Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Miniature roses: mass produced, misunderstood and misused

It is better to understand a little than to misunderstand a lot.” 
Anatole France (1844-1924) French writer.

Only the other day when I was at a grocery store that I saw many beautiful miniature roses on sale neatly arranged at the store front.  

It suddenly came to my mind that miniatures are very easy to get to. They are sold everywhere - at nurseries, garden retailers and even groceries stores. My first rose plant; a miniature, had come from IKEA!

Miniatures:  flower flood from hilly heaven

Most of Malaysian roses come from the highlands, places where the temperature is ideal for horticulture business to flourish.

For most of us, miniatures are killingly gorgeous but they don’t last long when planted on our warm flat land. I have countless failures with lilies, daisies, hydrangeas and even roses that come from the hilly heaven.

Like most of us, I was not an avid gardener to begin with but I was lured by these beauties sold at supermarkets. The idea of having some roses in the garden seemed exciting. Deliberation aside, I bought miniatures on spot, thinking that beautiful roses in the garden would be instantly realized.

Being a novice and city folk too, I didn’t look elsewhere for roses, as elsewhere meant inconvenience.  With constant availability and accessibility of miniatures, I was led to believe that they were THE roses and the only choice of roses there ever was.

When my miniatures died short weeks after, like many, I fell into the zone of blaming my not-so-green fingers. My other obvious choice was to simply succumb to the mass belief that roses could never grow well in warm, humid, 36 degree Celsius garden.

The mini and the real thing

Because you see, I had traded the real roses for miniatures. If I had looked long and elsewhere, I would have had came across the many other type of roses sold at nurseries nationwide and realized that there was a big world of roses out there for me to explore.  

The thing is we started with us ourselves know very little about roses in general and about growing them, let alone understanding miniatures - a different and exclusive class of rose altogether.

Miniatures are there for a purpose

Miniatures are beautiful and hardy although they come in small size. They are being bred better nowadays and for plenty of uses, much the same as their big counterparts – they too can be grown for cut roses, trailers and even climbers. But bear in mind, miniatures have always had their basic job.

Such tiny stuff.
The job of miniatures worldwide is for decorative purpose. It means elsewhere on earth miniatures are expected to last only for a few weeks. They are bought to beautify home and offices for special occasions and as gifts. For this, they are produced in mass and available everywhere off rack.  That explains why we are so bombarded with miniatures and why they are so accessible at every corner of stores.  

I bought miniatures for the belief that it would grow me a rose garden. I had a very tall order for minis.

Although miniatures do look good indoors, they are meant to be placed outdoors, as roses require bright direct sunlight. When planted correctly, miniatures can bloom marvelously.

Blooming miniature in RM5 pot.
To me, miniatures are meant to beautify. When nurture properly, they can grow well in our humid and warm garden. They belong in garden as ground cover, in hanging baskets or decorative pots. What’s lack in size, they make up in blooms. Whereas the variety of colors and blends they offer is mindboggling. And they are great for small garden.

What we can learn from miniatures in Malaysia is that we ought to understand what we’re getting into (buying roses) before forming an opinion or worst, a belief - as collectively; a belief can be too strong to be undone.

Know your intention when it comes to buying roses. Do you want roses for decorative purpose, planting a garden with roses in it, or planting a rose garden? Let miniatures be minis and no longer be misunderstood or misused.

Author and copyright of Rough Rosa

Some of the miniatures in my modest collection.


James Missier said...

I'm not clear about few things when you mentioned about minis.

When you said they last for few weeks - you mean the whole plant?

I dare not try miniatures coz they are very sensitive and then to die quicker compared to the normal ones. And so I have become a Cameron Critic on this one.

I had just trimmed all my roses last weekend, changed all their soil and replant them (hoping that they will recover from the virus infection) So far all the rose plant had survived from the new transplant.

Want to know what are those black dots on the back of the leaves? Seen it so many times but never seen any caterpillars or any visible insects from it.

AaronVFT said...

Your roses are breathtaking and gorgeous! Mine was very slow and sickly until I decided to place it at my scorching balcony. I thought they will end up roasted but suprisingly they are producing 4-5 blooms a plant now!

ROUGH.ROSA said...

Hi James,
Yup, the whole plant only lasts for few weeks - not that miniatures are not hardy but often proper care is not given. It is a false belief that miniatures should be grown indoors or under shade.

It is not that miniatures are sensitive; only those from highlands due to climate change. For highland's, you need the hardening process.There are low land miniatures so go for these.

Your transplanting skill is good! Roses can easily experience transplant shock due to their roots' sensitive nature.

My guess anything that grow on leaves would be fungus or virus diseases of some sort. Unless it's the 'leftover' of insects. Can't really tell without an image. If fungal, remove the leaves quick as they can infect other parts; within days given the right weather. Spray with any fungicide that you have; that should do the trick. Good luck!

ROUGH.ROSA said...

Hi Aaron,

Glad to hear that. Bet you're enjoying them now!

When it comes to roses, always search for the ideal spot. Adequate sunlight always is the key!

Wish you many more blooms to come.