Is adding roses in the Fall common?

prairiemoon2 z6 MAAugust 19, 2014

I remember noticing that Pickering had a really busy time in the Fall because they were shipping orders and until then, I wasn't aware that people bought and planted roses in the Fall. Of course, maybe they are only doing that in the warmer zones? Here in New England, I've always waited for spring. Should I think about doing it in the Fall instead?

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Here in Kansas Zone 6, I only plant roses in the spring or, occasionally, if potted, in summer. Some people claim fall plantings are OK, but I always worry that if I do that, that might be the year we get one of those really brutal winters--like we had last winter. I can't see how a fall planted rose would survive that when many of my well-established older roses barely did.

A lot of activity in the fall is people putting in their orders to be delivered in early spring--like in March. I usually don't put in my spring orders until around Xmas or New Years, but other people put in the spring orders a couple months earlier than that.


    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 6:42PM
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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

Both of you are correct in that gardeners in warmer areas plant in the fall to allow the rose to gain strength before the brutal summer and colder-area gardeners put their order in then in order to get the roses they want, but ask for them to be delivered in the spring. Roses that are in great demand tend to sell out quickly and I've been disappointed several times when I decided to wait, even for a few days, only to find they were no longer available.


    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 7:13PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Thank you both. I just went to Pickering Nurseries to see when they will be accepting orders, and to my surprise, they have a message on the site that they won't be accepting orders in 2015! I guess the founder passed away in May and other changes in the industry, etc.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pickering Nurseries

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 7:31PM
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seil zone 6b MI

I know a lot of people say you can plant in the fall in my zone but I've never had a fall planted rose survive it's first winter here so I stopped doing it. I wait for spring when I know it will have all season to root and settle in for it's first winter.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 7:37PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

So I would guess the same principal applies to moving roses too, Seil?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 8:31PM
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vasue(7A Charlottesville)

Autumn is usually much more stable in the weather department than Spring here, where the early ups-downs of temperature swing wildly. Not uncommon for 90 in early April followed by hard freezes. Soil too wet for planting often problematic for clay-based loam subject to generous rain late Winter & Spring. Early September through mid-October is my favorite planting time for perennials, including roses, to settle in easily. Soil's still warm, nights cool but not frosty & daytime temps mild. Indian Summer can last till Christmas some years, and the cold doesn't usually penetrate the ground till the new year. Need to be good about watering then & in the mild patches of Winter, but planting after the Summer heat passes less stressful on all concerned.

(Does it seem silly to feel new plants arriving in this garden take their cues from those already here? Seldom planting anything not cold-hardier than two zones lower than this & known to appreciate conditions offered, this appears to be the norm in this garden. As if a melody & rhythm already inaudibly playing among the existing plants set a pattern to which newcomers respond in kind...)

Local custom calls for planting bare root roses no later than mid-March in sites prepared the previous Autumn & mulched heavily at that time to protect the soil from freeze-thaw cycles so common in this area of sporadic snow cover, so planting is possible in March. Ideally, the rose should awaken at the proper time without missing a beat. In the main, worked successfully for years until the "new norm" of more volatile weather patterns signalled all bets were off. Took to potting up bare roots & doing the garage protection shuffle before planting out when the weather stabilized. More trouble & expense (fresh potting soil) than preferred, finally unconvinced that the roses transitioned well to garden sites. Though they did relatively well initially protected from yo-yo Spring weather exposure, they often stalled as the heat cranked up in a way the traditional manner sidestepped. Perhaps a potting soil to garden soil transition issue? Yet potted roses bought in season given larger pots & planted out after Summer heat passed did fine, so perhaps a root growth/top growth effect. At any rate, tiring of the early potting method & reluctant to return to iffy weather traditional planting, considering a limited fall bare root inground trial myself.

Over the years, often planted end-of-season potted roses in Autumn with great success, as well as moving & replanting existing roses. (A favorite nursery that carries pansies & mums discounts their 3-gallons in an all-you-can-carry sale for $16. Those still healthy & blooming late prove irresistible at what comes to $4 a rose.) Tried Fall planting a few bare root mail order roses I'd craved that always seemed to be sold out very early or sent in whimpier versions after warmer zones were supplied. Depending on how late in our season they were planted, found those put in halfway through would often leaf out but not show much branch growth, lose their leaves at the usual time & grow strongly in the following season piled with leaves during the cold. Figured the new leaves supplied the roots equal energy as a neutral trade off & the plants' internal clocks synchronized to the shorter day season knew it wasn't time for a growth spurt. Similar reaction as a plant that drops its leaves for other reasons only to regrow them if conditions allow. On this semi-exposed bluff ringed by forest, protect young plants from prevailing Winter winds of drying cold. Grafts planted below soil level in recent years to hedge against Winter loss & in hopes of own rooting. If we could time Fall planting of actually dormant roses just right - when the soil still favors root growth without air temps & sun promoting growth - we might get lucky & come out a season ahead of the game, or not. Wonder if shading a Fall-planted bare root rose or otherwise attempting to foil top growth triggers might help keep it safely asleep...

Are gardeners all gamblers at heart? Try to place & hedge my bets within reason, and safe bets are reassuring. Still mulling this prospect myself, found the linked discussion on point.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fall rose planting discussion

This post was edited by vasue on Wed, Aug 20, 14 at 14:31

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 2:26PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Vasue - you make a good point. It was last spring that I had so much trouble planting bare root roses that made me reconsider, did I want to purchase in the Fall. I was advised to schedule delivery as early in the spring as possible and gave a late March date. When the roses arrived , the ground was still frozen and had a foot of snow still on the ground. I ended up having to soak them and put them in black garbage bags in the refrigerator for 12 days before I could get them planted. I tried what you did with one rose out of six, and planted it up in a pot and shuffled it in and out of the kitchen at night. And here in New England zone 6a, it may be a little worse than where you are. [g]

Thank you for the link, I’ll check that out too.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 2:51PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Moving roses now may be fine if you still have 6 or 8 weeks of good weather left for them to get established in a new spot. You're moving an already bigger root ball with feeder roots on it. A potted rose MAY be all right but I would never plant a bare root this time of year. You have to know what your fall season is like and how long it will be. With the way the weather has been that's no longer possible I feel. I prefer to wait until spring for planting.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 3:11PM
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dove_song(WA State Z6b)

In my zone 6b I also prefer to wait until spring for planting. :-)

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 5:03PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Thanks! I think I'm going to stick to spring delivery and planting. Glad I asked. :-)

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 3:24AM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Fall planting of bare-roots used to be standard before the technology of cold storage was developed. However, in zones 5-7, if you have a warm spell in Nov-Dec that starts the plants growing, you can lose plants owing to depletion of stored energy and canker attacking the new growth. This happened to me once and caused 50% losses, so I will never do it again. Probably it is safer in midwestern z. 5 where winter sets in solidly and stays put. You are basically using the garden as a cold-storage facility. The plants must stay dormant.

For spring planting of bare-roots it is important to do any soil preparation when the soil is dry during fall.

In zones 5-7, fall planting of small potted roses is really foolish because the top growth is likely to be wiped out by winter damage. These plants will fall behind plants that are set out the following April with intact tops.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 1:28PM
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Michaela .:. thegarden@902 .:. (Zone 5b - Iowa)

I will be planting two here in the next week so time will tell if this was a good idea or not.

The family who owns the local nursery I shop at told me to plan on giving roses a month to get settled before winter. She was really adamant that they would be fine planting them in zone 5 all through September.

They really stand behind their customers and gave me a free hydrangea when one I purchased dormant never came out of dormancy and never even asked me for a receipt so I don't think they'd say that just to get a sale.

Next year will really let me know if it's a bad choice or not!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 4:28PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Sure, it's fine to plant large potted roses in the fall with a few weeks to get their roots settled in.

That's a different situation.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 4:42PM
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Michaela .:. thegarden@902 .:. (Zone 5b - Iowa)

Michael - was that to me? If so thank you for letting me know. I have been worried about them not making it.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 4:45PM
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seil zone 6b MI

A large potted rose already has a healthy root ball. It just needs enough time to settle in before the ground freezes. A bare root, band or very small potted rose won't have enough time to root properly before it gets too cold.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 6:19PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

A lot of this is going to depend on how hardy the particular rose is. For example, I've planted a baby John Cabot in the fall without any problems. I've also planted a lot of bareroot gallicas in the fall. They don't seem to respond to temperature cues, but day length, so they aren't fooled by warm spells.

Basically, this thread is about hybrid teas and their ilk.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 6:48PM
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Everyone is correct - it totally depends on the specific climate where you are. Here in No California, we enjoy a Mediterranean climate, which means LONG (usually 7-8 months with NO rain) warm or hot Summers, and cool but above freezing wet winters.

So, everybody plants everything here in the Fall. Landscaping projects of any kind, planting roses, bulbs, anything. That way they get to enjoy months of mild temperatures and rain, before the dry season starts.


    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 7:26PM
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