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The Tropicana Rose

The Tropicana Rose, Rosa ‘Tropicana’, is a stunning hybrid tea rose with 5-inch coral-colored double blooms consisting of thirty or more petals with a high center. They have deep green, flossy foliage, and grow relatively tall, but do not spread widely. They can easily be trained to either bush or tree form.

Closeup of a coral-colored rose bloom.

This rose was bred in Germany in 1960 as a cross of the seed plant Peace rose and the pollen plant Alpine Glow, which resulted in the flower’s gorgeous coral hue. It was brought to the United States in 1962 by Jackson and Perkins and quickly rose to popularity.

Since this rose is fairly rare and on the pricey side, it’s important to care for it properly. Let’s take a look at some of the features of this gorgeous rose, and how to best take care of it.

What Awards have Tropicana Roses Won?

This flower has won fifteen international awards, including the All-America Gold Certificate, which is one of the most prestigious awards for flowers. It has won more awards than any rose variety in history.

Among others, this rose has won Princess of Show by the Maine Rose Society and the Columbiana Rose Society Show, best Hybrid Tea Rose from the Huronia Rose Society Show, Portland Gold Medal from The Hague Rose Trials, Queen of Show in the Warren Rose Society Show, and many others.

Closeup of a single Tropicana rose bloom.
Tropicana rose bloom.

What do Tropicana Roses Smell Like?

Tropicana roses usually have a rich, fruity smell with a strong fragrance. You will note tones of citrus in the scent, which is likely where it got its orange-centric name.

Some growers have noted that their Tropicana roses don’t have such a strong smell. This could be due to a number of factors, including the amount of watering they receive, or their nutrient levels. But even when they aren’t as strongly-scented, they still smell heavenly.

A bouquet of coral-colored roses.

How to Plant Tropicana Roses

Like most roses, Tropicana roses prefer full sun in fertile soil that has strong moisture retention and good drainage. You can test your soil for drainage by digging a hole about twelve inches deep and fill it with water. Allow it to drain completely, and then fill it with water again. Time the drainage.

If it has adequate drainage, the second filling of water should drain completely in between thirty minutes to two hours. If it drains more quickly, it won’t retain moisture well. If it takes longer, plants may become waterlogged.

If your soil does not have adequate drainage, or if it does not hold moisture well, you can amend your soil with heavy amounts of organic matter like compost and peat moss to hold water and improve drainage.

A coral-colored rose bloom in sunshine.

Roses are very heavy feeders, so they need a lot of nutrients. If your soil is poor, adding compost and fertilizer will help. There are many types of fertilizer made specifically for roses, so choose one of those instead of an all-purpose fertilizer. Bone meal is especially helpful for roses.

When you’re ready to plant your roses, dig a hole that is the same depth as the plant’s root ball and a little wider. Add some bone meal or superphosphate to the soil you removed from the hole, and amend it with compost or peat moss, as needed.

Loosen the plant’s roots slightly before planting. Do this gently, but ensure the roots are free to begin growing into the soil in their new home quickly.

Place the root ball into the hole and gently push the amended soil into the hole, holding the plant upright. Make sure the graft union is below the soil line by about an inch.

Person watering newly planted rose shrub.

Once planted, water the plant thoroughly and then mulch it with a good quality mulch of your choice. Newly planted roses will likely dry out quickly, so water them every other day, especially if the weather is dry. This will help your roses acclimate to their new environment. Once you see new growth on the plants, you can be relatively sure they have properly acclimated.

Once acclimated, cut watering back to weekly. This will encourage the roots to grow deeply in search of water, giving the plant a strong anchor into the soil, as well as more surface area to locate nutrients, water, and oxygen.

How to Fertilize Tropicana Roses

About every six weeks throughout the blooming seasons, give roses a dose of granular fertilizer made specifically for roses. This should begin in the spring as soon as new growth begins, and again after each major blooming.

You can stop fertilizing your roses at the end of the season, about six weeks before the first fall frost, but you should keep watering until the ground freezes. If you live in an area that never receives frosts, you should continue watering weekly all year.

Closeup of coral-colored roses.

Deadheading Tropicana Roses

Deadheading is the process of removing blooms that have turned brown. Many people do this simply to remove unattractive flowers from their rose bushes, but it’s also important for the health of the plant.

For one thing, roses will produce more blooms when old ones are removed, so if you want to achieve maximum showy splendor, deadheading is essential. Deadheading also helps the plant put more energy into new growth instead of seed development.

Since Tropicana roses are a hybrid tea rose, you will want to look for the top set of five leaflets and cut the stem below that. Don’t worry too much about getting this right. You won’t hurt the plant if you don’t cut it in the right place. But since hybrid tea roses are known for their long stems, cutting them in the right place will help you achieve that, especially early in the season.

You can also prune off the dead blooms alone if you prefer. This will encourage the plant to produce more leaves and stems, which is very helpful as the roses enter their dormant period in the winter.

A single coral-colored rose bloom.

Pests & Diseases

Tropicana roses are resistant to rust, but are susceptible to both black spot and mildew. It’s important to avoid watering them late in the evening when water may collect on the leaves and not have time to evaporate before the sun sets, which can make them more vulnerable to these diseases. Don’t water when the sun is high in the sky, because the water droplets that collect on the leaves can act like magnifying glasses and scald the leaves. Instead, water in the mornings to give the leaves and petals time to dry.

Like other roses, there are a number of pests that may infest roses. The most common pest is the aphid, bane of gardeners everywhere. There are several species of aphids that can attack roses, including the rose aphid, the potato aphid, the cotton aphid, and several others.

But aphids aren’t the only pest to infest roses. Spider mites are also common, as are rose leafhoppers, thrips, many types of beetles, scale insects, roseslugs, and many more.

Aphids and a ladybug on plant leaves.
Ladybugs are a natural predator of aphids.

One of the best ways to take care of these pests is to ensure adequate populations of the predators that feed on them. For example, there are parasitic wasps that lay their eggs inside aphids, where their larvae hatch and consume the aphids from the inside out. Minute pirate bugs eat mites, scales, thrips, and insect eggs. Ladybugs, also called lady beetles, feed on aphids while in their larval and their adult stages. Predatory mites feed on spider mites. Some varieties of thrips consume plant-eating thrips. And spiders and praying mantises will feed on nearly any insect.

You can release many of these predatory insects into your garden by purchasing them online, or you can attract them to your yard by creating an inviting environment for them. You should include various types of plants around your garden that grow to different heights and also have flowers that can feed predatory insects in their juvenile stages. For example, hoverflies and lacewings, both potent predators, will consume pollen and nectar as adults and planting flowers will attract them to lay their eggs there.

If your roses become heavily infested, you may want to use a pesticide. Be sure to choose one that works for the type of pest that is causing the issues, and try to avoid pesticide use unless absolutely necessary since it can be harmful to the beneficial insects as well as those that are harmful.

A coral-colored rose bloom.

Where to Buy Tropicana Roses

One of the best places to buy Tropicana Roses is at Nature Hills Nursery, but be quick! This is a very popular rose, and it sells out quickly each year.

You may be able to find them at local nurseries, but they are somewhat difficult to find due to their rarity. Call around to various nurseries. Sometimes those who don’t have them in stock might be able to order them for you so you can pick them up locally.

Final Words On the Tropicana Rose

Closeup of a coral rose bloom.

Tropicana roses are known for their intoxicating citrus scent and their stunning orange-pink blooms that last throughout the season. It’s no surprise that they have won so many awards. With such stunning displays, Tropicana roses are sure to impress your family, friends, neighbors, and others!

Does your garden have delightful Tropicana roses growing in it? If so, we’d love to hear about this gorgeous rose in the comments section below!

Excited for more rose content? Then keep reading all about these beautiful flowers, how to take care of them, and more on our roses page!

Susan B

Wednesday 19th of October 2022

I have a 56+ year old gorgeous Tropicana rose bush. This year she topped out at 6’ x 5’. I consider her a family treasure since she was planted by my grandmother who died in 1967. I absolutely love them.