My rose bush died and I don't know why

jasminerose4u, California(9b)January 23, 2014

I am new to rose gardening and I killed my first rose, "Amber Glow", a miniature. It was a young healthy, leafy rose bush. Then the leaves fell off and the canes turned black. It had a good looking root system. I don't know if it had too much sun or not enough. Would a sunlight monitor work? I'm also thinking of purchasing a moisture meter. I caught the rose bug and have quite a few roses on order this spring. I need to know what I'm doing before they arrive and would appreciate your advice. Thanks.

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Jasminerose, was the rose potted, or planted in the ground? Was it indoors or outside? If potted and outside, what size and kind of pot was it planted in? From your description, I would guess it was potted and growing indoors. No matter what you read, unless you take drastic measures, roses are NOT indoor plants. They require much more sunlight than they can receive indoors. They need more air flow and humidity than anything indoors can provide without significant adjustments of the growing conditions. Kim

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 1:59AM
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jasminerose4u, California(9b)

Hi Kim:
It was outside in a 12 inch clay pot on the west side of my house. I watered it once a week, but it's been windy in Valencia lately, so increased it to twice a week. Not sure if that was too much or too little. I'm not positive how many hours of sun it gets, which is why I was wondering about the sunlight meter. I hope 6, but it might be 4. I will keep a careful watch this weekend. I planned on growing Annie Laurie McDowell in the same area. Maybe it's a good thing that I'm on a waiting list instead of getting her right away, so I'll have more time to learn about rose gardening. How do you protect young roses from the wind? If I put my roses in a sheltered area, they wouldn't get enough sun. How I wish I could absorb all your rose knowledge through osmosis, before I kill off any other plants.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 2:23AM
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roseblush1(8a/Sunset 7)


It's impossible to catch up with Kim's rose knowledge. I know. I've been trying to do just that thing for over a decade ... lol.

But Kim teaches one how fish and it is up to us to connect the dots. I just checked .. you can use the SEARCH function on this forum and enter "Posts by Roseseek" and threads where he has posted will show up. It had 420 matches.

There is so much solid information in those posts that you will start learning by osmosis.


PS ... there were 421 matches on the Antique Rose Forum

This post was edited by roseblush1 on Fri, Jan 24, 14 at 2:53

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 2:51AM
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Well, thank you! Unfortunately, the more plants you kill, the more you learn. As long as the plant received at least six hours of sun a day, that should have been more than sufficient. I'm wondering if the clay pot with a western exposure might be the main clue? Clay is a cooking utensil, aborsbing and heating up very efficiently, then holding and radiating that heat for a long time. Was there a saucer under the pot or did the water drain out and run off? For all the leaves to fall off and the plant to turn black, it sounds like rot (too much water, insufficient drainage) to me.

The only "wind protection" I've ever provided young or new roses has been to keep the pots from blowing off ledges or walls. Otherwise, as long as they're kept properly watered and don't bake in their pots, the winds they can endure. If you're really concerned about extreme wind, placing them in reduced light for a day or two for protection shouldn't really be an issue. The weather can be severely overcast for several days at a time, seriously reducing the sun light the plants receive and they're none the worse for it. Just remember to bring them back out as soon as the "danger" is over and all should be fine. What area of Valencia are you in? Kim

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 2:52AM
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jasminerose4u, California(9b)

Thank you for the tips, roseblush and roseseek. The clay pot was elevated on an iron stand. But it was placed near my neighbor's brick wall. Perhaps it initially baked and then I finished it off by overwatering. When I pulled the plant out, I noticed a little nub of something. Just in case it is a new cane starting, I transplanted it to a plastic pot and moved it to a better location.

I live in Old Orchard One in Valencia. It is the older of the two Old Orchards. I had the pleasure of meeting you, Kim at the Santa Clarita rose society, where you demonstrated the "burritio" method of propagation. I enjoyed your story of Annie Laurie McDowell. I read there is an old bush of her at the Homestead acre in Chatsworth. I will call to see if Annie is still there and possibly plan a field trip. There were many members who asked to see the rose in person.

Kim, I read your post on HMF. Glad to hear Annie produced a hip! I will keep a look out for any new posts on what the seeds develop. Should be exciting!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 9:56AM
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Yes, it does sound as though it cooked then, perhaps, received too much water. Clay in high heat and brilliant sun can be dangerous, unless they are quite large (18" or better, preferably thicker types like rolled rim pots, though for things like ivy geraniums, smaller can work as their roots will withstand higher heat). Elevating the pot puts it up into hotter air and the proximity to other hardscape can make it like a convection oven. Great for real heat lovers, but for roses and other types which appreciate cooler roots, it's the gardening equivalent to leaving a dog in a closed car. In a milder climate, it can actually help things grow better, overcoming the colder conditions, but the further inland you are, the more extreme it can get, faster.

Thank you. I remember having the pleasure of meeting you and thought I remembered your saying you were in Old Orchard 1, but meetings like that can be difficult to keep information straight. One good part about that area is it was originally agricultural and built prior to the engineered soil requirements. Drainage tends to be excellent and from what I've experienced, the soil is pretty good.

Actually, Annie Laurie McDowell doesn't grow at The Homestead Acre. Annie Laurie was Candy Craig, my lovely lady friend who, with her wonderful husband, Dean, restored the gardens at The Acre as their retirement project. They were responsible for introducing me to volunteering at The Huntington Library thirty-one years ago. My seedling of Dawn Crest still grows outside the gate to The Acre. I actually drove there last week just to see if that planting was still there. It is, though it appears much of the rose plantings have been removed. Chatsworth Park South is closed to use due to pollution from aerospace industry activity around it. Hopefully, one day, they'll have the money and figure out how to clean it up. The Acre is fenced and open specified hours. It's an interesting look at early Valley life and homes. Thanks for the best wishes for the seeds! I'm hopeful they germinate. I think that rose holds some decent promise for good things! I harvested close to a hundred cuttings from the large plant of Annie ten days ago. As I said, she'll become much more readily available this year. Kim

Here is a link that might be useful: HOMESTEAD ACRE/HILL PALMER HOUSE

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 11:25AM
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seil zone 6b MI

I can't add anything to Kim's sage advice except my own experiences with potted roses. I use only plastic or resin/foam pots now. I found out very early on that the clay pots suck moisture out too quickly and even though the pots looks moist the clay is holding on to the water and not giving it to the rose. They also tend to get very hot and can cook the root system. I have a western exposure and it's all very hot afternoon sun so be careful and water them more frequently. You might want to go up to a bigger pot too. It will save you having to root prune and repot as often in your zone.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 1:39PM
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Congratulations on catching the rose bug! Good luck with your new roses this spring, you have received great advice. Everyone here is so great with help. Have fun!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 8:15AM
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jasminerose4u, California(9b)

Thanks all :) Now that I know roses like sun with cool roots, I will reserve my decorative clay pot for succulents. Sorry to hear that roses were removed from the Homestead Acre house. I will still pay a visit, because I like to see historical homes, but an old house with an old rose garden would have made quite a pair.

So it is okay to put a young, small rose in a large pot? I wonder why so many rose society friends talk about repotting as the rose root system grows. Why not start with a large pot to begin with?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 12:01PM
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When Minnie Hill Palmer passed, The Acre was deeded to the city and fell under control of 'Parks and Wreck'. The Chatsworth Historical Society was formed to save The Pioneer Church and finally came to support The Acre. Candy and Dean Craig resurrected the gardens and added many OGRs through their friendship and connection with John MacGregor, Clair Martin's predecessor at The Huntington Library. They were rose garden volunteers there and it was they who introduced me to the place and got me started there. Candy also had a friendship with Peter Schneider, the editor of The American Rose Rambler, a marvelous rose newsletter, and now the editor of The Combined Rose List, which he generated with Bev Dobson (who originated it) and whom he succeeded. The Craigs lost a daughter to a drunk driver and Peter named an apricot floribunda he created for their daughter, Eden Ellen. There was a bed of it growing there for many years. They surrounded the house with roses, making it a popular venue for weddings and other parties, arranged through "Parks and Wreck".

With tightening belts and the aging of the Historical Society and surrounding rose societies which often used the gardens to hold their pruning demonstrations, it appears roses (not all, but from the photos, many) have been removed (or, perhaps died) to reduce maintenance and probably to increase room for events. Candy held an annual Rose Festival in conjunction with Pioneer Days, a community festival, for many years where she sold old, rare and unusual roses to help pay for the potting soil and other supplies required to maintain the gardens. Many of them were passed through her by Peter from his imports and were the source of things such as Julia's Rose, Greensleeves and quite a few other unusual European roses not in US commerce at the time. A number were propagated from the OGRs existing on the property when they came to be the volunteer caretakers and many more came from The Huntington and my old Newhall garden. There are still some roses there, I'm not sure which though.

It's suggested to start plants out in pots which best fit their root ball size so the roots fill the pots and knit a solid root ball. Starting a band out in a five gallon can will frequently lead to weakened root ball between the crown of the plant and the pot edges due to the long length of roots between the center and edges. Removing the root ball from the pot could then permit loosening or even damage to the roots at their weakest point, between the crown and edge of the mass. Starting a small plant in a gallon until the roots fill the pot wall surfaces shortens that distance, creating a more solid root mass. Increasing that from a gallon to a two or three and permitting it to then fill out the increased mass results in a more solid soil/root ball which is less likely to fall apart or otherwise be damaged by removal or handling.

The organics in the soil break down, digest, over time, leaving only the inorganic material (sand, clay, stone, etc.). Eventually, all potted plants require replanting to replenish and refresh the soil in the container. A looser, weaker root ball is more easily damaged than a tighter solid mass, so the plant will experience less damage and shock from the root ball falling apart.

If you're trying to protect smaller pots from heat and cold extremes, it's far easier to protect multiples than one. They can be grouped together so each helps shade and insulate the next. (another logical "excuse" for larger pot ghettos!)

If your goal is to keep the plant potted until it's matured sufficiently for planting, this would be the more secure method of accomplishing it. If you intend to keep it potted, it still may be safer to start with a smaller size them transplant into the desired size to stack the deck in your favor for safer repotting when the time comes. You may be able to safely accomplish transplanting after starting the smaller plant in a larger pot, but the chances of the soil ball breaking up are greater. Kim

Here is a link that might be useful: American Rose Rambler and Combined Rose List

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 1:50PM
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jasminerose4u, California(9b)

Great information, Kim. Thank you :)

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 3:31PM
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You're welcome! I hope it helps. Kim

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 3:34PM
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