Kittymoonbeam or anyone / Sonia Rykiel Question

suebelle_neworleansMay 9, 2013

I have an own root bush of Sonia Rykiel and I love it, but, I can't seem to get any strong stems. The blooms are always laying down on the ground. The bush is only about 18 months old. Is this normal for Sonia Rykiel? Would it do better if it were grafted?

I have a similar problem on Bishop's Castle.
Any suggestions or is this just the growth habit of these rose varieties?

Sue Belle

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The best thing to do with young floppy stems is tie them up to a support while the plant grows roots. Sonia will grow thicker canes but the smaller ones come first. I like the tomato ladders from Gardener's Supply Co. but anything sturdy will work. A trellis made of metal that pushes into the soil or a wood trellis supported by stakes that you can remove when the mature canes come in work fine too. The roses are big and heavy for the young canes and without support, the flowers are on the ground. Sonia's flowers are big heavy clusters and hang down many times naturally. When the plant has made a good strong supply of roots, it will begin to grow thicker canes instead of the thinner ones. There is no real timetable for this. Every plant is different. The best thing to do is mulch well and water enough so that your plant does not dry out and I feed mine a balanced organic rose food to compliment the horse manure mulch I use. I'm sure others will have some other good ideas for encouraging young own root roses. If you don't get many flowers at first, don't blame yourself. These big flowers are work for small plants to make and it gets easier for them as they mature.

The best reward for gardening patience that I know of.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 9:40AM
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Other than frequent black spot, Sonia's other chronic problem in these parts has been her desire to be a ground cover. Early suggestions were to "plant it at the back of the border" so it could lay down on the roses and other plants in front of it for support. Budded, there is just more of her to lay down on the job. Support is the best course of action if you must maintain her in your garden. Gorgeous scent and beautiful flowers, but a real disappointment of a bush. She's been gone from here for a looong time. Kim

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 4:21PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

After 3-4 years of watching a BUDDED plant of Sonia Rykiel lay her floppy-stemmed blooms on the ground, we gave up and removed her.

Yes, the blooms were lovely. Yes, they were fragrant. But what good was that, laying in the mud?


    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 4:26PM
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I have to return and say a few words for one of my favorite roses. After the canes are tied up and get a bit of age they will support the new ones growing through them. I know it's not the prettiest plant. The canes shoot out at angles and are long. They want to bend down and the big flower clusters help pull them down. I always have a few bamboo poles pushed in to tie stems to for extra help and also a flat metal trellis to keep sonia off the walkway so she won't bite people passing by. But I feel that all of this is worth it. If there was another rose so wonderful and similar, I would have traded for it by now, but there isn't. And she also eats up space. I get smaller slender blooming wood coming off mature 5-6' canes that are self supporting. I suppose you love this rose enough to train it or you don't. I like to train climbers so I don't mind at all. This is my ideal rose in terms of fragrance+color+shape. It's just not an ideal bush.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 8:20PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

'Bishops Castle' grows fairly horizontally. Short climber, for me.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 12:55AM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

This is my 2nd year of Sonia Rykiel. She needs constant moisture to be upright, plus potassium. I gave her low-salt monopotassium phosphate, NPK 0-52-34, you can get that stuff through, free shipping.

Or sulfate of potash NPK 0-0-50 would give the potassium needed for strong stem, plus to fight disease.

My Sonia Rykiel is 100% clean, zero black spots here despite our 40" of annual rain. Below is a picture of Sonia Rykiel taken today, after 30+ hours of constant rain. See how upright her stems are, given enough water and potassium?

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 11:05AM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

Thanks, Hoovb, for posting that pretty pic. of Bishop Castle. It took me an hour to find the NPK of Ingrid's decomposed granite soil: twice higher in phosphorus and potassium than nitrogen. Ingrid's bush of Bishop Castle is upright, big blooms, no floppy neck whatsoever.

Withholding nitrogen helps to deter that rapid weak-stem growth that attract aphids & mites, plus crawling branches. The soil that needs nitrogen are sandy soil or very acidic clay, below pH 5. See below link that shows PLENTY of nitrogen with clay in alkaline/neutral range.

I'm posting a picture of Sonia Rykiel bloom: its beauty, unmatched fragrance, and nice foliage makes it worth growing:

Here is a link that might be useful: Cornell University chart on nutrient deficiencies

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Fri, May 10, 13 at 11:36

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 11:09AM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

But -- I suspect that those who do NOT live in a land of ample rain might not find this rose well-adapted to their conditions.

(Living In A Land Of Little Rain)

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 10:51PM
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Strawberry, I believe it. I would love to get even 20" of rain in a year. Beautiful green Chicago. I remember the first time I saw Maryland in early fall. It looked like pictures of Ireland to me. I couldn't stop staring at all the green everywhere. I was thinking that I spend maybe 30 minutes a few times a year tying a straying cane in. Most of them are not straight up as yours are, they sort of are at a 45 angle but some do go upright. They don't freeze so the old canes harden a bit and support the new ones coming up. Right now there are loads of growth all along the cane with groups of buds forming at the tips like you would see on a climber. I had some tips of canes blooming earlier and now I'm getting the growth off the midsections of the canes. Some of those are a few years old and maybe after flowering, I will cut them out at the base and let the new ones come in. Yours looks so tidy with all the fresh new growth shooting up. Mine's a big old girl and is easily 6' wide and 5' tall. I water Abraham Darby next to her and the water flows downhill to Sonia so she gets most of it. Firefighter in front of Sonia seems happy with the water too. That's a good spot for perfume roses so I thought Firefighter would be a good plant there. I wondered if all of you were exaggerating about Firefighter, but I see that it's going to be a great fragrance rose.

Here's a little posy of sweetpeas and Sonia Rykiel

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 11:27PM
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strawchicago(zone 5a)

I agree with Kim, Jeri, and Kitty that Sonia is hard to grow without plenty of water. With water-hog I learn to prune hard, so the root is bigger than the top growth.

My limestone clay releases calcium when it rains here .. rain water is acidic, pH 5.6. Both calcium and potassium regulate osmotic pressure of cell membrane, for firm plant tissue. Salt in chemical fertilizer drives down potassium, so chemical nitrogen is a NO-NO for water-hog with droopy stem.

Check out the link below for this excerpt: "Under salt stress the osmotic pressure in the soil solution exceeds the osmotic pressure in plant cells due to the presence of high salt, and thus, reduces the ability of plants to take up water and minerals like K+ and Ca".

Gypsum (calcium sulfate), neutral in pH, supplies calcium. Roses Unlimited recommends putting 1 cup of gypsum in the planting hole. Gypsum is also used to de-salt saline soil/water.

Thank you, Kitty, for that awesome pic. of Sonia in a vase ... I love all the pics you posted. I checked with Ingrid whether her upright Bishop Castle is own-root, like my Sonia Rykiel ... Ingrid's Bishop Castle is grafted, but she prunes it down in spring and after it blooms.

Here is a link that might be useful: Salinity stress in plants and cytosolic calcium

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Sat, May 11, 13 at 12:17

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 11:33AM
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