Help! Is it to early to plant rose bushes??

heavenlyfarm(zone 6b)March 17, 2009

Ok so I'm new to growing roses. I just bought a 'New Day' tea hybrid rose and a 'Moonlight Magic' tea hybrid rose a few days ago at Kmart. The bag said to plant immediately upon arrival or purchase so I did but now I just thought are those directions actually accurate? Usually I reference with people and make sure it is okay to plant but I just was so excited to get them planted and started that I didn't bother to think the planting time over until I saw that some of you say it's too early to prune or fertilize. So is it okay to plant them now? The 'new day' was planted 3 days ago and shows no sign of wilting but it's been quite warm recently. I also plan on buying a few more..hehe actually quite alot soon since they are my new is it ok to plant them in the ground?? I just don't want to make a mistake and kill them.


PA, zone 6

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Now is a great time to plant bare root roses--after the super cold weather that can kill the canes and before it warms up too much. We have already started planting our bare roots in CT.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 3:56PM
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dan_keil_cr Keil(Illinois z5)

Make sure that you soak it in water for a few days. I'm 5b and I bury the bud union 6"down under the soil to help protect it from the cold. I'm planning on planting some today!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 4:10PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Since you referred to a bag, I infer these are inexpensive bare-root roses. Since you refer to wilting, I infer the plants had already started into growth. That's not desirable since the plants don't have fine roots established and-- more importantly-- the new growth will be killed by temperatures around 27 F.

Be sure you have planted them with the bud union (graft swelling) just below grade. You don't need 6" of cover in a typical zone 6 climate. Then pile light soil over the canes to protect new growth against freezing. After a few weeks wash this off with a hose.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 6:18PM
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heavenlyfarm(zone 6b)

michaelg, I don't know why you have to comment that they are inexpensive b/c that's not what I asked..I love them all the same whether they cost 10 dollars or 50 dollars. I did soak them for a couple hours as advised by the directions and planted them properly as stated with bud union is just above ground. I mulched them as well. The temperature here was 56 degrees today and averages usually are around 45-60. The forecast has temps high 40s and 50's and I don't believe it will reach 27F anytime soon.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 7:41PM
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HI Mike-
I am a big admirer of Moonlight Magic which can be hard to find but seems to show up every year in the discount store bare root packaging.
You are a bit warmer in zone 6 than I am in zone 5, so you might be ok with the bud union above ground. I find here that the roses make it through the winter much better if the bud union is 3 inches below ground level.
You'll find every kind of rose grower here on the forum. Some of us grow the bare roots from the plastic bags very successfully.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 12:10AM
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karl_bapst_rosenut(5a, NW Indiana)

You can plant a bareroot rose as soon as you can work the soil.
I planted three last week but I soaked them for four days before planting. The instructions on the bag are generic for the whole country. In zones that may get temps below zero, it's advisable to plant the bud union 3-5 inches deep. Keep in mind the portion of cane above the bud union and below the soil surface will eventually root, creating an own root rose.
Don't replant if they are not deep enough. If you prepared the hole properly, the bush will probably settle a little lower than planted. (Properly being a hole 18 inches wide and deep. Loose soil under the bush will settle and any organics mixed in the hole will eventually be condensed by soil critters.)
Regarding the mound of soil covering the exposed canes, I leave it alone for Mother Nature to wash away with the rains. That extra soil won't harm anything if left.
Water lots until it's growing well. Unless you plant them in a pond, you can't water a new rose too much.

When choosing body bagged roses, pick those with no or little growth but with green canes. That growth has occured in low light and sometimes in the box before it was opened at the store. It means the bush has broken dormancy. When exposed to natural sunlight and cooler air the growth will most often shrivel, turn black, and die. Not to worry though, there are dormant back up buds at the base of the new growth. They will activate and produce more canes. I usually remove the growth already on a bare root rose when I plant it so energy stored in the canes is not wasted on growth that will most likely die anyway.
That growth first produced comes from food and moisture stored in the canes. The roots take a little time to produce fedeer roots that take up more moisture and nutrients. Those roots you see when you opened the bag are anchor roots. Any feeder roots were lost when the bush was harvested.
Those body bagged roses sold at the big box stores are usually a lower grade which is why many here frown on buying them. They're often mislabeled too.
But sometimes you can get a good rose at a good price.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 12:57AM
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heavenlyfarm(zone 6b)

Thanks so much for the information! I'm glad to hear that it has dormant back up buds cause I was worried that it would die completely. I'll keep in mind about looking for ones with no or little growth. I do plan on purchasing more roses that aren't so low grade from reputible companies but It is my first attempt with roses and I would rather make a stupid mistake now then later with one that I spent quite alot on. Does anyone have any company suggestions to order from?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 8:24AM
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senko(6b ePA)

Pickering has good prices. This is my first time using them but I have seen many referring to this supplier as good. So we will see. Someone who used them might give their opinion here.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 10:12AM
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diane_nj 6b/7a

First, bud union below ground, even here near the NJ coast.

Next, Pickering and Palatine Nursery are excellent vendors. Their bareroots are grafted on R. multiflora rootstock, which should do very will in PA and will not tend to sucker like Dr. Huey rootstock (which is what most bagged roses are grafted on).

Mike, see the link below for the recent discussion on bagged roses. Just some background. As Karl said, sometimes you can find a winner, and maybe something rare, but there are so many, many great roses out there from great vendors.

And, welcome to the forum!

Here is a link that might be useful: Why are body bags so cheap?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 12:49PM
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heavenlyfarm(zone 6b)

I do plan on ordering from good vendors for better roses and thanks for that thread, diane_nj. It just I can't resist a bargain, even with it being a gamble, especially since they go on sale for only a dollar. Yes, most of the kmarts, Home depots, etc. take crappy care of them but who can resist a dollar? plus I have space to try them and hope for the best:) I'm prob going to order several from a good nursery and whatever bagged ones I happen to want to try. lol i love suprises!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 2:09PM
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