If you are old enough you probably grew up with the Yellow Rose of Texas being the ‘only girl for me’, but even if you are too young to remember that song, no garden is ever complete without a yellow rose. Many though are large bushes, with flowers for just a short part of the year, so they don’t give a lot, considering the room they take up. To solve this, we looked for a compact, rounded bush with a profusion of golden yellow blooms all summer, and we found it. Then we had our growers attach it to a sturdy trunk, turning it into a small tree with a full crown of attractive foliage and glowing blooms. The result is amazing, and we know that everyone will want to grow and enjoy the Lemon Drop Miniature Rose Tree in their own garden.
The Lemon Drop Miniature Rose Tree is a small, upright plant, on a clean trunk, with a bushy crown of dense foliage. The deep green leaves are 2½ inches long, divided into 3 or 5 leaflets, each less than 1 inch long. Each leaflet has a fine serrated edge. These small leaves are in perfect proportion to the overall size of the plant, keeping it neat, compact and very bushy, with a rounded crown less than 2 feet across. Overall, the plant is between 3 and 4 feet tall, depending on the time of year. A plant of those proportions fits perfectly into smaller spaces in your garden, tucked between evergreens, or in a bed with lower shrubs. Planted in a row, spacing the plants 18 inches apart, you can create a beautiful ‘raised hedge’ along a pathway, or down the center of a bed. It is also perfect for planter boxes and large pots, where you can move it around with the seasons, to enjoy it on your terrace or patio. Even if you have no garden you can enjoy this plant on a balcony, where it will really deliver flowers throughout those outdoor months when you want most to be surrounded by flowers.
Of course, roses are all about the blooms, and the Lemon Drop Miniature Rose Tree really delivers in that department. The flowers are carried almost continuously from early summer well into the fall, in clusters of 3 or more flowers on short stems at the end of ever branch. The fat pointed buds are bright yellow, and they open into a flower that is at first cup-shaped, and later flat, spreading 1½ to 2 inches wide. Packed with up to 70 petals, they open at first with a more formal, high-centered look, with the outer petals fanning open around a tight center. When fully open they have that classic old-fashioned fullness we all love, and a plant in bloom is a thing of beauty. The color is rich but bright, a perfect clean lemon yellow. The tones are darker in cooler weather and at the beginning of the season, becoming lighter in the hottest weather.
Grow the Lemon Drop Miniature Rose Tree in full sun for the best results. Even light shade will reduce flowering, so find a spot where the sun shines all day long on your plant. The soil should be well-drained and rich, so add plenty of compost or manure when preparing the planting area. Roses prefer heavier soils, and they perform well on clay soils, where other plants fail. Water regularly, because although the plant itself is relatively drought-resistant and tough, drier conditions will reduce flowering. Roses need plenty of fertilizer to do best, so use a slow-release or granular fertilizer according to the directions. Liquid fertilizers are best for plants in pots, and for the first year you have your tree in the ground. Choose a fertilizer formulated for roses. This bush is very resistant to the common rose diseases, so its leaves stay fresh and clean all season. Most pests can be controlled with simple treatments like soapy water, and this vigorous plant is relatively easy to grow.
The Lemon Drop Miniature Rose Tree needs just a little regular care to keep it blooming and growing well for years. Remove flowers as soon as the petals fall, cutting away the clusters just above the first full-sized leaf on the stem. This will encourage more new shoots to keep those blooms coming. In spring prune your plant by removing any weak or damaged shoots. Shorten back the remaining ones by one-third to one-half, cutting just above an outward-pointing fat bud. Prune when you begin to see the buds swelling, before any leaves are visible. We suggest you attach a strong permanent stake to your bush, to protect it from breakage in strong winds or storms. Drive the stake well down into the earth close to the trunk and attach it at two or three places to the trunk. Bring the stake up into the crown, and tie one of two of the main branches to the stake.
The Lemon Drop Miniature Rose Tree was created by Tom Carruth, an expert breeder with Weeks Wholesale Rose Grower, Inc. in Upland, California. He took an older variety he had bred, called Gingerbread Man® (‘POUlxas’), and crossed it with another plant he had created. Gingerbread Man has apricot-orange blooms, and among the seedlings he grew from this cross there was one that looked very similar, but with bright yellow flowers. He called it ‘WEKYEGI’ and received a patent for his creation in 2004. This is the rose sold as Lemon Drop, and it wins the heart of everyone who sees it. We have some beautiful vigorous plants, and our rose-lovers are snapping them up, so order now, as they will soon be gone.