For The Love of Floribunda, April 2018 Cape Cod LIFE | capecodlife.com

‘Daybreaker’ floribunda starts its journey as tangerine buds wrapped in pink and ultimately becomes a soft yellow cloud when fully opened.

This low-maintenance, high-reward rose is a true delight

Would a rose by any other name really be the same? In the case of floribunda roses, this discussion could go on for hours. These especially hardy and vigorous roses are perfectly propagated to become the workhorse in any garden. It is a common misconception that roses are finicky, fickle flowers; perhaps it is their universal presence in endless formal and sophisticated settings. The actual indulgence of raising the delicate species is far easier than might be imagined, but that is not to say that these queens of the garden don’t have a list of demands.

Roses generally thrive in the delicate, salty breezes that are common to the Cape and Islands. An old wives’ tale of rose care involves sprinkling Epsom salts around the roots each spring, and perhaps that is why coastal roses seem so happy. Another suggestion passed down is the reminder that roses don’t like “wet feet,” that is to say the base of the plant should be rooted in well-drained soil—the sandy nature of the Cape soil certainly encourages drainage. And it is true that the leaves of roses do require attention—mold, mildew and insects can destroy the leaves of a rose plant, thereby annihilating the ultimate prize: the bloom.

Fear not, there exists a species of rose that is easily encouraged to deliver the satisfaction and beauty that a gardener desires, but without the fuss and frustration. Floribunda roses are the result of crossing a hybrid tea rose with a polyantha rose. As a result, the species benefits from the quintessentially formed buds of a hybrid tea, with the profusion of blossom characterized by the polyanthas. They are fairly compact in their stature, most are between 24 and 40 inches in height, and rarely occupy more than 24 inches of precious garden space.