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Hot Cocoa – Floribunda Rose

Floribunda rose ‘Hot Cocoa’ is a looker, all smolder and chocolate, a deep coppery red that darkens or lightens according to the light.

The photograph of ‘Hot Cocoa’ below is unedited and as close to what I saw in the garden that day as possible, but be aware that many of the new roses are highly changeable as their flowers go from new to mature.

rose hot cocoa
Rose Hot Cocoa smolders. image.

Particulars for Hot Cocoa rose
When we think of Floribunda roses we think of squat bushy plants that yield flowers through the season in sprays. Floribunda roses were the answer during a time when gardeners were having a tough go at fitting the often gawky Hybrid Teas and Grandifloras into their gardens. This has always been a problem with the modern roses of the mid-late 20th century.

Hybrid Tea and Grandiflora roses are all about the quality of the flower, with the habit of the shrub a distant second. If the desire is long-stemmed roses on a garden plant, the inevitable trade-off is the form of the shrub. Enter the Floribundas.

Hot Cocoa rose
Floribunda rose Hot Cocoa

Hot Cocoa’s grows 3-4 feet tall and is fairly upright.  New growth is reddish, a color I appreciate in the emerging foliage of roses.  Flowers are mildly fragrant and blooms are 3″ or so across and fully double.  Floribunda roses are remontant (repeat flowering) so Hot Cocoa will bloom from mid-spring into fall, with flushes 2-5 flowers in clusters per stem.

Roses in the Garden – Thoughts on Landscape Design

Success with roses from a design standpoint is always about matching the growth habit and disease resistance with the proposed planting location. A simple yet effective rule is to plant the stiffer upright varieties such as Hybrid Teas and Grandifloras in their own dedicated beds.

Especially considering that Hybrid Teas and Grandifloras often need spraying for blackspot and mildew, having them grouped together makes sense. Rose beds are especially effective when a single cultivar is planted in a group of 8-10 plants.

Hot Cocoa rose
Hot Cocoa Floribunda rose – in bud.

If the goal is to reduce the need for spraying and introduce a rose into the garden that is disease resistant and has a more graceful shape for the mixed border, then look to the old roses or some of David Austin’s more disease resistant offerings. Knockout roses have become so ubiquitous in the landscape (they are admittedly great roses), I would hesitate to specify them. Many of the old roses are not repeat flowering, but the Chinas are.

Where does this leave us with Floribundas? They have always struck me as an attempt to breed a rose that could fit into the garden, but their downfall has often been a lack of disease resistance. I would not choose a Floribunda for the garden unless the blooms were spectacular and I was willing to work for it.  Coming full circle, Hot Cocoa certainly meets the criteria.

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