how long do you keep fall bands in pots?

bluegirl_gwJanuary 11, 2013

Trying to establish a new rose garden & have lots of bands potted up into 2 gal. pots. Most suppliers say to leave them potted "a season or two". Strawberryhill posted that she thinks her hot summers are harder on baby plants than her winters. That might be true for my semi-arid climate.

If they're doing well, when do you like to plant fall-ordered bands into the ground?

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jerijen(Zone 10)

We pot up to 1-G., not 2-G.

When we see roots growing out the bottom of the 1-G, we pot those up to 5-G or 7-G.

When we see roots growing out the bottom of the 5-G, we try to get them into the ground.


    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 7:24PM
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seil zone 6b MI

What Jeri said. I've found that jumping up to too large a size pot right away actually slows them down. You want to gradually move them up for the best results. Since yours are already in 2 gal. pots I'd leave them alone for at least this whole season and see what they do. You need a good size healthy root ball before you plant them. And I always want some pretty good sized top growth too so I don't step on them. First time I planted out bands I crushed a couple because they were way too small and you couldn't see them! If they don't have a healthy size sturdy plant on top make sure you put flags or something so you can find them in the garden.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 7:43PM
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minflick(9b/7, Boulder Creek, CA)

OMG, I think I'd cry if I stepped on a band and crushed it. I have such a small garden, and such a small budget - each morsel is important to me. I really don't want to think about killing something I invested so much thought and time and sweat in. I have a band of Kim's The Porcelain Rose coming in a few months. I have a serious back store of Big Black Pots from when I had the Jungle Porch... I can pot and grow it up easily, assuming I can also keep it alive! Finding enough sun for roses here in the trees is a good trick.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 8:49PM
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seil zone 6b MI

I did cry, miniflick! Sat right down on the ground and balled my eyes out, lol. Then I carefully dug the root ball up and repotted it and it actually survived! I still have it, it was my Baby Betsy McCall!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 8:54PM
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minflick(9b/7, Boulder Creek, CA)

It LIVED?! Wow. You must have been so relieved to see that.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 8:57PM
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"the jungle porch" LOL! I love the new vocabulary I've picked up hanging around here--'pot ghetto', 'shovel-prune', 'one-caned wonder', 'pot corral'.

My brother let a self-propelled lawnmower savage a Nicole & a Baronne Pevost. They survived but have been pretty shy--don't blame 'em. The cute little rain-bells died screaming.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 9:06PM
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sandandsun(9a FL)

My best guess:
We all have to make these decisions based on the roses, our climate, and ourselves. Here in (MY) zone 9, the winters are so mild (even when they aren't) that the roses grow in their pots during the winter - making healthy root growth and putting on new leaves. I'm not indicating growth measured in inches although that can happen too as well as bud set which brings up the delayed gratifciation issue; nip every bud the first year. I even continue this practice with second year plants if they aren't looking enough like plants yet. You're in zone 8. Have your repotted bands grown or are they sleeping?
Then there's the gardener, some maintain a pot garden year round - which may or may not be the same as the pot ghetto for others. Some intentionally grow the roses on to a larger size in pots. For still others including me, pots are as temporary as possible because they require/demand too much of my attention and are too much of a challenge over time. There are pot watering systems, but I could only rationalize that for use by those who can ONLY grow in pots.
So how would the formula go? Hmm. Here mine go in the ground about one month prior to the last frost date given that the candidates did grow as described above during the winter. If they didn't, I wait for them to demonstrate that behavior. In another thread, you wrote that summer nights are cool in your zone 8. If that is a reality and not just it feeling cool because you moved from zone 9, you should be able to plant anytime before July and August (if not, then after) as determined by the roses and your patience with pots.
Oh, and all this with the understanding that they will get regular water in their new homes this year as required which here is a lot easier than if they're in pots.
Best wishes!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 9:28PM
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minflick(9b/7, Boulder Creek, CA)

A Jungle Porch is what happens when you move from renting about 4 acres with cool but plentiful sun, where you can't dig into the ground you're RENTING without massive effort (rocks - it was fill dirt post construction somewhere else...), and gopher protection (one cat can only kill and eat so many per day). And you leave that property, where pretty much everything was in pots propped up on anything I could find - into a second story apartment with one small porch, where I was warned I could not put more than 250 lbs of anything. I can tell you I did no jumping jacks out there... I exceeded that 250 lb. maximum egregiously.

I had many many lilies, a large ficus tree, 6 or 7 fuchsia, a ton of succulents, a dozen orchids of various kinds and annuals. I could barely walk out there, and nobody else bothered. Everything got watered with a pitcher from the kitchen sink. I can't find the old pictures of it, but it was awesome in MY mind. It was the only gardening I could do while we lived there.

Now we own a tiny piece of land in the coastal redwoods, and I'm able to plant in the ground, albeit only during the wet months of the year. I did a modified lasagna bed in front of the house, but not anywhere else. This is Digging Season at my house, and the only thing now left in the half barrels from last spring are my 2 Japanese maples on the front deck, and a fuchsia that replaced Cornelia who got her own hole in the ground.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 9:36PM
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Minflick, "jungle porch" & "pot ghetto" resonated because I lived with that for ~6 years. Was always "gonna move to a house with some land around" & didn't want to plant good specimens I wanted to take with me or stop collecting plants either. Really, the "commercial nursery" or "hobby garden gone insane" look embarrassed even me (sometimes,sorta,notenoughtoquit).

Sandandsun, yes, I think you nailed my present climate. The bands potted up from Nov. orders have good green leaves & are putting out more & have laughed off the few frosts of ~low 20s which typically only last a few hours. I hate carrying over in pots longer than necessary because the desert summer heat is rough on potted plants & it's hard to keep them hydrated properly unless they are in trays & under cedar bushes. Heck, I'm tempted to FERTILIZE them (yes, I know, I won't--but they are so happy now in the cool moist winter.)

It's a new climate & soil for me AND these are the first fall-delivered bands I've ordered. All advice is very appreciated :)

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 10:00PM
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alameda/zone 8

I would really enjoy seeing photos of what bands look like in different sized pots. I have never seen my band roots grow out the bottom as Jeri said. I look at the band and if it looks like it is strong, I look at the roots to see if there are lots of them...then just use my own judgement. I have lots of bands I have moved up from the 1 gallon to bigger pots and they are there now. I am going to put some of them in the ground for spring. But it would be great if someone has photos of their bands as they grow. Also would like to know how much and what kind of fertilizer, what kind of soil works best. I mulch mine, which seems to make a difference in how well they grow.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 10:53PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

Just to clarify --- the reason I want to see roots out the bottom is that I want a firm football, that won't shatter, when removed from the pot.


    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 12:05AM
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minflick(9b/7, Boulder Creek, CA)

Jeri, is it that you want the BIGGEST firm root ball you can lift before you plant it? Because a firm root ball at 2 gallons would seem fine, but you say you move them up to 5 or 7 gallon. You're going for firm and large, not just firm? Why is the larger one better?

    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 12:25AM
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roseblush1(8a/Sunset 7)

My summers are hot and dry and I hate growing things in pots, but I have found that if I plant a rose with a larger root mass, it is a more vigorous plant.

I am kind of a collector of roses and rarely have any duplicates. By accident a vendor sent me two bands of the same rose. One of them ended up in a 7 gal squat and the other a 3 gal pot. Both got planted out the same year and the rose from the 7 gal squat has always been more vigorous than the other rose. The second rose has never caught up with the first rose and they have been in the ground for the same amount of time.

I think Jeri's right on about nothing smaller than a 5 gal pot. Of course, it depends on your climate and your soil and yeah ... the rose.


    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 1:57AM
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Hmmm, that's interesting, Lyn. So for you all that hold in pots, do good-sized bands generally stay potted until the following fall? I'm thinking they would take that long to fill out a 5-7 gallon pot. I potted in 2 gallons initially because I was a bit concerned about having a good insulation of soil around the bands for winter. Thanks for all of the good responses.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 2:25AM
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sandandsun(9a FL)

Folks often think me awfully harsh, but I don't mind because it's for the good of the roses.

"I'm tempted to FERTILIZE them...."

It's like being a good parent and NOT spoiling the child. As my father would say when he disciplined us as children: "this hurts me more than it does you." It took me years to understand that and other similarly painful aspects of love. And the subtle even more painful part, the knowledge that children can't understand how this can be true, required experiencing it for myself. But I'm rambling.

It isn't exactly the case that we have but one opportunity to make a good home, but - oh hell, what I mean is that translating/diverting the emotional desire to fertilize them now into any amount of preparation, improvement, etc. of their planting bed will set them up for long successful lives with just maintenance. Although not necessarily accurate, a good rule of thumb is the planting area is prepared in all directions equivalent to the expected mature spread of the plant (per plant). If done well, the bed will both hold moisture and be well drained en meme temps und das ist nicht oxymoronic.

Also, depending upon the richness of the potting mix, one could top dress with composted manure for example. But the potting mix should already be rich enough to not require this for young first year pots.

There is a good thread, linked below, about when commercial fertilizer is a good idea. I advise annual winter top dressing of composted manure (every year) and to only start the linked commercial supplement in a band's third year (if one feels one MUST). And I must admit that applying only for bloom boost is very tempting even for me.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pat on the Back. . . . Or Kick in the Pants?

    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 10:34AM
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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

I know I'm one of the very few people who don't pot up bands. I put the bands in a shady area to begin with and gradually move them to more sunny areas and after a week or two plant them in the ground. I'm terrible with pots and so in short order the baby plants are put in the ground, watered well, mulched, and have a circle of thorny canes and rosemary branches put around to discourage the bunnies and squirrels, and I've lost very few of them. I can't say they would not have grown faster if potted up, but this is what's easiest for me since my energy level is not good. Almost none have died, and most have done quite well, but I have no data on how much better they would have done if potted up first. We all have to work according to what our physical conditions and other factors will allow, and this is the best way for me. A lot depends on whether your climate is benign enough to allow for this treatment, which mine seems to be.


    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 12:16PM
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I'm certainly not an expert on this but I also don't put my bands in pots for very long. I have a lot of trouble with potted roses in my climate and have found that if I put them in the ground pretty quickly they seem to do fine, as long as I don't plant them after Feb or so. If planted in the ground in the fall, they seem to have a big enough root system to survive the summer.

I have stopped buying bands in the spring, however, as they usually don't survive the summer, either in pots or in the ground.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 1:09PM
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roseblush1(8a/Sunset 7)


I figure it takes two years at a minimum to grow out a band to have a large enough root mass before I can plant the rose in my garden. I now overwinter my roses in a friend's green house, but I think the larger root mass going into the ground makes the plant more heat tolerant in the long run. This is just from my personal observation in my garden.

For the first year in the ground, I use the sprinkler to water the bed beyond the size of the rose hole I have dug to encourage the roots to spread into the glacier slurry.

When I first moved up here, I had to overwinter my roses outside. I clustered them together and surrounded them with bags of leaves with the largest plants in the middle. None of them died even tho' my night temps are generally around 20F and can get into the low teens. I put some of the roses that were in the smaller cans into larger pots with leaves stuffed between the pots for additional insulation. With my soil, it's a lot of work to prepare a rose hole, so it was worth the wait.

Sandandsun ...

I am gardening in glacier slurry. There is no way I can possibly prepare a whole bed. Nor can I build raised beds since everything has to be hauled up the gardening area and hauling the amount of soil that would be required is beyond me. My best bet is to dig big holes, amend the soil because it has no natural plant organic material in it, and plant a healthy plant. I mound up the soil in the planting hole so that when the organics break down and the rose sinks, it usually ends up at the height I want. Of course, I keep mulching.


I truly envy your ability to be able to plant directly in the soil, but it just wouldn't work in this garden. I know you grow beautiful roses, so if it's working for you, there is no need to change.

Learning to garden in this climate and in glacier slurry has been an adventure.


    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 1:55PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

If you have a very manicured and organized garden, and putting bands in the ground works for you, do so.

We do NOT have a very manicured and organized garden, and we have three large, enthusiastic dogs. Down on the hillside, where there are NO dogs, there is weed-whacking. There are also gophers here, and squirrels. LOTS of squirrels.

So, a tiny little band plant put into the ground, has little practical chance for survival.

ALSO -- A little band plant, potted up in stages, is given the best possible opportunity to grow good, solid roots. And without good roots, you're not going to have much of a plant.

So -- we give our little roses the best possible start in life, for our own benefit. This is the way we do it, and we don't lose plants -- but ... YMMV. :-)


    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 4:00PM
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Soooo, I think the "potter-uppers" mostly have the majority (FWIW, YMMV & all that) at least as far as recommendations for band plants go.

Greenmantle grows hers in 2 gallons organically outside, RU has greenhouse-raised gallons, ForestFarms has bands (tree tubes) & gallons--don't know for SURE, but their gallons (& even the tubes) looked outside-raised. Most of the gallon plants I got looked hardened-off, i.e. they had healthy budding canes but the leaves were gone or dry. Though Cecile Brunner was all green & actively growing. And I must say, having ordered from all of them, they send plants with one heck of a rootball.

Most vendors emphatically state not to fertilize for a good while & then only 1/2 strength liquid or mild organics. I'M NOT GOING TO FERTILIZE, SAND&SUN, THO THE DARK SIDE WHISPERS: "JUST A LITTLE" LOL!
But RU recommends planting in a pretty rich mix in the ground.

This is "digging season" or more properly, rock-busting season here, too. I'll concentrate on hole preparation & colonizing the rocks & caliche for fall planting. Though I will probably plant the FF plants soon without repotting--they are essentially solidly pot-bound & came with slow-release fertilizer on top.

Alameda, I was gonna be so scientific this year. I did take photos of each order & of the root mass in various bands/tubes I potted. When ol' dumbo gets the camera software loaded & figures out how to use Flicker or Photobucket I'll try to post.

Many thanks for the time & consideration of posting your experiences :)

This post was edited by bluegirl on Sat, Jan 12, 13 at 18:07

    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 5:18PM
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sandandsun(9a FL)

The Dark Side?
Or should Carol Anne go into the light?

Here is a link that might be useful: The Dark Side

    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 11:08PM
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roseblush1(8a/Sunset 7)


You will have to feed your plant if it is in a container for any length of time because the rose has no other source of nutrients except those which you supply. Rule of thumb is to wait until you see new top growth to tell you the root system is working. Then feed lightly and often.


    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 1:35PM
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