mutiflora root stock

farmerduckSeptember 23, 2012

Is it true that roses on multiflora root stock do not do well in alkaline soil? My soil is alkline, and my own experience suggests the answer may be yes. The ones I planted in pots (with acidic potting soil) do MUCH better than those planted in the ground. Also, all my grafted ones on Dr. Huey seem to do much better than the ones on multiflora. However, what's puzzling, though, is that R. Multiflora thrives where I live. It is literally everywhere, growing to two-story tall or even taller. o at least on paper, plants on multiflora should do very well. (I actaully liked RM until I saw, after studying postings here, RRD on some of the plants in my neighborhood.)

Does anyone have an explanation for this or am I missing something? Or the multiflora the Canadian nurseries use is different enough from those that go gangbuster near where I live.

On another note, would "acidify" the soil help for plants on multiflora? The thing is that I use a lot of compost for the ones I planted in ground and I use peat moss. Not sure what else I can do. Fertilizer for acid loving plants? Any suggestion?

Thanks in advance.

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What multiflora will or will not do where you are, I can't say. I live in Southern California. Everything from the ocean all the way into Nevada is ancient sea floor. It is highly salty with calcium and other salts. The water is highly alkaline. I can grow multiflora. It WILL be chlorotic unless I amend the soil around it. This is based upon growing both the species as well as closely related hybrids of it here since the early 1980s. Roses which are closely related include most of the hybrid musks, which are actually hybrid multifloras, containing much more multiflora breeding than musk.

I have both purchased roses budded on multiflora root stock as well as budded my own on multiflora. None have performed as well as those budded on Dr. Huey in my soil and water, even with copious organic amendments and mulch. I would surmise part of the multiflora problem in my area is due to our longer, more intense heat as the chlorosis appears much more during our hotter weather. Because of that, your issues may not be as severe.

Build your soil with organics. Use soil sulfur to help acidify should you encounter issues. If multiflora grows easily without chlorosis issues where you are, go for it. In my climate, soil and with my water, it is a problem. Kim

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 10:00PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

My soil is alkaline, and while multiflora is all over the place, it often looks quite unhappy. Just because you see it around, doesn't mean it is doing well.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 10:45PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

I am also close to the Southern California coast. We are not only ancient seabed, but all of the topsoil that probably once existed up here on the hillside is now growing vegetables down on the Oxnard Plain. Our well-water runs bet. 8.3 and 8.5.

I have grown roses on Multiflora, and still have a couple, but it is a constant battle to push that pH back down. To me, it's just NOT WORTH IT. I'd far, far have a rose on its own roots than on Multiflora.


    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 11:24PM
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nanadollZ7 SWIdaho(Zone 7 Boise SW Idaho)

I have alkaline soil, and I have found that the roses I have which are grafted on multiflora, all from Palatine in Canada, are a mixed bag when it comes to performance. Some of those roses are doing quite well, and some not so well. I do use manure, compost, and granular fertilizer for acid loving plants on them. But the product that has really worked best to get rid of chlorosis, poor growth and blooming, is a soil acidifier from Hi-Yield which is only sold in nurseries around here. It also works on the Dr Huey grafted roses that have chlorosis problems, too. I think it's a very effective product. Diane

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 11:40PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Check the pH and add 1/2 cup of plain sulfur per square yard to reduce pH by one point. It takes a long time to work but has a lasting effect.

Multiflora flourishes in my neighborhood where soils are mostly around neutral. I notice iron-deficiency symptoms on plants growing near concrete curbs (which of course will raise the pH locally).

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 10:23AM
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Thank you, all, for the responses, which are VERY informative. I mostly grow own roots, but had succumbed to the temptation, yet again, and ordered more from Palatine: the bare roots they sent are just so big and healthy!

Based on what I hear above, I will continue to use a lot of organic materials and will add sulfur and/or Hi-Yield. I might throw in some coffee grind as well. I will give it another couple of years, and, if they continue to underperform, I guess that will be end of my buying roses on multiflora.

Thanks again for the advice!

BTW, after reading Diane�s recommendation on Ascot, I have ordered it.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 1:28PM
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nanadollZ7 SWIdaho(Zone 7 Boise SW Idaho)

Hi farmerduck,
Hope the Hi-Yield works for you. Ascot was one of the few roses on multiflora which seemed to be oblivious to the alkaline soil. I wonder what its parentage is. I may begin removing some of the underperformers this spring. Diane

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 2:57PM
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