Roses forum: Rose vigor

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Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
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Steve812
Aug 2, 2017 11:10 AM CST
Choosing a specific cultivar plays a much bigger role in success or failure than time of year planted, or pretty much any other factor, in my experience (IME). For example, as Incantation passed the end of its first full calendar year in my garden in May, it approached nearly two inches across and one inch high. Knowing it was a Barden rose and subject to slow going, I had planted it in a spot where it would get my full attention. That means it was always kept well watered and fed. I pronounced it dead in May, but then in late June when nighttime temperatures regularly got above 75F it started setting new leaves, each larger than a grain of rice but smaller than a black bean. It has since grown.. not a whit. This spring I dug up and moved a Sheila's Perfume that had been languishing in the shade of a Blush Noisette for five years - ever since the day they were both planted in that location, about three feet apart. It was still twelve inches high, as it was when I planted it six years ago. This year, with more light, it grew a second branch and it remains twelve inches tall. But I now have reason to believe that in six more years it might exceed twelve inches in height.

Twelve feet or twenty feet away from these two roses, Mme Alfred Carriere - planted a year or two after Sheila's Perfume - zoomed to eight feet in height in its first summer. Each year I remove from it ten or a hundred times as much plant material as has ever been in Incantation and Sheila's Perfume together. I dig up and move an Ascot almost every year in spring. Each one is set back a bit by the move, but overall, they all just keep on going. This cultivar so robust I almost seek out places where roses do not grow as a new location for a newly moved Ascot. Caramella FT grows a little more slowly but it is definitely vigorous. Ditto Pomponella FT. IMO, the hybrid vigor of Constance Spry, while alloyed with other factors, can be found in many of the David Austin cultivars: Graham Thomas, Teasing Georgia, Lady of Shallott. They can also endure tough conditions, a trait I find to be more pronounced in Portlandia and The Impressionist.

I'd like to use these examples to introduce a new subject.

IMO, there are two important properties of roses that rosomanes tend not to talk about quite enough: Vigor, and Persistence. Most of the really good printed rose references I have read mention vigor. No online reference I've found treats vigor with adequate rigor. In fact, I'm unaware of any that treats it at all. Vigor expresses how willing a rose is to grow under reasonably favorable conditions. A vigorous rose grows faster than one that is not vigorous over a range of generally favorable conditions. It's a well established idea. Sheila's Perfume and Incantation lack vigor. Mme Alfred Carriere and Constance SPry have vigor.

Persistence is a term I have never seen applied to roses. But some roses persist. The idea is related to how well a rose survives a range of difficult condtions such as frost, drought, poor soil, shade, hot weather, low humidity, cool nights, and so on. Sheila's Perfume is a perfect example of a rose with persistence but not vigor. Another is Judy Garland which behaves in my garden precisely as does Sheila's Perfume. It has never grown to three inches tall. It makes a single blossom each year. Then it disappears. Definitely not vigorous. Definitely persistent. (One could use the term hardiness. But the problem is that common usage of 'hardiness' refers only to cold hardiness. Specifically it refers to the coldest temperature that a cultivar can endure for some hours -- to be consistent with the USDA cold hardiness map. Cold hardiness is an essential element in persistence. But so is resistance to late spring frosts, another sort of cold hardiness. And so are a lot of things unrelated to cold weather.)

While vigor and persistence may be correlated in roses, they are definitely distinct, independent properties. In fact, sometimes roses that are too profoundly vigorous will overcommit to good conditions and fail quickly, gloriously, completely - like a car driving full speed into a granite rockface. I saw this happen with a precocious Playboy that set early new growth very quickly and vigorously and was dead a week later from an hour of light frost. Playboy lacked an element of persistence. In contrast, I would say Rise 'n' Shine has persistence. It tends to shut down in many ways whenever conditions verge on the challenging. The plant requires completely perfect conditions to bloom generously. But it survives (moderate amounts of) all sorts of abuse by pulling back and shutting down.

The best roses, especially for gardens not in the Mediterranean and Maritime climate zones, will be ones that have adequate vigor and persistence in addition to their disease resistance, habits, flower characterists, and so on. I believe that one of the reasons many Kordes roses find success stateside is that they, unlike many roses bred in California, have been bred and selected to be vigorous (in addition to being blackspot resistant and cold hardy.) Vigor and persistence are not accidental properties of a Kordes cultivar. It's true, too, of the landscape roses from Meilland. In my experience, some of the Canadian Explorer roses are a little light on the vigor side, but they tend to be quite persistent, some of them.

Seeing that Sheila's Perfume and Judy Garland are both Harkness roses and seem to be distinctive in their persistence and lack of vigor, I'd be very interested in knowing if anyone could suggest why this combination of characteristics shows up so prominently in this breeding house. Or maybe my experience with these roses is unique.


--- --- --- ---
What follows was originally the first part of the post. It is what led Steve to launch into long musings about rose vigor and persistence, now the subject of the thread ...

I agree with you Sharlene, storage can be a big problem. I lost three of thirty roses from being stored badly in one bare root shipment this spring. Despite daily watering their canes turned brown. Weak growth at the bud union was then nibbled by the garden rabbit. And they were goners. At least four more lost all their canes before growth from the bud union took over. And all but three of the remainder were materially set back by desiccation. It was easy to tell at planting time: they were light for there size and some had wrinkled or browned canes. I cannot say for sure whether it was seven of thirty or twenty seven of thirty that were materially harmed by storage, but my impulse is to say it was 27 of 30.

If my memory serves me correctly, I have had close to 100% loss rate with own root roses ordered in late summer and planted after September 15th. (This may be an incorrect impression for a few multiflora hybrids, but I'm pretty sure it holds for just about every hybrid tea rose.) I think that roses here tend to be caught off guard by fall frosts more than they were in NJ. And I think it's because daytime temperatures can easily be in the mid or high seventies on nights with frost here, whereas in NJ it was more common to have two or three weeks with daytime temps in the fifties before frosts. Also, further north the number of daylight hours changes more profoundly through the year than it does at this latitude. I expect that this gentle slide into winter might be even more prominent in parts of Western Europe than it was on the US east coast. Certainly the change in daylight hours is more profound.

I'm hoping that a full growing season with high diurnal temperature swings (cool nights nights and warm days) will temper the roses now growing in pots so that they are not quite so greenhouse-soft as ones that fall off the truck in late September. I will find out a little more next year because I have nearly a dozen that have been growing in pots since spring that will be going into the ground one at a time between now and, say, mid February - as I make room for them. It's not a strictly controlled experiment, but it may give me a little more anecdotal information. I am trying to keep the pots from overheating in the February sun and intend to move the plants into part shade or else get the plants into the ground before overheated roots prompt vigorous early growth.

My hypothesis is that new early fall arrivals are not appropriately hardened off for the kind of fall weather we have here. If a large portion of the potted roses I plant this fall/winter/spring survive, it provide good evidence in support of this lack-of-hardening idea.

I'm not aware of any bare root rose suppliers in the US that ship outside the traditional spring window (which for me is April 12th to 24th for bare root roses.)

Choosing a the right time of year to plant a rose in a particular climate can be of crucial importance, but...

--- Edited to move the background information below the dashed line, add a few more examples, and add the idea of daylight hour variations/latitude ---
[Last edited by Steve812 - Aug 3, 2017 8:41 AM (+)]
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Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
Aug 2, 2017 11:52 AM CST

Moderator

I love, love, love this post! You've stated your case with regard to vigor and persistence so well, and I do want to respond with my own experiences, but I'm going out to lunch and won't be back for a few hours.
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
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Steve812
Aug 2, 2017 3:27 PM CST
Thank You! I'm delighted to hear it!
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
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zuzu
Aug 2, 2017 5:14 PM CST

Moderator

I have so many thoughts on this matter. As you may know, six months ago I retired from my NGA admin duties in order to become a full-time gardener. I'm also retired from my job, which means that I have more time but less money and less strength and energy. I have half an acre of gardens, including about 2,000 rose bushes, and I now lack the funds to hire any gardening help.

The roses that exhibit persistence and a lack of vigor have become a thorn in my side. They require the same amount of water, compost, and care as the larger roses, but they're freakishly small and they produce only a few blooms a year. Some, in fact, produce just one bloom or none. Nahema has been growing here since 2008, for example, and although it produces a good amount of healthy foliage and is about 3 feet tall, in contrast to most of the other "perseverers," which range from 4 inches to 12 inches in height, it still has not produced any blooms.

I'm seriously considering the removal of my hundreds of roses that persevere with no show of vigor because there's so little return on the investment of my time and energy (not to mention the cost of the gopher-proof cages surrounding each one). I'm sure that I've kept them only to reward them for their persistence.

In my garden, however, there is a clear correlation of own-root/grafted to nonvigorous/vigorous. If you walked through my garden, you could easily pick out the own-root roses in most cases. Each flower bed is full of large grafted roses interspersed with small own-root roses. There are a few exceptions, of course. My own-root Postillion is one of the largest and most floriferous roses in my garden, and my own-root OGRs are quite large as well. In most cases, however, grafting equals persistence and vigor in my garden.

I can illustrate this with my experience with Harkness roses. My Sheila's Perfume and Judy Garland, in contrast to yours, are extremely large and vigorous plants, but both are grafted. (Sheila's Perfume, by the way, is not a Harkness rose. It was introduced by the Harkness Company, but it was bred by Sheridan.) I have 58 Harkness roses -- 21 own-root and 37 grafted. I have 16 Harkness roses that lack vigor. They're alive and many have been alive for 15-20 years, but they're from 6 to 12 inches tall and are largely a waste of space. All of them, without exception, are own-root roses. I have only 5 Harkness own-root roses of a normal size. In contrast, all 37 of my grafted Harkness roses display persistence and vigor.

I have 116 Kordes roses, but only 20 of them are own-root roses. Of these 20, 17 are small and unremarkable specimens that should be removed from my garden. All of my Meilland landscape roses are grafted, and whereas it's possible that they would be just as vigorous if they weren't grafted, I personally doubt that they would be equal. I have two own-root Sally Holmes roses, for instance, and although they are vigorous and some people would claim that a hybrid musk doesn't require grafting, they don't hold a candle to the grafted Sally Holmes I had to remove a few years ago when I had septic tank problems.
Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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RoseBlush1
Aug 2, 2017 11:15 PM CST
About my dithering ... I have decided to order for fall planting. Thanks again for the feedback.

I asked Sue to move the discussion about vigor to a new thread so that it doesn't get lost in the July chat thread. I love this kind of discussion.

I hope I have time to add my two cents tomorrow.

I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
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Calif_Sue
Aug 2, 2017 11:38 PM CST

Moderator

@Steve812, didn't see your moderator note in your post until I split this thread (need to tag me nodding ) Go ahead and edit your post to where you want it to make sense for this new thread.
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Name: Lilli
Copenhagen, Denmark, EU
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IrisLilli
Aug 3, 2017 5:14 AM CST
I have been looking into the question of fall vs. spring planting of roses and there are lots of opinions on this, many of them contradicting each other, so I think reading about the personal experiences of people here is very interesting.

My two cents worth:
I come from a family of garden enthusiasts and professional gardeners and I learned early on that the best way to ensure that your roses thrive is to plant bare root roses in fall. After 10 years of growing my own roses, I still hold this to be true - for my climate and for roses made for my climate!

I think Lyn made an excellent point when she talked about winters vs. summers being the hardest season for roses. Our winters are not particularly cold, rarely below - 20 C and most roses sold here (the vast majority are sold as grafted roses) will easily survive that, even if you are too lazy to mulch them or provide other kinds of winter protection. (I do provide winter protection to new roses for the first couple of years). Late spring frosts will harm roses which put out very early spring growth, but not kill them. (At least I have never had that happen with any rose, new or old). I never prune roses planted in fall the following spring.

Our summers are not very varm, but they can be dry and as newly planted roses (and most other plants) do not like being dry when they are working on becoming established, it makes sense to plant in fall and give the plant as much time as possible to establish a healthy root system. (No matter how well you water a newly planted rose it will suffer if the roots are to small for the amount of foliage the plant has). Nurseries here recommend planting bare root roses as late as November, which I have done more than once and never lost a plant. Some even recommend planting in winter as long as the ground is not frozen. Why will this work? Because even though the bare root roses are (semi-)dormant, they will start to put out new roots as soon as they are planted, as long as they get enough water and the ground is not frozen solid. This is not the case for all climates of course, the zone is important as we usually have mild, wet falls and rarely hard frosts in December. If we had very cold winters, I would plant my roses in early spring as soon as the ground thawed and became dry enough to work or I would try to be very well organised and prepare the beds in fall. Angel Hilarious!

Bare root roses in Denmark are 'harvested' in fall and thus fall planting means planting fresh roses. The bare root roses you receive in spring are mostly OK, but I have received a few dry twigs, most likely due to poor winter storage. If you can manage to get bare root roses from a good grower, the root systems are larger and better developed than on roses grown in pots, as nurseries tend to use pots that are too small because they take up less room, are cheaper and require less potting soil. To compensate for the underdeveloped root systems, potted roses are kept very, very well watered and given lots of fertiliser - something which can contribute to transplanting shock when they are transferred to the garden - another reason I prefer my roses bare root.

So I have a number of reasons to prefer bare root roses and fall planting, but as I see it, your zone and the kind of rose you are planting (and the quality of the roses available to you) will determine if you should plant in fall or spring or if both will work just fine.

(Disclaimer: I do not grow roses with 'crown grafts' aka standard or tree roses, but as they can be more sensitive to cold, planting in spring would give them time to become established before their first winter, but in cold climates I assume they will need extra winter protection regardless. I think I remember Sharlene and others giving good advice on this in an earlier thread. )


Sources on fall vs. spring planting:

The RHS making recommendations for gardeners in the UK with conditions similar to mine simply states:
"Bare-root roses: Plant in late autumn at leaf fall, and from late winter to early spring, before growth resumes. Avoid planting in the middle of winter when the ground is frozen.
Containerised and container-grown roses: Plant all year round, provided the ground is neither frozen, nor very dry."

(My advice: if you plant a rose in summer, be sure to have the garden hose handy! Blinking )

I do not have much experience with own root roses (except Rosa glauca and other 'wild' roses which self seeds here) but this article argues that they should be planted in fall:
http://www.rose.org/clippings-...

Paul Zimmerman on early fall planting of container roses:
http://paulzimmermanroses.com/...

In general, I have noticed that American sources mostly recommend spring planting whereas North European sources recommend both, but I am not sure if this is merely a difference in tradition or due to different ways of growing roses or both. Suggestions welcome! I'm all ears!







You don't know if it will grow until you try!
Name: Sharlene
St. Gallen - Switzerland (Zone 6a)
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sunnyvalley
Aug 3, 2017 11:49 AM CST
Lilli - very well put! My sentiments exactly.

Your message:
IrisLilli said:
In general, I have noticed that American sources mostly recommend spring planting whereas North European sources recommend both, but I am not sure if this is merely a difference in tradition or due to different ways of growing roses or both. Suggestions welcome! I'm all ears!


I have often wondered about this as well. US and CA growers also harvest in autumn just like they do here in Europe so why only ship in spring?
Name: Carol Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
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csandt
Aug 3, 2017 12:38 PM CST
sunnyvalley said:Lilli - very well put! My sentiments exactly.

Your message:


I have often wondered about this as well. US and CA growers also harvest in autumn just like they do here in Europe so why only ship in spring?


Since I know that Palatine Roses starts taking orders in September (if I recall correctly from 2016), I recently asked them whether it would be better for me to plant their bare-root grafted (on multiflora rose stock) roses this fall or next spring in my zone 6b Pennsylvania garden.

Palatine's response:

"Fall planting is ideal as long it is done well and your ground is still soft (workable) in mid November. Of course this is always a little bit of a guessing game as mother nature seems to be out of sorts lately. Moreover, it requires confidence in the gardener as we do not guarantee the roses to over winter. The reason gardens welcome the risk is because the plant will be more in harmony with your spring and pick up all the growth right from the start. Done well these plants will be very well adjusted the first growing season."
Carol Sandt
"Hope is the simple trust that God has not forgotten the recipe for manna.” - W. Paul Jones in "Trumpet at Full Moon"
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
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Steve812
Aug 3, 2017 7:28 PM CST
Zuzu, those are very useful statistics. It seems to me that a rather useful generalization might be "Hybrid tea roses grown on their own roots lack vigor." Big time. I think we have plenty of evidence for that assertion. But as with many good guidlines there are a number of important exceptions you have observe to this rule. I'd be happy to learn what they are.

I take from your statistics that you find lack of vigor among hybrid tea roses to be pretty much equally prevalent among HT roses from all rose breeders, regardless of their breeding program or point of origin. It sounds, too, that you find the vigor among hybrid tea roses budded onto multiflora and Dr. Huey rootstock to be satisfactory in an almost uniform way.

It sounds to me that my problems with hybrid tea roses include many of the ones you have. But I think the HT roses in my garden have vigor problems that extend well above ground level.

---> A painfully long and detailed discussion on which roses are vigorous in Steve's Prescott AZ Garden <---- (Here's hoping this might help somebody somewhere sometime.)

Among roses growing on multiflora or Dr. Huey rootstock I would be hard pressed to name six HT cultivars that I would characterize as vigorous here. I would say it of Selfridges. The one planted nearest Blush Noisette is beginning to shade that rose out and it needs to be trimmed! Liebeszauber (renamed as Love's Magic, I believe) can produce long canes, but in its five years here it has completed but a single one of these. Right now its feet are in a running stream and I expect it to make a second long cane before frost. And yes, in my garden this is an example of a vigorous hybrid tea rose. I have a Beverly in its second year that has produced one strong growing cane, so there is hope. I mentioned Ascot as an example of a vigorous rose. It is officially classed as a HT rose, but I take exception to the classification: I think it of it more as a hybrid perpetual because of the cupped shape of its blooms. Conversely, I think of Marchioness of Londonderry as a HT rose, but it is officially a hybrid perpetual. Either way, it is vigorous on its own roots. That's my full list of vigorous hybrid tea roses, that have survived a full year in my AZ garden. The list may change as I pay more attention to controlling moisture level and pH in the soil.

In NJ, I would have listed Midas Touch as vigorous, but I cannot grow that rose here. Wherever I plant it, I find its new growth too tender and delicious to withstand the pressures of nibbling animals. This time last year I might have ascribed vigor to Grande Dame but the poor thing melted away to nothing after being pruned (by about a third) in late March. This timing woud have been before setting new leaves and (unique to this year) after all the hard frosts were done. It may be more reasonable to ascribe the failure to a lack of persistence - since one might think of pruning as a trauma from which a rose must recover. When it is growing from a running start, Grande Dame does strike me as having vigor. But right now it is recovering painfully slowIy.

I ascribe adequate vigor to neither Firefighter nor Leanne Rimes. Both can get large, but it takes three full seasons to reach terminal height of eight feet in my garden. Neither can be troubled to make more than about four blossoms in a growing season - regardless of the way they are pruned, watered, trained, or fertilized. Olympiad has not yet recovered from being lightly nibbled by deer in May 2016 but maybe it is suffering from being crowded by a very vigorous daylily planted at its feet. I may succeed with it, and I'm willing to make special efforts. All of these are/were growing on Dr. Huey rootstock.

I love Folklore, and have hopes of learning to grow it well; but on neither multiflora nor Dr Huey rootstock is it anything like as vigorous as, say, Ispahan.

In its first season, Duftzauber 84 did quite well; but it slowly deteriorated thereafter. No evidence of root damage from gophers was observed when Dz 84 was shovel pruned. I have since tested the pH of this site and it is around 7.8. I am guessing that this might have a problem for the multiflora rootstock. Some years later the ritual spreading of elemental sulfur has begun in this and neighboring beds.

Janet Carnochan, Paradise, and Charles de Gaulle on multiflora rootstock (where the pH is more like 7.3) did much worse. They languished from day one, never reaching 42 inches in height and producing among them not a dozen blooms over four growing seasons. C. de Gaulle was called "the best of the mauve HT roses" at the VG website long ago, so as HT roses go, it cannot be viewed as an exceptional slouch for that class. Moonstone, one of the highest rated HT roses by the ARS, growing on multiflora rootstock has not reached waist height in five years. This year it did not bother to bloom despite (or perhaps because of?) being given extra rations of water starting in March. I cannot say that these are bad roses. I can only say that grown here, in comparison to nearly every rose that is not a HT rose, they are simply not adequately vigorous to warrant the space they take up. They are, in fact, barely more interesting than gravel. And they require materially more care.

Grand Amore certainly has persistence, and I think its retrograde progress is mostly attributable to being grown in miserably poor soil that dries out quickly. But in these miserable conditions it does not demonstrate even a tiny fraction of the vigor displayed by Rene Andre, growing less than fifteen feet away. So by HT standards it is exceptional. In comparison to good roses in other classes, not so much.

Gemini and Double Delight, too, have a measure of persistence in my garden, but even on Dr. Huey rootstock they grow painfully slowly. Gemini is six years old and its single cane has not reached 36 inches. It does seem to be responding well to extra water, so by this time two years from now I might change my opinion of this rose. Four year old Double Delight has not reached eighteen inches in height, but part of the problem was having the rootstock nibbled to a nub by gophers. Only a rose with exceptional persistance can even stay alive after such an insult. But I have grown DD on three or four occasions and on at least two different rootstocks. I have never found it to be so vigorous as a fairly middling floribunda.

Floribundas can be finicky or not. Larissa (multiflora rootstock) is vigorous to a fault. Maybe it's better to think of it as a shrub rose than as a floribunda. In two years' time it has reached six feet in every direction and it is as densely branched and covered with foliage as a really well cared for box hedge. Although it starts flowering a little later than most roses in my garden, it flowers continuously. Surprisingly, it barely blinks if I forget to water it for a week or two in spring. It is a foliage and flower making machine. It is the poster child for a vigorous rose. Caramella FT and Pomponella FT exist in the same universe of discourse, but are materially less vigorous. Europeana, still fairly vigorous, is notiecably less so than this. It is thirsty in comparison and it sulks through the hot, dry spells regardless of how much supplemental water it gets. Cherry Parfait is adequately vigorous for my gardening needs. Its mode of sulking is perfectly matched to my conditions, too. It simply stops making new foliage until it gets adequate water. And then it starts growing gingerly. In terms of vigor, even the slacker Cherry Parfait runs rings all but one or two HT roses in my garden. (OK, I admit: that's not many but it should go without saying that it also runs rings around the many dozens of HT roses that have died there, too.)

Rainbow Sorbet falls a bit behind these floribundas in terms of vigor. It is my guess that given better conditions it might grow more willingly than Cherry Parfait.

Almost three growing seasons ago I pruned three waist-high Rainbow Sorbet roses to three different heights. On one I removed a token amount of foliage, barely six inches' worth. On another I removed maybe a third. On the third plant I removed two thirds of the cane length. The one most severely pruned one dried out. Its canes grew brittle and were broken off at the ground by the garden hose. It is now two inches high and six inches across. It is in sore need of a heap of fertilizer and some chelated iron. The middle one has fully recovered. In no case would I say it was any better than the one that was lightly tipped. One might argue that this is more about pruning than it is about vigor; but a rose that takes more than two growing seasons to recover from a moderately light pruning session, IMO, cannot be characterized as a vigorous rose - especially if we accept as a standard the practice of cutting HT roses more than this.

This year (somewhat by accident) I did precisely the same pruning experiment with three Gourmet Popcorn roses (multiflora roots) which I think of as being moderately vigorous. I had similar (though less dramatically) different outcomes. In both of these cases, I would assert that the cultivar I pruned was:
a) much, much more vigorous than all but one or two exceptional hybrid tea roses attempted in my garden here, and that it was also
b) a little below the optimum level of vigor for my garden.

In its second year, the Prairie Star (own root) that replaced Janet Carnochan (on multiflora rootstock) is taller, has five times as much foliage, and has already produced more flowers than its predecessor did over its five years in that spot. When it shades out nearby Moonstone in a year or two, I will not fret about removing that highly rated HT rose. Neil Diamond (on Dr Huey rootstock) - which is planted in precisely the spot occupied by Paradise (on multiflora rootstock) - has, in its first year, produced more blossoms and foliage than Paradise did over its five years there. I'm not going to claim that Neil Diamond is a better rose. I don't know whether it will survive its first winter here, and while the flowers are very neat and well organized, they don't steal your heart away as do those of Paradise. But the plant is certainly more vigorous. Neil Diamond towers over Papa Meilland (Dr. Huey) three or four feet distant. The two were planted within minutes of each other. Would any reasonable person seeing these roses growing side by side say that Papa Meilland is precisely as vigorous as Neil Diamond? Or that the differences are because of rootstock? They are both grafted to Dr. Huey rootstock, and supplied by the same distributor, planted on the same day in the same soil, given the same amounts of water and sunlight.

(Forgive me for repeating this story but..) I have planted Sexy Rexy on its own roots, on multiflora rootstock, and on Dr Huey rootstock. None has reached knee height. The three year old one on multiflora rootstock produced a flower for the first time this year. Twelve feet away in one direction I am struggling to keep eight foot tall Crocus Rose (Dr Huey rootstock) from taking over the garden. Eight feet away in the other direction I prune Mme Alfred Carriere (own root) three times in a season to keep it from shading vast swathes of the garden and choking out, among other roses, Sexy Rexy. Surely a reasonable person observing these roses in my garden over time would ascribe to Crocus Rose and Mme AC a greater measure of vigor than they would to Sexy Rexy? In these cases it is about something more than just rootstock.

Some of the most vigorous roses and most pleasing roses in my garden are on their own roots: Psyche, Blush Noisette, Amy Robsart, Darwin's Enigma, Chevy Chase, Ghislaine de Feligonde, Zepherine Drouhin, Baronne Prevost, Hermosa, Prairie Star, Mme Alfred Carriere, Prosperity, and Parade. Parade, I think, is classified as a hybrid tea rose climber. On its own roots, however, calling it a climber is a bit of a stretch: in five years it has grown to as many feet in every direction. That said, in comparison to most HT roses including America - also classified a hybrid tea climber - it strikes me as being vigorous. But its flowers are nothing like the classic HT in shape. Officially it is a HT rose; but in none of its observable characteristics of vigor, health, or flower shape does it match the HT mold.

Rootstock definitely can play a profound role in imparting vigor to a rose plant - especially to certain of the HT roses that lack vigor that are grown in the conditions characteristic of the Santa Rosa area; but in my garden rootstock is far from the only factor in rose vigor. In only tiny number of cases will a hybrid tea rose, even one grown on multiflora or Dr Huey rootstock demonstrate anything close to an adequate level of vigor. It's a level of vigor that is common among middling floribundas. It's a level of vigor that's easily met or exceeded by just about every popular David Austin rose. It's a level of vigor that the Kordes fairy tale roses exceed by a huge margin. I find that the part of the plant that is above ground level plays a profound role, in a rose's vigor. In locales like mine, simply being a HT rose seems to be a profound handicap- regardless of rootstock.


---> Four Lists Grouping Roses by Vigor as Perceived by Steve in his Prescott AZ Garden <----
I know that I live in a place totally unique for the prominence of its late spring freezes, for the large temperatures swings that occur almost daily, and for the six month long dry spells that occur in the spring months when roses are expected to set new foliage and make long new canes. Many gardeners will face fewer problems with water and wild temperatures, but many will have more challenges with disease. That said, it is my hope that my experience might help inform the choices of others, so I've made some lists of roses that have survived at least one full year here, ones for which I have some kind of informed opinion. I've made a very cursory and informal attempt to make some gradation within these lists so that even within a list more vigorous roses tend to fall higher on the list than less vigorous ones. Experiences will vary...

LISTS
Vigorous - Frequently require midseason pruning to stay Inbounds. And/or they establish very quickly. And/or they bloom with exceptional profusion or continuity.
- Larissa
- Mme Alfred Carriere (own root)
- Ghislaine de Feligonde (own root)
- Crocus Rose
- Psyche (own root)
- Darwin's Enigma (own root)
- Chevy Chase (own root)
- Ispahan
- Rosanna
- Mme Plantier
- Ascot
- Nouveau Monde (own root)
- Malvern Hills*
- Graham Thomas **
- South Africa **
- Teasing Georgia
- Lady of Shallott
- Baronne Prevost (own root)
- Selfridges**
- Conrad Heinrich Soth
- James Mason (own root)
- Desiree Parmentier (own root)
- Rosy Cushion (own root)
- Water Lily

Suitably Vigorous - Grow within five years to their intended size and adequately fill that niche even with light annual or biennial pruning.
- Zepherine Drouhin* (own root)
- Blush Noisette (own root)
- Amy Robsart (own root)
- Abraham Darby
- Colorific
- Ilse Krohn Superieur
- Hermosa (own root)
- Parade (own root)
- Sombreuil (own root)
- April Moon (own root)
- Prairie Star (own root)
- Rene Andre
- Awakening (own root)
- Europeana**
- Looping** (own root)
- The Generous Gardener**
- Day Breaker **
- Nicole**
- Cherry Parfait**
- Charlotte
- Rugosa Alba** (own root)
- Thor (own root)
- Souvenir de Brod
- Mme Isaac Perreire (own root)
- Baltimore Belle (own root)
- Tess of the d'Ubervilles
- Prosperity** (own root)
- Julia Child
- Charlotte (own root)
- Portlandia (own root)
- Princess Alexandria of Kent
- Darcy Bussell
- Caramella FT
- Pomponella FT
- Marchioness of Londonderry
- Golden Celebration
- Gourmet Popcorn
- Jacqueline du Pre (own root)
- Westerland
- Knock Out
- Oranges 'n' Lemons
- White Licorice
- Trumpeter or Showbiz (not sure which)
- Lady Pamela Carol (own root)
- Rainbow Sorbet**
- Claire Austin**
- Susan Williams -Ellis
- LD Braithwaite
- Noble Antony
- William Shakespeare 2000
- Camelot**
- Dicky**
- Orfeo**
- Pink Pet (Caldwell Pink) (own root)
- Pink Parfait
- Chatillon Rose
- Linnea's Rose (own root)
- Morning Has Broken
- Moje Hammarberg
- Ilse Krohn Superieur


Alive (Suitably Persistent but not Suitably Vigorous) - Fail to establish in a timely fashion, fail to bloom enough, fail to recover from pruning, overly susceptible to drought, and so on.
- Firefighter
- Leanne Rimes
- Gemini
- Grande Dame
- Double Delight
- Typhoo Tea (own root)
- The King's Rubies (own root)
- Melody Parfumee
- Folklore
- Falstaff
- La Ville Bruxelles
- Antique 89
- Harlequin
- Dreaming Spires
- Handel
- Red Eden (own root)
- Rise 'n' Shine (own root)
- Cardinal Hume (own root)
- Centennaire des Lourdes (own root)
- Chinatown (own Root)
- Mardi Gras
- Sexy Rexy (own root, multiflora, Dr. Huey)
- Sunsprite
- Gold Badge, Climbing
- White Out
- Auguste Renoir
- The Impressionist (own root)
- Ambridge Rose
- Blossomtime (own root)
- Great Western (own root)
- Wine Cup (own root)
- America (own root)
- Agatha Christie (own root)
- Don Juan (own root)
- Queen of Sweden
- Brass Band
- Devoniensis Shrub (own root)
- Winsome (own root)
- Cupcake (own root)
- Roxy
- Judy Garland
- Sheila's Perfume (own root)
- Incantation (own root)

Not Suitably Vigorous. And/or Intolerant of Spring and Early Summer Conditions here: drought, late freezes, animal attacks, high pH, floods, fungal problems during monsoons, bad mojo, etc. See also, dead and gone from the grounds here.
- Every other hybrid tea rose I've tried on its own roots, a list of probably 100 or more - too many to list here.
- Dozens of HT roses on multiflora rootstock. including Duftzauber 84, Charles de Gaulle, Janet Carnochan, and Paradise.
- Every Floribunda purchased from Vintage Gardens (own root) Ivory Fashion, Parfait, Geisha, and Playboy were in this list. Cent. des Lourdes, Gold Badge, and Sexy Rexy survive, just
- And more.


* When given more than five years to establish
** Only with planty of supplemental water.
-




Name: Carol Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Peonies Butterflies Region: Mid-Atlantic Hibiscus Daylilies Xeriscape
Hostas Roses Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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csandt
Aug 3, 2017 7:54 PM CST
Steve,
This is a great thread, and thank you for your lists!
Have you tried to grow Savannah (HT) in Arizona?
I learned of it from "Roses without chemicals" by Peter Kukielski, where it was praised as a very tough rose. (See scanned page from this book below.)
He suggests not pruning for at least the first year. He prefers to observe how the rose wants to grow during that time and, once pruning begins, doing it in moderation to encourage that growth pattern rather than change it.
I planted three Savannah (own root) from Chamblee's in spring, 2016 and love this cultivar.
I would be curious about how it would perform for you in your extreme conditions.
Thumb of 2017-08-04/csandt/71f394


Carol Sandt
"Hope is the simple trust that God has not forgotten the recipe for manna.” - W. Paul Jones in "Trumpet at Full Moon"
[Last edited by csandt - Aug 4, 2017 7:39 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1519526 (11)
Name: Lilli
Copenhagen, Denmark, EU
Irises Roses Bulbs Hellebores Foliage Fan Cottage Gardener
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Seed Starter Winter Sowing Bee Lover Dog Lover Region: Europe
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IrisLilli
Aug 4, 2017 4:13 AM CST
This really is an interesting subject and I hope others will share their thoughts and experiences. I'm all ears!
You don't know if it will grow until you try!
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
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Steve812
Aug 4, 2017 8:04 AM CST
Thank You, Carol, for your recommendation of Savannah. I keep forgetting about Chamblees, and I thank you also for reminding me of them. On your recommendation, I bought the book a few months back. It will take some time for me to work his recommendations into my garden because - as much as I love to complain about photogenic roses that perform poorly in marginal conditions, I also like to take pretty photographs. Sometimes I think that if there is a tiny weakness to the book it is in making us feel really drawn to the beauty of the roses it recommends. Still, there are a lot of good choices there and I will be working them into the garden.

I am delighted, Lilli, that you are interested in the subject, and I very much share your hope that others share their thoughts and ideas. I'm all ears!
Name: Carol Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Peonies Butterflies Region: Mid-Atlantic Hibiscus Daylilies Xeriscape
Hostas Roses Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
csandt
Aug 4, 2017 8:14 AM CST
Steve,
Like you, "Roses without chemicals" is over-the-top enthusiastic about Larissa as a very tough rose, in addition to its other excellent qualities.
Carol Sandt
"Hope is the simple trust that God has not forgotten the recipe for manna.” - W. Paul Jones in "Trumpet at Full Moon"
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
Image
Steve812
Aug 4, 2017 12:20 PM CST
Carol,
For a long time my answer to the question "If you had to settle for just one rose" changed as one rose plant stopped blooming and another started. Or as I moved from looking at photos of one rose to looking at photos of another. I'm sure that it will change again. That said, as I think about Larissa, it really does seem like a favorite, and I find it hard to support the thesis that some other rose is better from any objective point of view. From the moment I put Larissa in the ground I was blown away. Yes, I covet big flowers and Larissa does not have them. But if one can imagine just for a moment giving that up, Larissa has everything else:

1) Great Vigor
2) Fabby shiny green foliage
3) Spectacular habit with lots of branching - almost unprecedented in roses
4) Great Disease Resistance (IME. It might be different elsewhere)
5) Nearly continuous flowering - more than any rose in my garden.
6) Cute, neatly shaped flowers
7) Good, and sometimes great flower production
8) Some fragrance early in the morning on moist days.
9) A remarkable level of resistance to drought
10) A foliage quality that is not so desirable to deer as the purple-hued foliage new growth found on HT roses and floribundas.

There are rose plants that can look awkward or downright ugly during the winter. And there are some that look ugly whenever they are not in bloom. In the case of Larissa, I could almost imagine a person growing it for the look of the plant without flowers! There just are not very many roses in that category. I would hesitate to claim that it is evergreen here; but I do not have any mental impression of it without leaves. And it's right at the entrance to the garden where I see it maybe six or twelve times a week, even in February.

Tastes vary. So I can only recommend it to someone who looks at a photo of it and says "Ahhhhhh, Yes! That is exactly what I need in my garden!" In such a case, I think it very possibly could be perfect. Or close to it.

BTW. Thrips looooove the flowers, and one might need to consider a systemmic pesticide unless one is willing to lose flowers until predators establish (here that happens mid summer.)

I have not pruned it, yet. So I do not know how it will take to that. It will be the first rose I have ever grown to be vigorous enough to warrant pruning in its third season.

Here is a photo of Larissa taken July 1, 2017.
Thumb of 2017-08-04/Steve812/a8b09e

Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
RoseBlush1
Aug 4, 2017 12:45 PM CST
IrisLilli said:This really is an interesting subject and I hope others will share their thoughts and experiences. I'm all ears!


I'd love to spend more time on this thread because like Zuzu, I have many thoughts I'd like to share, but this is simply the wrong time for me to be sitting in front of the computer.

I am taking a quick break and then need to get back outside asap.

I have had very different results with many of the roses Steve has mentioned in his posts and those results cannot all be attributed to climate differences.

I often say there are a lot of right ways to grow roses. That is because people use different cultural methods to grow roses in their gardens and if they get good results, that is the right way to grow roses in that garden. Those methods suit that climate, soil and the gardener's work style. Why change them ? The time to change them is when something is not working.

IMO, there are two important properties of roses that rosomanes tend not to talk about quite enough: Vigor, and Persistence. Most of the really good printed rose references I have read mention vigor. No online reference I've found treats vigor with adequate rigor. In fact, I'm unaware of any that treats it at all. Vigor expresses how willing a rose is to grow under reasonably favorable conditions. A vigorous rose grows faster than one that is not vigorous over a range of generally favorable conditions


Steve, unless all gardeners are following the same cultural methods, there are simply too many variables that come into play to determine whether or not a rose meets your tests for vigor and persistence in all gardens in all conditions.

You mentioned in earlier posts this year that you are giving your roses more water than you have in the past and can see a visiable difference in their performance. That is only one variable other than climate that could impact the vigor of a rose. You would need to view your roses for another five years with different watering practices to have a valid comparison. YIKES !

This is part of why you will not find references about whether or not a rose is a strong plant.

I can list several cultural practices that can have an impact on both vigor and persistence.

More importantly, roses have been bred and sold for the bloom for more than 100 years. If a rose had a beautiful bloom and was a lousy plant, people still bought it because it was "so beautiful". Then they wondered why the plant really never performed. A couple of people wrote about 'Purple Tiger' in last month's chat thread. That rose is a perfect example of what I am talking about.

Kim has often said that any rose that had 'Grey Pearl' in its lineage inherited a death gene and was invariably a weak plant. There are MANY roses that were sold since the early 1800s for the bloom alone. The roses that have stood the test of time, are the roses that were also good plants.

Many of the roses introduced since WWII were selected by the marketing departments of the large distributors, not the head of the hybridizing operations. The roses selected for commerce were not selected because they were good plants, they were selected because the marketing department thought they would "sell".

Roses were marketed as if they would grow in all climates, all soils equally well. That's just not true. The only variable that was considered worth mentioning was cold hardiness.

btw .... The only California roses are those bred by California breeders. Weeks roses and Jackson & Perkins, the largest rose distributors before J & P's bankruptcy, also introduced many roses bred by European breeders. Many of most beloved HTs and floribundas were not bred in Califoria.

I've got to head out again ... Smiling

I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Carol Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Peonies Butterflies Region: Mid-Atlantic Hibiscus Daylilies Xeriscape
Hostas Roses Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
csandt
Aug 4, 2017 2:01 PM CST
Steve,
Larissa sounds great except for its attractiveness to thrips. Most of the blooms on my roses, with a few notable exceptions, have had ugly brown edges since they started to bloom. I am assuming that is caused by thrips. Only now are the blooms on some of those roses starting to look good (no brown edges). i don't want to resort to chemical warfare just yet. I hope that some cultivars are better than others in terms of attractiveness to thrips. Of the cultivars I planted in 2016, Savannah is the only one that the thrips mostly leave alone, and Wedding Bells, Beverly and Grafin Diana are like magnets for them. All this assumes that thrips, rather than some other villain, are responsible for the brown edges.
Carol Sandt
"Hope is the simple trust that God has not forgotten the recipe for manna.” - W. Paul Jones in "Trumpet at Full Moon"
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
Image
Steve812
Aug 4, 2017 5:48 PM CST
Lyn,

Yes, before budding became the standard method for propagating roses, all new roses had to do well on their own roots. Roses that would not, could not be economically propagated because, given the best available cultural practices carried out by the ninteenth century's best agrarians in one or two of the worlds most fertile and productive rose-growing regions (at the time), the roses were not vigorous enough. This means that roses popular before (just guessing here) 1900 or 1917 should do well on their own roots, given conditions resembling those of the fields in which they were first propagated.

I agree with you that budding made possible the propagation of roses that had insufficient vigor to be propagated were they not budded onto more vigorous rootstock. So it sounds to me like we are in complete agreement about whether there exists a collection of roses that, when grown on their own roots are insufficiently vigorous, given any cultural practices in any garden. And that group of roses would have been bred and sold at least after WWI. Not that all were insufficiently vigorous, just that the roses that were not vigorous were no longer culled out. And as time wore on, that could have ended up constituting a large portion of the roses being bred.

I agree with you that the methods for selecting roses to be mass marketed from the point in time at which Peace swept through the US just after WWII until (for the sake of argument) the point in time when J&P declared bankrupcy (or maybe fifteen years earlier when Knock Out was introduced) was a dark time for rose health in the US. A skeptic might be tempted to assert that groups such as the AARS which certified certain roses as being suitible for broad distribution via their annual awards were doing nothing but giving false assurances in order to sell roses. I happen to think there was a little more to it, but I cannot help but wonder whether it hurt more than it helped by fooling us into buying worse roses than we otherwise would have.

I will glady tell you that I am not thinking that my lists about vigor as some universal "answer." I think of them more as the starting point of a discussion. I am completely confident that different people will have different experiences with the same cultivar. But I am also completely confident that some people will have similar experiences.

Zuzu and I have similar experiences with Sheila's Perfume grown on its own roots. She has cultivated thousands of cultivars. I have cultivated hundreds. To say, at this point "Sheila's Perfume, grown on it own roots is not so vigorous as most (hybrid tea) roses when grown on grafted root stock" must surely be of help to someone somewhere who is not growing the rose in a greenhouse.

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard Purple Tiger used as an example of a rose that lacks vigor. If memory serves me correctly I planted it two decades ago and by the time it was in the ground for a week it had disappeared entirely. If a person told me this is a vigorous rose, I would first ask them under what cultural conditions this was so. And if those were not very special conditions, I would have difficulty believing their subsequent assertions about roses. Purple Tiger simply is not a vigorous rose in, I think, any gardener's experience. When I first saw it in a garden in the early 1990s, own-root roses were not very popular, so I'm guessing that it was a grafted plant. Interesting, but obviously not vigorous, even by the loweset of miniature rose standards. So if I had to put it on the four category list, I'd put it in the dead rose category.

Two (groups of) questions I can think of are:
a) Is it possible to discover which roses belong on a list of suitably vigorous roses. And, if so, which roses are they?
b) Are there genetic factors that affect the canes and leaves (and in the case of own root roses, the roots) that might predispose any rose to be materially more or less vigorous than any other? Are these factors - or at least their effects - discoverable? And if so, which roses do well by virtue of them.

Occasionally a rose breeder will create breeding stock with the idea of creating a disease-resistant or very vigorous rose. Then she might go about breeding roses from those roses. Among others, Buck and Svejda did this for cold hardiness and disease resistance for roses growing in cool continental climates. Radler, too. It's been decades since I read it and I do not remember the specifics; but I remember reading that there was a specific rose Wilhelm Kordes used when he wanted to introduce vigor into his HT rose line.

Some roses are more vigorous than others over a wide range of circumstances. It does not automatically make them better any more than a bigger engine will make a car better. But sometimes, if the engine in a car is too small, the thing is virtually impossible to drive.
[Last edited by Steve812 - Aug 6, 2017 8:01 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1520197 (18)
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
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zuzu
Aug 6, 2017 11:26 PM CST

Moderator

Just a few additional thoughts on vigor. I said that in my garden the difference between vigorous and non-vigorous roses can almost always be correlated to the difference between grafted and own-root roses. Steve mentioned some other variables, which are not applicable to my garden: "And/or Intolerant of Spring and Early Summer Conditions here: drought, late freezes, animal attacks, high pH, floods, fungal problems during monsoons, bad mojo, etc." These problems do not exist for me, with the exception of drought and animal attacks. Drought has not affected my roses, however, because I continued to keep them well watered even when my water bill was close to $400. Luckily, our neighborhood well was not subject to rationing or any other restrictions. Animal attacks occur here, but the roses that were killed by gophers are not on my plant list and were not included in my statistics, so that variable is not one that applies to the vigor or lack of vigor in the roses I mentioned in my earlier post.

I noticed, by the way, Steve, that your vigorous own-root roses are OGRs. That's no surprise to me because I don't think they require grafting for that purpose. I do have some grafted gallicas and portlands, but they were grafted to discourage the spread of runners. If Charles de Mills and Cardinal de Richelieu weren't grafted, for example, they would have taken over my garden by now.

There is another important variable I've noticed in my garden, and that's the nursery. Like you, Steve, I'm very disappointed with the own-root modern roses I bought from Vintage Gardens over the years. Most of the shrubs and OGRs I bought from Vintage are growing satisfactorily, but I was always more interested in hybrid teas, large-flowered climbers, and floribundas. I bought hundreds and hundreds from Vintage, especially when their retail outlet was within walking distance, and almost all of them are dead now. About 20 are still alive, but they won't win any prizes for vigor. It's a shocking record percentage-wise, and I did buy some of the same roses from other own-root nurseries later and found they were much better specimens.

I gave up on Heirloom long ago. In fact, in spite of my collecting fever, I only bought 10 roses from that nursery over the years, and 5 of the 10 (50%!) were mislabeled. The other 5 are pitifully small and weak, even after more than 10 years of tender loving care. Just as in the case with Vintage, I bought some of those Heirloom roses from another own-root nursery. It was called Roseland and it is no longer in the mail-order business. The three roses I bought from Roseland are fabulous! One of them, Portlandia, is easily 8-10 feet tall and is one of the gems of my garden.

I can only conclude that Vintage and Heirloom were not as proficient at propagating roses as some other nurseries. Heirloom is now under new management and may have acquired the knack of rooting good cuttings, but now their prices are too high for me to give them another chance.

I noticed Incantation among your disappointments, Steve, and it made me wonder whether you bought it from Rogue Valley. I've mentioned before that every Paul Barden rose I bought from The Uncommon Rose before it went out of business is still thriving in my garden. In contrast, every Paul Barden rose I bought from Rogue Valley quickly died.

The difference in nursery skills also holds true for nurseries selling grafted roses, of course. About 10 years ago I bought several roses grafted onto fortuniana from MerryGro Farms just as it was going out of business. Those roses are spectacular. They are among the largest and healthiest roses in my garden, and I wish I had bought more from MerryGro while I had the chance. I now buy fortuniana-grafted roses from K&M. They are very nice rose bushes and give me no cause for complaints, but they can't compete with the MerryGro roses.
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses Irises Lilies
Image
Steve812
Aug 7, 2017 9:35 AM CST
I agree with you, Zuzu, that OGRs definitely have been selected for root vigor. And sometimes that's actually a problem. In moving Desiree Parmentier (on its own roots) I discovered that it was spreading slowly. Not a big problem, but the plant was already a little too big for the space. I agree, too, that nursery care is of incredible importance. I really had no idea how important it was until recently.

Until two or three years ago I had a high regard for HR's plant list but my opinion of the actual plants that they ship was so low that it cannot be properly expressed in polite company. I think my success rate was about zero for thirty or more. VG's survival rate was abysmal; but HR's was much, much worse. At least with VG, some of the roses that were not HTs would survive. Not so with HR's.

Two or three years ago, some time after roses from Cliff Orent's collection started being distributed by other suppliers, I noticed that HR began to ship roses in soil that is about (just guessing) thirty percent some white granular material. I presume this is a medium for delivering fertilizer and/or aerating the soil; perhaps it is pearlite. With that change I noticed the success of my roses from HR went up materially. Not sure I noticed quite so much of it this year. My records are haphazard. I'm so used to planting a band and having it die immediately, that I do not record all the details on new rose receipts properly until they have been in place for about a year. But last summer I had a Charlotte from HR - a rose that had spent the previous season in a two gallon pot before being tansplanted into the garden - shoot up to head height in one season. And I had some success with Disco Dancer. So I bought a few more roses from HR this season.

All of these were hybrid tea roses in gallon pots that were up-potted on arrival. I lost one by leaving it in its plastic shipping container in the sun for a day prior to potting. (Sometimes I can be a little ADHD) And one more by forgetting to drill holes in new plastic pots (see above) Two are going great guns. Three are just about getting by. It does not sound like much; but it's a world of difference from the state of affairs five years ago.

You are completely correct that my Incantation is from RVR. It arrived last year. Over the years, I have purchased one of almost every Phil Barden rose available from RVR. Incantation is the first to survive a full calendar year. It distinguishes itself from other Barden roses in terms of persistence by surviving a full year. But at its current growth rate I will be dead before it reaches ankle height. It is informative to know that other suppliers were able to coax better performance from it.

Interestingly, the roses I got from RVR this year - most of them - arrived much larger. I'd say half the roses in my RVR shipment arrived healthy, over twelve inches in height and growing vigorously. Some were more than eighteen inches high on arrival. Buff Beauty and Cornelia were a little stunted, and they have not really started growing. Two or three others died within two weeks of being repotted. On the other hand, Comice de Tarn et Garonne is three feet across right now. Brown Velvet would have been three feet tall had it not been materially nibbled by a deer. I was not expecting this to happen on my fenced patio. D'Oh!

Thank you for the tip about K&M Rose Nursery. I am beginning to believe that I cannot grow HT roses here on their own roots because of lack of vigor. While other roses such as Julia Child and Caramela FT do well on multiflora rootstock, most HT roses here do not. They do a little better on Dr Huey rootstock; but those roots might be just a little more subject to being nibbled away by gophers. Do you think fortuniana rootstock will survive our winters here if all the rootstock is buried three inches or more in the soil? It rarely freezes that deeply here.

BTW. It occurs to me that I may have implied earlier that there are no modern roses that have good root vigor, but what I meant to say was: if they do, it is a matter of chance, not a matter of being selected for that trait. Your statistics suggest while it is the exception, IYE, there are some have good root vigor.

I need to talk about water a little more because I am learning that for certain HT roses their relationship with water is different than it is for most of the other roses I grow.. but the garden needs some attention right now.

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