The Q&A Archives: Roses don't bloom

Question: I have some four year old Peace roses that bloomed beautifully for two years, but haven't bloomed since. The plants are healthy and are pruned every year. What's wrong? Helen Sevcik Clutier, IA

Answer: Your Peace roses have probably died above the graft and the rootstocks are growing, says Joe Brown, rose manager at Milaeger's Nursery in Racine, Wisconsin. Most tea roses are grafted onto a hardier rootstock. If the grafted variety succumbs to coldor disease, the rootstock often sends up shoots. You may be able to see if this is the case, depending on how deep you buried the graft union when you planted the roses. Dig around the base of the plants and look for the bulging graft unions. If the shoots are growing from below the graft unions, the rootstocks have taken over and it's time for you to replace the roses. If the shoots come from above the graft unions, your Peace roses are still alive and the plants probably need a sunnier spot. When you replant the, work one cup of rock phosphate into the soil surface and apply mulch. If the Peace roses have died, consider a hardier replacement. Gold Medal, Just Joey, and Summer Fashion have similar coloring and are hardier, says Brown. To help the new rose survive cold, plant the graft union two inches below ground. In early November, mound soil two feet high around the stems, and remove the soil by mid April.

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