Roses forum: rescued roses

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Zone 5 Iowa
Sep 26, 2015 4:43 AM CST
I lucked out and got 10 rose bushes destined for the dumpster.
They are still inthe big black pots and all spindly looking. What is
my best way to plant them? Do I need to trim them back?
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses Clematis Irises
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Sages Forum moderator Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Sep 27, 2015 1:53 PM CST


That is very lucky, Carenjean! You don't mention your location, so I have to assume that you might still be experiencing hot weather. If so, just leave the roses in their pots for now. Keep them well watered, but not soggy, in some dappled shade while they recover from the shock of moving to a new location. When the weather cools down a bit, plant them into the ground if you have the space for that. Roses are happier in the ground than in containers. Don't trim them unless you see dead wood. If you do, trim the dead wood away.

When you're ready to plant them, the instructions will depend on your own location and on the types of roses. Can you tell whether they're grafted or own-root? If not, the place where you acquired them can provide a clue (if it was a nursery that sells only own-root plants, for instance). Even if they look spindly, resist the urge to fertilize them. The addition of fertilizer to plants that are already stressed can produce negative results.
Zone 5 Iowa
Sep 28, 2015 6:44 AM CST
Zone 5 all from big box store.
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
Sep 28, 2015 10:38 AM CST
Caren - You'll want to dig your holes very deep so that the graft part is at least 2" below the ground surface. Plant them, volcano the backfill up pretty high, and mulch them. Personally, I leave a few inches of the canes sticking up & bury the rest down. That's how I keep mine alive w/the cold. Have you had a frost yet?
Roses are one of my passions! Just opened, my Etsy shop (to fund my rose hobby)!
Toronto, Ontario (Zone 5b)
Peonies Roses Clematis Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Bee Lover
Cat Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Enjoys or suffers cold winters Region: Canadian Permaculture Garden Ideas: Level 2
Sep 28, 2015 1:43 PM CST

Congratulations! You can make a rose garden.

Your plants are probably grafted, so they need to be planted deeper, as Toni suggested. The idea is to keep the grafted union below the ground, so that frost cannot kill the scions. Otherwise, the understock would take over.

I would plant the roses as soon as possible so that the roots can grow. They have at least one good month of root growth, which is more than enough to survive this coming winter. The minimum soil temperature for growth root is between 32 and 41°F. For us, in Toronto, it means that roots can grow till late November, even in December. I wouldn't prune the roses now, but leave it till they start breaking dormancy in spring.

You can plant your roses as Toni suggested, and, just after the first frost, you can add more manure or compost to cover the canes, as much as you can. In addition, you can cover them with leaves (oak leaves are the best) or hay.

Your roses should be ok. I planted one of my rescued roses last year, just a day before the first snow. I could not beleive when three new canes showed up this year.

Good luck!
"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."~Albert Einstein
[Last edited by Jasmin - Sep 28, 2015 1:48 PM (+)]
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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
Sep 29, 2015 10:20 AM CST
Lucky, lucky find!!!
What are the names of the roses?
Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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