The Q&A Archives: Tea Roses Revert to Wild

Question: I was shocked last year when two established hybrid tea roses came up in the spring and reverted to a wild state. The canes came up small and the leaves were small and close together. When the blooms came on, they were sparse and opened and looked like a wild rose. I have grown roses for years and never have had that problem before. Can you tell me for future use (since I dug them out and threw them away) what happened, or what I did wrong?

Answer: Your roses probably sprouted from their rootstocks. Roses, like many other plants, including fruit trees, are often grafted. That is, the upper part (in your case, the hybrid tea) is grafted onto another rootstock, often a wild relative that is particularly hardy or disease resistant. So what you saw were sprouts coming from that rootstock and overtaking the less vigorous hybrid tea. On grafted plants it is important to prune off any of these root suckers to prevent this problem.

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