Roses forum: The "Why Doesn't My Rose Bloom" Checklist

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Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses
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Steve812
Oct 9, 2012 7:48 PM CST
It's happened to all of us. Well it's happened to me, anyway. We plant a rose and we wait. The rose grows. Spring comes and goes. No flowers. Fall comes and goes. No flowers. We mulch, weed, water, fertilize with something not too rich in nitrogen. We double-check that the rose isn't getting too much shade. And three years later it's still not blooming. So what's going on?

I realized that my own Baronne Prevost was behaving exactly this way. In previous years it had been growing hardly at all, so I did not prune it this year, in precisely the way I did in previous years. But I did fertilize gently. And I did water much more generously. In response it sent up a large number of new shoots, at least ten of which reached eight feet in length. Among these there were two buds. None of the buds opened. So I'm wondering:
1) What could I possibly do to get this rose to bloom?
2) Should I chuck it? It's in a place where I want a 3 ft tall rose, not an 8 ft tall rose, is it practical to keep it at that height, and will the practices involved encourage it to bloom?
3) Should I move it. And if so when: i.e. after giving it one more chance next year, or before.

I notice from many long hours of perusing questions about roses at HMF that one of the most common is "my rose doesn't bloom" and almost all of the answers address just one issue: shade, pruning, nutrition, water, laterals/pegging, and so on. Wouldn't it be fun do come up with a complete checklist? In doing so, we might save Baronne Prevost from shovel pruning. Maybe Joanne's red hybrid tea rose, too. And maybe many others.

Any takers?
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
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Joannabanana
Oct 10, 2012 6:21 PM CST
YES, That Chrysler Imperial never did produce one bud. Weird.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
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porkpal
Oct 10, 2012 9:56 PM CST
I suggest that you must have planted it at the wrong phase of the moon.
Porkpal
Name: Toni
Denver Metro (Zone 5a)
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
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Skiekitty
Oct 11, 2012 2:17 PM CST
I had quite a few roses this year that did that for me. My biggest disappointment was Ruby Voodoo. That's my most expensive rose to date.. was $44.99 at the store. Yikes! And not one bloom this year actually.. bloomed. It formed buds once, but the buds fried with our heat. I'm hoping that next year it'll do something...
Roses are one of my passions! Just opened, my Etsy shop (to fund my rose hobby)! http://www.etsy.com/shop/TweetsnTreats
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Joannabanana
Oct 11, 2012 2:32 PM CST
$45 Wow, that was expensive!
I'm taking my Chrysler Imperial to the Rose Society meeting for the 'experts" to have a look. I hope to find out if there was some obvious visual indication of a problem with the graft. I will make some notes as to what the Rose people look for.
Apologize for the poor focus of it just after I bought & transplanted it, Mid June. The other photos are today and yes it is snow that you see
Thumb of 2012-10-11/Joannabanana/368d8e

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Name: Cindi
Wichita, Kansas (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Plant and/or Seed Trader Permaculture Roses Ponds Peonies
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CindiKS
Oct 11, 2012 4:06 PM CST
It grew that big in a pot??? Wow. Chrysler Imperial has never topped 4' in all the years I've grown one.

I thought of another non-blooming possibility to add to the list: maybe deer or other animals are eating the buds?
Mine bloom much better after I threaten them. Maybe non bloomers are just happy as foliage plants?
I have 3 sets of rose pairs that came about because I threatened the original by planting its replacement next to it. The wimpy original then sprang to life. The only reason i can think of is I may have watered that area more after planting #2.
Shrug!
Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Oct 11, 2012 7:50 PM CST
The plant-a-replacement-beside technique also works frequently for me, Threatening may also be useful. Often plants that "think" they are about to die put out an extra effort to reproduce - flowers make seeds possible. I have never thought of roses behaving that way but maybe that has always been why mine tend to bloom well.
(Many of them have been right about their imminent demise!)
Porkpal
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Joannabanana
Oct 12, 2012 7:59 AM CST
I took the problem rose to the meeting last night. We has a special guest speaker: Paul G Olson and everyone agreed that although not overly obvious, this rose had a bad graft. If you closely, the dead piece was the actual graft. All the growth was from the root stock, not the actual graft.

FYI: Paul G Olson is a rose hybridizer and one of his more recent roses is Prairie Snowdrift. The presentation was excellent.
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Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Oct 12, 2012 8:14 AM CST
Interesting! And the root stock is a non-blooming rose?
Porkpal
Name: Toni
Denver Metro (Zone 5a)
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
Charter ATP Member Irises Salvias Xeriscape Birds I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Procrastinator The WITWIT Badge Region: Colorado Enjoys or suffers cold winters Cat Lover
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Skiekitty
Oct 12, 2012 9:22 AM CST
Joanna - What is the flower in your avatar? Looks like a petunia bush.. but a HUGE one.

I'm thinking with most of my roses the reason why they didn't bloom this year was the heat & lack of "good" water. I noticed that my roses always bloom much better after a rain than when I water them with city water. Probably all the crap in the water that leeches out the nutrients in the soil. But the sun was just absolutely BRUTAL. Very few of my daylilies bloomed, the spirea never bloomed at all.. only the veronica did what it was supposed to. Heck, even my petunias didn't really start to go crazy until September! Now they're all dead. Bleh. Thumbs down Thumbs down Thumbs down
Roses are one of my passions! Just opened, my Etsy shop (to fund my rose hobby)! http://www.etsy.com/shop/TweetsnTreats
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses
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Steve812
Oct 12, 2012 11:44 AM CST
Skiekitty said:Joanna - What is the flower in your avatar? Looks like a petunia bush.. but a HUGE one.


Snowdrift?

By early spring last year it was clear that Memorial Day was dead and that Dr Huey was springing up in its place. I think I might have gotten one blossom last year. This year it sent up another shoot to about seven feet, but never bloomed. So I guess sometimes Dr Huey is too focussed on world domination to bother making flowers. So it goes.


Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Oct 12, 2012 1:48 PM CST
Joanna's rose does not have the same form as my Dr Hueys. Does anyone know what root stock might look like that?

Joanna, I hope you keep the monster to see what it does next.
Porkpal
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses
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Steve812
Oct 12, 2012 4:33 PM CST
Since it's Canada, a logical guess might be multiflora. I'm not good enough at guessing cultivars from their foliage to be able to even have a clue.
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
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zuzu
Oct 12, 2012 5:19 PM CST

Moderator

Multiflora never looks like that. I can't imagine what it could be.
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Joannabanana
Oct 13, 2012 9:06 AM CST
Hi All: I chucked the problem rose in the dumpster after the Rose Society meeting. Next time I buy a grafted rose, I will be sure to inspect the graft more closely. Most of my roses are own root, but I do buy a couple of grafted ones every year if they are a good deal

The petunia is Supertunia Vista Bubblegum. It snowed the other day, so I took that picture. There are 6 plants per barrel. The snow melted and they still look ok. We have had a couple of hard frosts, but some plants are still going. This is the longest that I have had flowers still going in the garden this late into October. Those petunias look better than some of the rudbeckias. Here's a photo of the Bubblegum Vista Supertunia earlier in the season
Thumb of 2012-10-13/Joannabanana/32cb6a
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses
Image
Steve812
Oct 13, 2012 2:58 PM CST
It's a great looking petunia. I wonder if deer will find the flowers or foliage tasty? I assume it's growing in a pot: how big is the pot? And do you grow them from seed or are they cloned and sold in six-packs at the garden center? I wonder if they would perform well or look good used like living mulch, planted underneath roses. I tried it with vining nasturtiums and they have nearly swallowed up that bit of the rosebed. Sorry for all the questions, but I tried petunias once long ago, and it was a 100% failure. It would be lovely to have something besides dahlias and oriental lilies to carry my garden through the mid-summer lull.

I spent a moment contemplating the difficulties of growing roses where you live. I know that when I moved here I looked forward to growing a lot of roses that I could not in NJ. The move added hybrid tea roses to my list of possible choices, but most tea roses seem too tender for the garden. I cannot imagine what it must be like to garden where perennial plants and shrubs must endure such frigid conditions. Clearly good sod and pots of great petunias make the task easier.

I'm trying to think of good roses with zone 3 or 4 cold hardiness. I grew Blanc Double de Coubert, a rugosa that kept its corner of the garden deliciously scented through much of the summer; but dry weather killed it. I remember growing Champlain in NJ and being very happy with it. It did not have the classic hybrid tea rose shaped blossoms, but it was a pure red; and it tolerated brutal conditions. John Franklin worked pretty well, too. I also grew Henry Kelsey which I enjoyed. John Davis, growing in a nearby park in NJ was absolutely glorious: twelve feet high and wide and covered in pink blossoms. I have planted John Davis here. One thing or another seems to induce me to move it now and again and in four years this climber still has three inches to go before it reaches knee-high. Alexander Mackenzie also grew in a park in NJ. I saw it almost completely covered in purplish/mauve flowers one spring. It was glorious, it must have reached at least 15 ft in every direction.. mmmmaybe not a good choice for a suburban garden.

I once met some gardeners from Minnesota who grew only miniature roses in pots. On halloween they would put the pots into their unheated basement where they would basically ignore them for half a year. Then in late April they would move them outside. Maybe petunias are easier.


---
(Note to self: One reason for failure to bloom is frost killing early flower buds. Another is frost killing the entire plant. And don't forget budding/rootstock issue; rootstock sometimes doesn't bloom in its first season.)
Name: Cindi
Wichita, Kansas (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Plant and/or Seed Trader Permaculture Roses Ponds Peonies
Lilies Irises Daylilies Dog Lover Beekeeper Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CindiKS
Oct 13, 2012 6:21 PM CST
Supervista pink bubblegum petunia is a terrific plant for Kansas also. No 6 packs on those! They are usually $3 for a 4" pot. Each plant spreads 3 ft every direction, though. I like the newer yellow one even more.
Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Name: Toni
Denver Metro (Zone 5a)
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
Charter ATP Member Irises Salvias Xeriscape Birds I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Procrastinator The WITWIT Badge Region: Colorado Enjoys or suffers cold winters Cat Lover
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Skiekitty
Oct 14, 2012 10:02 AM CST
Steve - Why on earth would you need zone 3-4 roses? Mine do just fine & I'm a lot colder than you are... about 90% of my roses are at least zone 6-7. I think I *may* have .. 4? 5? roses that are zone 4 (Buck) and none that I know of that are zone 3 (none of the Canadian series).
Roses are one of my passions! Just opened, my Etsy shop (to fund my rose hobby)! http://www.etsy.com/shop/TweetsnTreats
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Oct 14, 2012 11:35 AM CST
I think he was just pondering Joanne's challenges.
Porkpal
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses
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Steve812
Oct 14, 2012 11:45 AM CST
Thanks, Cindi. I guess I've failed with enough $15 roses that a $4 annual will seem like a great deal. My five year old Baronne Prevost has not made so many roses in its lifetime as I can count on one of those petunias!

Toni, Porkpal is right. I don't have much need of zone 4 cold hardiness in roses, but I'm thinking maybe Joanne might. I think you will find that a number of the rugosa-acicularis hybrids developed in Canada are rated at HMF to zone 2b. William Baffin, for example. I did not check my recommendations against HMF hardiness listings, though.

I will suggest, though, that there are precious few roses rated to zone 7 that survive spring's yo-yo weather here in zone 7b without special care. And there are a lot of roses rated to zone 6 that fail in spring, too. It may be that once I adopt the right cultural practices to deal with spring freeze-thaw cycling I'll be able to grow some zone 7 roses. My guess is that I will plant Lady Hillingdon for many years out, piling ever more mulch on the rose until either it survives spring weather or the pile becomes more than about two feet high. So far I haven't been using mulch to protect roses because I really don't like extra work. We can get very dry winters here sometimes, For some time I didn't understand the damage dry winter soil could do to roses. I know now that if the ground is bone-dry in February and March, I need to water a few times in each month. And if roses are doing anything at all in April (and they are usually setting leaves) I need to water a few times per week.

John Davis waits to set leaves until long after other roses do. It's more carefully programmed not to be fooled by early spring weather. That's useful behavior in Ontario or Alberta. Sadly, what that means for it here is that in most normal years it will be setting leaves at precisely the time the ground is most likely to be completely dried out. It's not going to be happy here until it has roots set very very deeply. They grow about an inch a year, so I'm thinking I'm going to need to tend this rose for several decades if it is to thrive here. There are not too many others from the same series I would try to grow here; one of the shortcomings of too many is a lack of fragrance. I do find I'm slowly accumulating a few Buck roses, though.
[Last edited by Steve812 - Oct 14, 2012 11:46 AM (+)]
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