Anna’s Mexican force and killed more than 600 soldiers at the cost of only nine of their own in the battle of San Jacinto.
How To Grow Yellow Roses
To grow the brightest version of yellow roses possible, consider applying the following tips:
- Plant the roses where they’ll receive full sun during the day but have some shade in the afternoons during the heat of the summer. Extreme heat can fade the blooms, preventing that bright, beloved banana yellow color.
- To give the best impression of brightly colored roses, plant them with a mix of darker colored annuals — especially of the blue and purple variety. Blue and purple are complimentary colors to yellow, but their dark hues make the brightness of the roses stand out. Another trick to achieve the brightest impression is to use white fencing around the rose bed, again causing the yellow color to stand out.
- The nutrient magnesium brings out the most intense yellow in roses, so apply about one half a cup of Epsom salts around the base of each of your yellow rose plants. Epsom salts, being high in magnesium, will deepen the green of the rose leaves as well as boosting flower brightness and the production of blooms.
- In late winter be sure to cut the plants back to about half their height starting in the second or even third season. Make sure to remove any dead canes as well as the oldest canes. You want to open up the center of the rose plant so that the sunlight can reach it and the air circulation remains high.
- When blooms begin to fade, clip them off. You don’t want to expend vital nutrients on fading blooms.