Rose growing has seen a revolution in recent years – to the great benefit of gardeners. Gone are the old varieties with the need for constant spraying, and their sporadic blooming. Were they beautiful? Yes, indeed they were, but were they easy to grow? No, they certainly were not. Today we have many disease-resistant roses that bloom more-or-less continuously, but they are often a more informal rose, with fewer petals, and more of a ‘wild’ rose look. If you are looking for the traditional hybrid-tea appeal, with that elegant, high-centered flower, packed with many tight petals, then the High Voltage Rose is exactly what you have been looking for. Plus, it is that most desirable of all roses in colder climates, a beautiful yellow rose. The yellow rose may be found easily in Texas, but as we move into colder areas, hardy yellow roses become scarcer and scarcer. This is why the High Voltage Rose is such a marvel, because it is fully hardy in zone 4, and hardy in zone 3 with basic winter protection. At last, a reliable yellow rose for the northern garden.
The High Voltage Rose is an upright bush that typically grows between 4 and 5 feet tall, but that could reach 6 feet, especially in warmer zones will lighter pruning. It has a narrower profile, often only 2 feet wide, but more usually between 3 and 4 feet across. It fits well into more limited spaces, in a cutting garden, or planted with other roses and flowers. The healthy foliage is rich, glossy green, and the leaves are divided into 5 rounded leaflets.
Each rose is held high, individually, on an upright stem, in the traditional tea-rose fashion, but the plant has many canes, so your rose bush is always covered with a profusion of blooms, and new buds developing to replace them as soon as they fade. The large flowers are 2 to 3 inches across, with a high center, particularly when just opening, and develops later into a wider and flatter bloom, reflecting this rose’s other parent – a shrub rose. These are known for continuous bloom and full, open flowers packed with petals. The High Voltage Rose flower has an average of 22 petals, making it dense and full, and an open center never develops. A bush in bloom is a gorgeous sight, with flowers in every stage of development, from bud to mature bloom. The color of the flowers is a rich bright yellow – that electric spark that gives it the name High Voltage. In bud and when first open the color is intense, and gradually fades from the petal tips inwards until a mature, fully open bloom is a softer, more buttery light yellow – the play of colors on the bush is visually gorgeous. And here is a big plus, this rose is fragrant too, a feature that is scarce in modern roses. Enjoy the old-fashioned tea-rose perfume from every bloom.
Growing High Voltage Roses
Plant the High Voltage Rose in full sun for maximum flowering. It grows best in richer, well-drained soils, with a steady supply of water. Nothing stops roses blooming as quickly as dryness in summer does. Roses grow well in heavier, clay soils, if you add good amounts of garden compost, rotted manure, or similar rich organic materials when preparing the planting site. This rose is grown on its own roots, so there is no graft-union to worry about, and all the shoots that come up are the rose you want, with no risk of suckers taking over. This newer technique produces a much easier plant to care for. All roses can suffer from pests or diseases, but the High Voltage Rose has good resistance to both black spot and mildew. Its vigorous growth will keep it one step ahead of any pests, so care is minimal. Feed in spring with rose fertilizer, and again in early summer and early fall, for the best results.
As blossoms fade, cut back the spent flower just above the first full-sized leaf. In spring, before new growth begins, remove any weak, thin branches, leaving a framework of sturdy branches. For the largest blooms, but fewer off them, trim back stems to 3 or 4 inches, cutting just above an outward-facing bud. For more blooms, which will be a little smaller, cut back to 8 to 12 inches tall, always removing the thinner ends of the branches. In zones 3 and 4, protect your plant in November by cutting it back to 24 inches tall and surrounding the base with firmly-packed dry peat moss (the ‘dry’ part is important), kept in place with an open-topped surround. Don’t cover with closed cones or plastic sheeting. Remove the protection in early spring, and then prune your bush.
History and Origins of High Voltage Roses
Ping Lim is an American born in Laos, and one of the top rose breeders of this century. After years of professional training he became the Rose Research Director for Bailey Nurseries in Yamhill, Oregon. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s he created many new varieties for them, before moving on to develop his own company. The variety officially called ‘BAIage’ was released in 2007, and it is a cross between a tea rose and a shrub rose, although no further details are available. It is sold under the name High Voltage, and it has won numerous awards, including Portland Rose Society Best Shrub Rose 2010. It is released as part of Bailey Nursery’s Easy Elegance® Rose Collection series. These easy-care, disease-resistant roses are remarkable for their outstanding classic flower forms. Grown on their own roots, rather than by the traditional grafting method, they never produce suckers, and they are very winter hardy. The demand for new roses is always high, and our stock is limited. If you want to grow the best yellow rose for cold climates, then order now, or the chance will be gone