Impatient person + banded roses = disaster?

DisplacedClevelander(6a)February 2, 2013

Let me start off by saying I feel like I have a zillion questions and am tempted to unload them all at once. But for the sake of brevity and trying to not be rude, I won't.

So I've read some older posts on banded roses and it seems to depend on growing season and type of rose.

Last week I bought the Freddie Mercury rose on Heirloom Roses and its supposed to ship in March. Now I know that I should transplant it to a larger container (1-3 gallon) when it arrives. Here's my question though, at which point can I put it into the ground?

Is it really that important to let it spend its youth in those containers? Two growing seasons is such a long time when you live in the midwest! If its that important, I guess I can hold off but if its not going to greatly hinder its growth, I'd like to get it in the ground this growing season.

Would putting it in a mini greenhouse when it arrives in March help speed things up or do roses not work like that?

Thank you in advance for your help.

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mzstitch(Zone 7b South Carolina)

I have ordered 8 roses from Heirloom, and they all went right into the ground within a week of arriving to my home. They are all doing wonderfully. Now just remember to prepare your whole as if you are planting a regular large rose. I did ga hole 2 1/2 ft by 2 1/2 ft, and follow all the directions Heirloom sends along with the rose.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 5:26PM
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I agree with mzstitch, here in z5 (chicago) my bands from Heirloom have always gone right in the ground when they arrive at the proper planting time. I think March might be a little early but anytime after early/mid May should be fine.As stated , take the extra time to prepare the hole correctly. Haven't lost a single heirloom band yet and I have quite a few.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 5:36PM
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Mendocino_Rose(z8 N CA.)

I know it's a long time. I understand your frustration. The best thing though is to plant into a gallon and then later into a 3 to 5 gallon and then plant the rose out when it's filling that pot and looking vigorous. It's very hard for these small roses to go straight into the ground. It usually is a recipe for disaster. Since most of the roses I buy now are bands I've just learned patience. If I absolutely have to fill an empty space I buy a rose in a five gallon pot but your selection is then pretty limited. Patience is a gardener's most important lesson.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 5:36PM
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The bands that have done best for me have spent from two to three years minimum in pots and I live in a fairly benign climate with middling good soil. I actually dug two up early on and returned them to pots after a couple of years of their sitting and doing nothing - or worse yet in one case regressing. They are back in the ground now. A couple of others that I planted direct have been slow but steady and are now after about four years starting to look as though they want to really take hold.

But I think everyone's circumstances are different as are our personal gratification needs and as are the potentials of different classes of roses and even the individual roses within those classes so you will have to figure out what works for you and the roses that make your heart race.

The nice thing about roses is that at least in my experience if you make a mistake - they are very forgiving.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 6:08PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

To begin at the beginning.

Do you have a place to overwinter potted roses? If you don't (and most people don't), then they have to go in the ground this growing season.

They probably need to go in the ground early enough to get established before winter. Let's say sometime before the middle of September.

Next question is how good are you at watering potted plants? Some people like to fuss, others get busy and forget. If you are the forgetful type, then roses are much better in the ground before summer.

So the plan would be something like:
rose arrives, recuperates from the trip for a few days.
rose is repotted into a 1 gallon pot.
rose spends days outside, is brought in for cold nights.

End of May
rose is either repotted into larger pot, or planted into ground. If rose is repotted, it goes in the ground in early September.

It will probably take about 2 or 3 growing seasons for the rose to get to the size of a budded bareroot. This is where the real patience comes in. So it will be about 5 years before you get to see what it can really do.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 6:39PM
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Not all "bands" are created equal. Not to take anything from Heirloom as they are certainly one of best sources for bands and I have quite a few roses from them, but I tend not to order from them now as their bands tend to be slightly smaller than what you can get from other sources.

Depending on what varieties you are looking for, you can also get bareroot ownroots. I've bought from David Austin and Northland. Unfortunately, the selection of bareroot ownroots are limited as I think that it is a more timing consuming/costly process. But perpahs someone on this forum can point to a good source for those. I am inpatient, and for me, bareroot ownroots is the way to go.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 7:36PM
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lola-lemon(5b East WA)

I usually put mine in the ground within a month or two or at the end of the summer. they don't do better in a pot here

I actually have been impressed with the banded roses I got from Northland Rosarium. they come with nice roots and they also give you instructions on planting them out. If you visit their store- they even will take you over to a big barrel of dirt and demonstrate how to plant them out without disturbing the roots. If the roses were in a green house or are at risk of sunburn, you might need to move them slowly into the sun. But I dont want to have to worry about mine freezing in pots so I try to get them planted before fall at the latest.

but then- I got a jackson and perkins rose last fall (gifted). It's one of their "new generation" roses - which means an own root band in a 1/2 gallon pot. It had almost NO ROOTS ( a few tiny hairs!) and the earth around them was so friable that I didnt dare disturb them. I hope it lives through winter in a pot.

Since all my roses usually have to be pruned pretty low after a zone 5b winter, the bands catch up pretty well the second year to the grafted.
Most roses you buy at a Nursery were bareroots in spring and and they just added dirt and a pot and gave them 2 to 3 months to get rooted. so compared to a new bareroot or a new nursey purchase- bands catch up here in the second year, or at the latest the third.
(Neither catch up to an established rose for a while).
All my bands bloomed the first year I got them. Some bloomed a lot for their little size and I often let them bloom --though people say I should chop em off. I only disbud them for thrips!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 9:26PM
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I have ordered bands from almost every (if not every) supplier in the U.S., and must echo farmerduck's assessment that not all bands are created equal. Even bands ordered from the same supplier at the same time/delivered at the same time can vary radically in development -- and I'm speaking here primarily in terms of ROOT development.

I've learned NEVER to plant bands in the ground immediately upon their arrival. I've also learned never, with few exceptions, to plant them immediately into larger pots. I prefer to keep the roses undisturbed and in the band pots they arrive in. I place those slender band pots into larger pots, surrounding the bands with packed potting soil, fine mulch or spaghnum. I periodically lift the bands to check for roots growing out of the band pots. I re-pot into larger containers only when I determine that there is adequate root development.

On rare occasions, I've received bands with strong roots trailing from the bottom of their pots. Those I move to larger pots right away. On other occasions, bands have arrived with remarkable top growth, but hardly any root system. IMO, at the band stage, what's going on below the soil surface is far and away more important than what's visible above the surface. I readily confess to being a root system freak, so you may take or leave what I have to say on the subject.

I'm sorry to see that you self-identify as an impatient person. If impatience is integral to your being, that's fine. Many high achievers share that characteristic. I dare say, however, that very few, if any, successful gardeners are people who would come up short on a patience scale. To answer the question posed by the equation you chose as a title to this thread, my answer is: Yes, 'fraid so.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 9:30PM
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As you can see, ask 5 different people and get 5 different answers! I don't think there is a right way or a wrong way, different strokes.

Just to add some thoughts to my post above, I have only ever bought bands from Heirloom so I can't make a comparison to others. That being said, Heirloom does give very specific planting instructions (which doesn't include potting them up)although the weather at time of planting is at your discretion. I had a Viking Queen band arrive last spring with a small root system, called Heirloom to make them aware and then planted it knowing if it failed to thrive within 3 months, they would replace it. It grew over 3 feet last summer and flowered repeatedly! I do have other roses that I overwinter in pots, I just think the good old ground is the best place for a little band not having to be disturbed any time in the near future. Just my .02

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 8:04AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Truly impatient people should look to annuals for the greatest satisfaction. A mature and healthy rose is not an overnight project. Even a fresh, large, grafted bare root can take several years to be at its best.

Just want to add, nothing wrong with being a truly impatient gardener. One just adjusts the type of plants grown for maximum satisfaction.

This post was edited by hoovb on Tue, Feb 5, 13 at 11:28

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 3:42PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

Hoovb, as usual, makes great sense.

I can understand why folks with a really cold winter would plant bands directly into the ground. I also KNOW that it's a rare band plant that does well in our benign climate, if they are stuck directly into the ground.

Seems to me that there's an argument in favor of not ordering plants to arrive in a harsh season.


    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 4:58PM
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Yes, ordered too early for zone 5 winters. In my Chicago garden I would pot them and accept their dormancy for a few months. I would try to find a cool location like garage or Basement .When I moved them to the ground I would MAKE SURE not to disturb the root system. A disposable plastic pot that could be cut away from root ball of soil would be best . I would plant them at the forsythia bloom but hill up some protective soil around base to be washed away as spring progresses. Ground will not be workable until then. Prepare potting hole well and water well. But no Fertilizers until they leaf out

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 9:28PM
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alameda/zone 8

I am very interested in this thread as I love to grow bands, but not experienced at it. I found what jax had to say very interesting - about planting the bands still in their pots until the root system grew. I once got some bands from Heirloom and then things happened that I could not plant them. I pulled their plastic sleeves up around the plant, poked holes in the bottom and kept them watered and in morning sun. It was early spring so no need to put them in the greenhouse. They grew like gangbusters! I was amazed.....its like they had their own little greenhouse around them and they loved it. When I finally got around to planting them, they did great. I dont ususally leave them in pots this long.....I plant in good soil in gallon pots and put in the shade then more sunlight as they grow, but not in hot full day sun, ever.

I do have a request. I would really love to see photos that any of you might have of your bands. I would love to compare with my bands that are in gallon and larger pots and see if I am on track with how I am growing them. I will post photos of mine as soon as I can locate my camera....I havent fertilized them heavily, afraid of burning the roots. They are in dappled morning sun but protected from hot afternoon sun.

After bands have been in gallon pots awhile, when do you start fertilizing and what with? They are growing well and now starting to put out a bit of new growth, but I always like to try to learn and improve my growing techniques. Any photos that can be shared would really help those of us who are not real sure what we are doing. Thanks!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 10:29PM
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lola-lemon(5b East WA)

Looking at the comment above saying that holes needed to be poked in the band bottoms was intriguing to me. The bands I have worked with come in pots that have almost no bottom. just a cross shaped bit of plastic. Probably half the band bottom is open.
this allows for very easy viewing of the roots and also makes it easy to shove the dirt plug out while stuffing the roots which have grown out back inside.
This brings me to the only reason why I would find planting a rose still in the band container into another pot for very long problematic- you'd lose all the roots coming out the bottom of the band pot and growing into the bigger pot. Unless someone can enlighten me on how to avoid that.

Here's what the band container looks like from Northland rosarium. If I get there early in their season just after opening, I can pick myself roses that have this much top growth- maybe even more. If I get there later and there's only 2 roses left to choose from, then you're stuck with the runts- just 2 or 3 main canes coming out of the dirt. Probably not as much leafing and probably not blooming. I look for roots visible at the bottom no matter what.

If there was no way to see the roots because the container was closed on the bottom, I think I would try and cut it open- make a little flange window to see what was going on. I am afraid I have killed the Jackson perkins Pope John Paul I received in the fall turning it out of it's container to see if it had roots (not really) and having much of the soil collapse into my hands. ugh.

This post was edited by lola-lemon on Sun, Feb 3, 13 at 23:27

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 11:19PM
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alameda/zone 8

I wasnt clear - when I say I poked holes in the bottom, I meant the plastic sleeve the band came in - so when I watered, it would drain out and not waterlog the plant. With the plant being watered, apparently there was enough condensation for there to be a greenhouse like effect inside that the plant likes.

What I do with my bands is to mix the soil in the pot about 3/4 full, then poke the band down inside with the pot still on to make an indention. Then I ease the plant out of the pot and put it inside the indention intact then finish covering with soil. Seems to work well.

My bands are all growing well but I just wonder if I am fertilizing enough - they seem a bit skimpy. If I can locate my camera, I will take photos and post them.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 12:39AM
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The op could simply contact Heirloom to inquire more directly regarding arrival time. I have ordered throughout winter several times and have never received bands as early as March. We are in similar zones (5b here) so I couldn't imagine op would receive them 2 months earlier. Just saying whether op decides to pot them or plant them, arrival time MAY be a moot point. Certainly worth a phone call/e-mail to find out.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 9:20AM
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Brittie - La Porte, TX 9a

I live in a mild short Winter, long hot Summer climate, but this is what I do. I put most of my bands in gallon pots until I see roots start peeking out of the bottom. I've planted several gallon sized plants directly into the ground with no bad results, due to the obvious vigor of that particular plant. I don't do anything special while they're in pots, add water mostly.

If the picture posts correctly, these are from last Fall. They live in dappled shade from 7am till about 2pm when they get full shade. I keep the bands here for a few months, and then I move them out into the sun (all of these pictures have been moved) until temps start reaching about 95 degrees (April or June), then all of those still in baby pots are moved back until it cools down (October or November). I don't know which they are exactly, except to say that the orange pot is Trinity, who would like to go in the garden soon. :)

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 12:43PM
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It seems to me the time is right for some places to offer larger bare root own root plants. That makes them more expensive but also less worry for the person who is facing a cold winter ahead. I love Palatine's roses but for me, planting directly in the ground is a no no. My alkaline soil and water is a cruel place to live for those multiflora roots. I have to pot them deep in 15 gallon cans and wait for them to make their own roots. Yesterday, I moved a few roses and came across some where the multiflora was a nothing but a woody core slowly disintegrating. The outer part of the root was completely rotted away. I just cut the whole thing off and now the rose is own root.

So for me, it's a patience lesson as well, but not as difficult, because I have the flowers to enjoy while they sit in the 15 gallon cans. I put all my bands in pots because I lost too many the other way. I have a rather large potted section so a few more don't make much difference. I like bamboo teepees with tall annuals on them as place holders until my bands are big enough to plant in the ground.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 12:14PM
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diane_nj 6b/7a

I too agree that March is too early for bands. I recommend May.

The speed of growth depends on the rose and the growing conditions. I don't know the variety "Freddie Mercury", but I can tell you that hybrid teas on their own roots have been notoriously slow starting for me. I wouldn't expect it to get close to the size of a grafted roses until the 3rd year (maybe longer). I'm with hoovb, rose growing requires patience, especially in colder zones.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 12:48PM
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lola-lemon(5b East WA)

Kittymoon beam- I think some of the band vendors do offer a limited supply of 2nd year own roots. I think they pot into larger pots any left over roses and sell them the next year. folks might call their vendors and ask about these. I see them and buy them when I shop at Northland Rosarium locally, but I bet they can ship them too. They of course cost more.

Everyone's mileage will vary- but I just found this picture at Heirloom. the caption reads as follows:

"One season of growth from an Heirloom Roses cutting: the Hybrid Tea rose on the right (photographed in late summer) was planted in spring from the 6" band pot size shown at left."

so- here is 1 summer of growth on their bands. I think it's probably the high side of what I could get here. They obviously feed it to its satisfaction when they get it in the ground.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 2:56PM
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desertratrose(z9 AZ-PHX)

My experience will vary greatly from the OP, but I thought I'd chime in. I have purchased over the years a lot of bands from Heirloom. I have grown to truly love own root roses in my garden. I have found that potting them in one gallon containers until I see roots out to the sides of the pots (yes, I'll check now and then) and then potting them in the ground (as long as this is before it starts hitting 100 degrees outside) works here. Usually its warm enough here that this can be as little as 4-6 weeks, so I might order them for January delivery and have them in the ground in February (I just planted two Ruby Baby miniatures this way, for example). I'm still waiting on Amazing Grace, the only non-miniature I got from them this year, to begin to seem ready to even check the roots. Usually while they are busy making lots of good roots, there's only minimal growth up top, and usually its longer for a large rose to be ready to go into the ground. I think its going slow because its not in a nice heat absorbing black plastic pot, its in a handy ceramic pot so it might have a bit cooler temp in there.

I think the other two minis could go in the ground except the location I want to place them is very close to the front sidewalk and so I want some more size on them topside before I risk stray steps or wandering dogs in the wrong place. We have no front fence.

Note that these were potted and grown in a spot that is south facing on my front porch and get full sun all day. In January/February here that temp ranged from 60-78 deg for a high so far this year, so they enjoy that kind of warmth to the soil to help stimulate the root growth.

Velvet Fragrance is one I bought own root, at the end of the second growing season (remember the zone difference here) I could not tell it apart in size/strength from any other rose planted at the same time on Dr. Huey bare root. It has nearly died twice due to watering issues in my zone but has come back strong both times. I'm convinced had it been on rootstock it would have died entirely the first time around. That one I kept potted for a full year before planting it in the ground, but at the time I had a sizable pot ghetto and was sorting out what was going where. It went from band to a one gallon after receipt, and then into a five gallon after roots were showing out the bottom of the one gallon. Keeping it well watered through an AZ summer is pretty key.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 3:49PM
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Desertratrose, are you able to get your roses in containers thru the summer here? I usually plant bands directly into the ground when I receive them (usually Nov-Feb) and they seem to do fine. However, it seems like it might be better to leave them in a pot over the summer and plant them in the fall.

It just seems like they suffer in pots, especially around August or so when it is hellish hot outside. I usually keep them under my patio so they are not getting any direct sun, but have still had trouble keeping them alive in pots during this time of year. Any suggestions?


    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 6:12PM
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desertratrose(z9 AZ-PHX)

Jaspermplants, when I have potted roses through the summer, I keep them in part sun, usually morning sun, then I try to put their pots inside bigger pots or wood boxes that keep the sun from truly beating on the outside of the pots. That plus absolutely daily water in late afternoon, so you have to use well draining soil. My best ones have actually been from Bakers where they pot them up in mulch, I leave those in the five gallons all summer, drains really well, and I water well every afternoon.

I don't do that for the bands, I am currently using Black Gold potting soil that states on it that it both has good water retention and good drainage. The bands have been really happy.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 7:45PM
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Here's a question. Do any of you plant something in the pots with your bands? I usually put some tiny annuals - maybe a little dwf marigold or a lobelia or viola. Do you think it slows the roses down? My pot village looks much prettier when I sprinkle toadflax around on the surface of the soil or put some little flowers in with the roses. I pot them up right away so I don't feel they are being crowded out.

I agree that you have to protect the sides of the pots from the sun. My neighbor planted in the clay strawberry pots and wondered why the plants on the sunny side died off.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 9:59PM
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Kitty, I am in awe. You garden at a level that I can only aspire to, but shall probably NEVER attain. While you beautify your pot village with tiny annuals, I'm struggling constantly to keep my pot ghetto free of weeds, moss, and all other extraneous growth. My hat is off to you. Perhaps one day I too shall progress from unsightly ghetto to well-kempt village.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 9:30PM
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Why repot? I never understood that at all.

I've bought a lot from Heirloom and other places. The roses from Moore were always scary - they came in the tiniest little pots.

Your roots are not going to be really developed and when you disturb them, which you will, you'll end up killing a few and while you won't croak your plant, you will need to make up for the time.

Why don't you just stick the bands directly into the ground? It makes zero sense to repot as far as I'm concerned - how does that help anything?

You can leave the bands in the ground all summer. Then replant in the fall.

Or don't.

I've rooted roses and have left them for several years - they end up growing thru the band but that's OK - you move them in the early spring just like they're bare-root roses.

I'm moving 2 next month. They're now over 2 years old. Time to get them out of the bands. They'll be just fine, like they always are.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 10:34PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

Because in many places and conditions, that practice would be a good way to kill them.

What works in one environment can be disaster in another.


    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 9:27PM
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