Roses from Heirloom Roses

rosybunnyApril 7, 2014

I'm here to let out some frustration and ask for opinions. Last year was my first year trying to grow roses because I was deeply enchanted by the roses I saw on Heirloom's website. I ordered twice, five plants in total, they lived in 5 gal containers until they grew big enough to be planted in the ground.

A year has passed, those five plants are all in the ground now. Generosity, which Heirloom calls "good cut flower" and "continually blooming", has proven to be neither so far :(

Martina Mondadori, the plant is looking very healthy and lovely but the blooms are all wrong, they are in glowing orangy red instead of the pale pink they are supposed to be, with no fragrance whatsoever vs. the strong fragance it's supposed to have. Heirloom did send me another plant of my choice to make it up.

Eiffel Tower and Double Delight both turned out to be whimps even though I pampered them all year 2013, at present they both have only one 2.5' relatively thin cane and a handful of weak short canes, not exactly a cheerful sight.

The best of all is Cherry Parfait, but it's still below 3' and all canes are thin and weak, don't know if that's how it's supposed to be.

I have fertilised all of them with very good compost also with Mill's Mix. In comparison, all the plants I received from Roses Unlimited last year are looking more robust and are pleasing to the eye. Do you think I picked wimpy difficult varieties? Or will they become true to how they are supposed to be when they mature more? I really don't feel so good about Heirloom, I think I'm done ordering from them, basically, if for similar prices, 2nd year own-root roses are greater deals than 1st year own-root ones.

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alameda/zone 8

I just got an order in from Heirloom - all are healthy, green and ready to grow. I have a lot of bands in pots - with Vintage Gardens closing, I ordered more than I normally would. I am not any kind of expert like so many on this forum but I am learning and ask questions when I need to. I am figuring out that growing from a band is a long process. Maybe its just me - but I do not find that I can grow from a small band into a big thriving bush in one year. I put mine in gallon pots and graduate into bigger pots when the root system warrants it. In the larger pots, they grow even bigger and thrive. Then, after I feel like they are stout enough, I will plant them in the ground. All this being said........I feel that growing bands into full sized roses takes awhile. If one is impatient and wants instant gratification, perhaps bands are not the way to go.

I have an order coming from Roses Unlimited soon. Their roses are much larger than Heirloom's. Shipping is more expensive too. My experience with bands is that one must exercise patience. Personally, I enjoy taking care of the bands and watching them grow and mature. Not everyone would want to do this. Heirloom has a lot of unusual varieties, and I was very pleased with the quality and health of their bands. I think if you give these bands a little time to grow and mature, you will be very pleased. I am careful about fertilizing my baby bands - I think Kim [roseseek] said it best - fertilize weekly, weakly. I am using Superthrive and fish and kelp emusion now - plan to alternate with a couple of others, but will do it in very weak strength.

Don't think you will see instantly big shrubs with your Heirloom roses, but just baby them along and you will be surprised how fast they grow. I am pinching buds off all my new roses this year and actually don't mind, as I think about how much stronger this is making them.

Good luck with your new roses - I really think you will be pleased with them, given a little time. Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 1:46AM
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I have had my Heirloom roses for about five years now. I am not happy with them as their growth is very spindly. Only 'Golden Celebration' has grown into a lovely, (and huge) rose.


    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 2:03AM
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diane_nj 6b/7a

In general, you want to give roses 3 years to mature.

Own root hybrid teas are notoriously slow (5+ years) to mature for me. I have given up on HTs on their own roots, and will only grow HTs grafted on R. multiflora rootstock.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 9:26AM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

First year they sleep, second year they creep, third year they leap (as the old gardening saying goes)--except in the case of "bands." Add a couple more years to the "sleep" category for bands.

That is why I never buy bands--though they are a good deal for patient types who want to save on transportation costs.


    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 10:52AM
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alameda/zone 8

I am glad to hear that I am not the only one with slow to mature bands - thought it was my growing practices. With special ones that I cant get elsewhere - and the ones from Vintage Gardens - I don't have a problem growing them out in pots and waiting. It is fun, for me, to watch them grow and mature, knowing I am nurturing a rose that I cant get anywhere else. But for roses that can be had from other companies that are bigger, I always buy those. Until hearing from Kate and Diane, I thought it was just me that had these bands that were, though healthy, really slow to grow out. I pinch the buds off on my growing bands so the only real pleasure I get from them in the early stages is seeing them grow.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 11:59AM
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I have always had good luck with Heirloom's bands, but there is patience required. My strategy when I was starting my garden was equal parts grafted and own root. The faster performance of the grafted made the wait more bearable for the bands. Now that my garden is becoming more established, I buy more bands more heavily with only a couple grafted here and there because in my climate I want own root. With the terrible winter this year I'll be dealing with some heavy dieback but I know that many will rebound because they're on their own roots.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 12:00PM
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poorbutroserich(Nashville 7a)

After receiving 2G own roots from ARE and RU, I no longer buy bands unless that is the only availability. My life is too short.
I find that when I buy larger roses they go into the garden taking up the space that I chose for the band which is still under 2'. LOL.
It is certainly not the grower but more likely the rose.
I really enjoy roses from Canada budded on multiflora--almost immediate gratification!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 6:30PM
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Hey guys, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Kate, I like that old saying you mentioned, very assuring.

Oops, here's a fundamental lesson I missed about growing roses from bands, i.e. how much patience it would take. (I still remember when I got my first three plants from heirloom, hubby saw them and said:"That's it? They are small." That was my first time ordering roses, I had no idea.)

Knowing this new information, actually they don't seem to be doing as badly I have to admit! I took off all but a few buds in the first year, basically it only took the bands about 6 months to fill out 5 gal pots individually, by that time they'd eaten up all there was in the pots and couldn't wait any longer to come out.

Linda, what are the other varieties you got from heirloom?

But after all, I would not recomend Generosity, it's not a strong growing plant, its shape is uneven and narrow so far--or if you want to try growing it, at least know it would take a while for the plant to look good. It reblooms slowly and the flowers open and fade quickly. It doesn't do well in hot sun either, poor thing.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 11:21PM
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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

My guess would be that bands are more successful in warmer areas where there is a much longer growing season and the winters are mild. I plant mine straight into the ground after about ten days and they've all done well, but even for me that first year is somewhat excruciating. It also depends on the variety; some roses are just inherently more vigorous than others on their own roots.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 11:20AM
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paparoseman(z8 WA. PO.)

VERY true on the fact that many modern roses particularly HT's and Floribundas grow SLOWLY on their own roots. Some of the newest ht's and floribundas grow better on their own roots because in recent years the hybridizers have been growing the seedlings up on their own roots and so they know which new rose varieties can be grown own root.

Pretty much any rose that was introduced back in the stone ages of rose growing, 1800-1925 will grow very well on it's own roots and even a band size bush will grow quickly into the size that you desire. Polyantha's which started to be introduced in the early 1900's all do fantastic on their own roots. Floribundas which are a combination of polyanthas and hybrid teas by breeding in some cases grow very well and in other cases not so well.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 11:29AM
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