The Q&A Archives: Roses Bushes

Question: some of my roses bushes are showing leaves & blooms while others appear to be doing nothing. is this unusual?

Answer: If you planted new dormant roses this spring, it is possible some are slow breaking dormancy. If they are in different areas of your yard, those in a shadier or lower area can be a week or two behind those in a more sheltered warm microclimate. Or, if they are older plants it is possible they suffered some winter damage. In either case, be very patient waiting to see new growth.

You can check to see if they are still alive by examining the canes and buds on the canes. The canes should be firm and plump, and the buds should also be firm and plump. If they are shriveled, dried out, or have discolored and turned a dull brown or dull gray color, the canes are dead. Prune out the dead canes. Begin at the tips and work your down until you reach live wood. Sometimes a winter damaged rose will need a very hard pruning, almost to the ground.

If your rose is a grafted rose, and it sends up new growth from anywhere above the graft then it will still be fine. If it is grafted and the only growth comes from below the graft, then you need to replace it. (The growth from the rootstock will not be the same as the rose you purchased.)

If your rose is grown on its own roots, meaning is not a grafted rose, then it may be able to regrow from the roots. Be very patient waiting to see new growth from below ground.

I hope this helps.

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