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A Rose By Any Other Name

The king of flowers, doubtless! But what is a rose? Not just one type of flower, by a long shot. Did you know that when we say the word rose, we mean hundreds of species and lakhs of horticultural varieties? Shakespeare, when he wrote ‘That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet’ would not have realized how complicated rose species and cultivar identification could be! Several of the rose cultivars don’t even smell, leave aside smelling sweet! I mean there are climbing roses and button roses, thorny roses and thorn-less ones, continuously flowering or sporadically flowering ones, and to speak nothing of the multiple colours it comes in - black, green, apricot, white, red, pink, orange, yellow, two-toned, speckled and striped! 

Hybrid tea rose, Grandiflora rose, Floribunda rose, Climbing or Rambler rose, Polyanthas rose, Bourbon rose, Musk roses, and Damask rose are among the popular roses in India.

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Roses have had a critical role to play in our culture. Aesthetics, emotions, perfumery, medication, food - these flowers have been around for centuries. From Pt. Nehru’s coat to our gulkand, from attar to rose-tea, its uses are multifarious.

Roses need the sun - they are out-and-out outdoor plants. They do not do well in poly-houses. Skillful pruning encourages growth and flowering by helping to remove the dead and decayed plants and enhancing airflow in the shrub. It also helps give desired shape and size to the plant. Well-drained soils rich in organic nutrients, especially phosphorus sources such as bone meal, do good for roses. Rose care also includes looking out for common pests like aphids, mites, thrips, and whiteflies, which can attack the plant yearlong. In short, if you are planting a rose in your garden, you cannot plant them and forget them - they need tender love and care!

Roses grow faster from cuttings than from seeds. It is also easier to grow roses from cuttings as rose seeds may need cold stratification treatment to enhance germination rate and break dormancy. 

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