Virtues: Strong fragrance and cherry-red color mark Sweet Spirit rose's three-inch double flowers, which are excellent for cutting. This bushy rose offers disease-resistant foliage, repeat bloom and superb performance in hot, humid climates. In 2021 this cultivar received All Regions and Fragrance awards from the American Garden Rose Selections trialing program.
Common name: Sweet Spirit grandiflora rose
Botanical name: Rosa ‘MEIthatie’
Exposure: Full sun
Flowers: Appearing from early summer to autumn, Sweet Spirit roses are cherry red in color, with a count of 35 petals per bloom. These flowers measure about three inches across. Three to five roses will appear per stem. Their fragrance is strong and sweet.
Foliage: The leaves are a dark green. They display excellent resistance to diseases like black spot, even in high heat and humidity.
Habit: This rose reaches about three to four feet tall and three feet wide.
Origin: This grandiflora rose was bred by Meilland and introduced by Star Roses and Plants in 2019.
How to grow it: As with any rose, site Sweet Spirit where it will receive ample sun, at least six hours each day. Provide supplemental water during dry spells, especially as the plant is getting established over its first season in the garden. Roses need one to two inches of water each week. In early spring, cut the stems down to about 12 to 18 inches tall, snipping just above an outward facing bud eye, and remove entirely any dead or damaged stems. Topdress annually with compost to boost soil fertility. If desired, fertilize with a feed higher in phosphate (the second number in a fertilizer's N-P-K ratio) after the first flush of bloom subsides. USDA Zones 5–9.
About American Garden Rose Selections:
Nominees for these awards are tested for multiple years in 12 trial gardens across the United States, with rose experts continually rating the cultivars on criteria that include disease resistance, bloom quality and abundance, fragrance, habit, hardiness and other weather capability. Ratings are tallied to reveal winners of various Regional Choice Awards as well as the National Award and Fragrance Award. Find all recipients at http://www.americangardenroseselections.com.
Favorite books for rose lovers:
In Right Rose, Right Place, Ohio rose grower Peter Schneider provides advice on choosing roses that will succeed in your climate and match your garden's style.
Canadian rosarian Bob Osborne describes how to make roses thrive even in extremely cold climates in his book Hardy Roses, now in its third edition.
Find healthy, rugged roses and eco-friendly ways to tend them in Peter Kukielski's Roses Without Chemicals.
Image courtesy of American Garden Rose Selections.