Bare root roses: to soak or not to soak..?

DisplacedClevelander(6a)March 30, 2014

Before I get to my soaking question, let me rewind and give you some background.

Back in January when I ordered these Palatine roses, I had convinced myself that when they would arrive that I could just plant them whenever I wanted (which would be when spring has sprung after the first frost which isn't for another 2 weeks). The roses arrived on Thursday. When they got here, I just put them in the garage.

Just now read through the instructions from Palatine and (of course) it says to plant them immediately and not to soak them any longer than 24 hours.

So I thought that you could soak bare root roses for anywhere from 2 hours to a week.. How long would you recommend that I soak it for? Does it matter? And it needs to be the whole plant, right?

If I don't plan on planting this for another few days, should I just plan on soaking it the day before I plant it? And in the interim, how should I store these roses?

Anything else that I should know about them?

If it's not obvious enough, I don't really know what I am doing.. (knocking on wood) but so far, I haven't killed that many roses (RIP Dainty Bess and Voodoo).

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

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I like the big, healthy Palatine roses.

I have never heard of soaking the entire plant.

I like to put bare roots in a mud bath for overnight before I plant them. I make a slurry with dirt or compost and water, and maybe a little diluted liquid fish fertilizer and put the plant in, making sure the roots are entirely covered.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 7:48PM
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Below is a link to an earlier GW thread on soaking roses that you might find helpful to read

Here is a link that might be useful: GW rose thread

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 8:04PM
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charleney(8a PNW)

I soak them, canes leaves and roots. Never lost a transplant bare root this way. The mud bath I think works really well. The rule: Put a wet plant in a wet hole.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 9:09PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

I've soaked bare roots for weeks. You will want to keep them in the shade or basement or garage. Also add a bit of bleach to the water to keep the water from getting stagnant.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 9:22PM
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diane_nj 6b/7a

The purpose of soaking it to rehydrate the plants prior to planting, as they have been in shipment for a week (or more), and in cold storage for months.

If you can leave them tightly wrapped in a cold place, they can stay for about a week as long as it is cold. Otherwise, put them to soak now (covering the roots at a minimum; some people soak the whole plant). I have soaked for a month, but I try to keep it to no longer than 1 week. Change the water if you need to soak them longer than a week.

This post was edited by diane_nj on Sun, Mar 30, 14 at 21:26

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 9:24PM
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When my Eyeconic Lemonade was passed to me, it had been in a bucket of water for over a month. A friend gave it to me as she decided she didn't have room for it. The plant was nicely leafed out and grew wonderfully when I potted it. Ideally, you don't leave the canes submerged more than about a day, but the roots can remain in water for a very long time as long as there isn't any organic material (mulch, dead leaves, etc.) which can sour. Kim

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 12:27AM
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bart_2010(8/9 Italy)

I'm amazed to read that it's OK to keep a bare-root rose in water that long! I always thought that you should never soak them for more than 24 hours...bart

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 2:39AM
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Years ago I had a Midas Touch and Spice Twice that weren't doing much where they were planted. My DH dug them up and put the roots in a bucket of water for what I think was well over a month, then planted them in a different spot, they both thrived after being transplanted.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 8:15AM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I just received a plant from David Austin--moistened plant wrapped loosely several times in a somewhat heavy plastic. The instructions were to not soak the plant. Leave it wrapped in plastic in a place where it wouldn't freeze (the garage, in my case) and check occasionally to see that it is still moist. It recommended planting the rose fairly soon--though I've forgotten if that was within a few hours or a few days.

However, most of the other places I've ordered from in the past have said to soak the plant at least overnight to several days or a week--which is what I usually do. However, I can remember a couple times in the past--for one reason or another--having to leave the rose soaking for nearly a month. I planted those plants and they grew, but they never were the strongest plants--kinda weakly. I probably should have been more careful about changing the water (and/or adding a drop of bleach) if I had to keep them soaking that long.

My advice: try to plant the rose within a couple day, or at least no longer than a week, if at all possible, but if life interferes (or Mother Nature decides to send a rip-roaring storm for a couple weeks), don't panic--the roses will probably survive even if they have to soak for several weeks.

I only soak up to the graft, but I have sometimes sprayed the top canes so they wouldn't dry out too badly.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 11:59AM
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