David Austin Roses - Own Root or Grafted?

alameda/zone 8November 2, 2011

I note on the David Austin site that some roses are listed as own root or grafted. I am making my Austin list and I want another Carding Mill - dont know which one to order. The grafted one I have stuck out our horrendous Texas summer when other roses didnt. I love this rose - does anyone have an opinion on which to get? I know own roots live longer and Chamblees Rose Nursery has gone to all own root roses. Thanks for any opinions.


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I ordered my Austins own root this fall. (Munstead Woods and Princess Alexandra) We're at two ends of the weather spectrum, so it may be apples and oranges. They don't do much the first year, but then take off during the second summer. I also order grafted, but mainly to avoid the spreading characteristics of some own-root OGRs.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 2:12PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Probably doesn't matter much--the ownroots I've tried have all done well.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 3:13PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I don't know if it makes a big difference, but I do find some of the Austins to be a bit wimpy for several years when they are planted own-root. In fact, I have a couple that took 4-5 years before they started showing normal vigor and growth patterns. So if I had a choice, I'd probably go with grafts.

By the way, I also don't necessarily accept the idea that own-root roses live longer than grafted roses. For one thing, if you bury your grafts 2-6 inches (a practice commonly indulged in at least in Zone 6 and further north), with time, that grafted rose will start growing its own roots, so eventually you end up with an own-root rose.

Just a thought to chew on. : )


    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 4:26PM
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stlgal(south z5)

I agree with Kate. In our cooler zones at least, grafted tend to get bigger faster and be more vigorous. This isn't much of an issue for some of them, as they are probably pretty vigorous either way and may not be an issue for you in Texas where they probably can get larger than here. But my own root Tamora has really never caught up with my grafted version. I also bury the bud union and get some superficial 'own roots', which eventually contribute to the graft in supporting growth

    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 6:46PM
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When ordering directly from DA, the question may not be grafted vs. own root, but virused or not. I ordered two -- a Princess Alexandra of Kent, and an Ambridge Rose, but grafted. Alex looks fine, but Ambridge is starting to show the telltale signs of RMV. Sadly, from others on this board I understand that my experience is not uncommon.


    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 7:30PM
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Agreed.. my roses I got early this year from DA in TX were grafted and they all grew poorly and showed big time mosaic virus. I was very disappointed. I am not buying from them again. Years ago, no problem, but this year was it for me. No more expensive sick, runty plants.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 10:15PM
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Glenburn(z8/z9 Mudgee, NSW Aust)

Some will know I am in Australia. I do love Austin's and have some. To my understanding of RMV, it does not come from the budwood, but from the understock. So could the DA site in Texas have understock plants with it rather than the original budwood from DA, these are only my thoughts, Regards David.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 1:48AM
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I always prefer own root roses whenever I have a choice; but it is true that in many cases it takes a lot more patience to see the own root roses get satisfactorily big enough, especially when compared to the "instant gratification" of how quickly a grafted rose will grow. But, over time, the opposite situation will eventually occur: the grafted rose, once it starts sending up suckers from the rootstock, will eventually weaken over time...

Here is a link that might be useful: Ken's Virtual Garden

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 7:12AM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Glenburn, yes, it is a problem of DA-USA and their use of contract growers in the Western USA who use Dr. Huey rootstock grown from cuttings. The same rose purchased from Pickering or Palatine in Canada will probably not be virused.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 1:02PM
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kstrong(10 So Cal)

Well, I am typically a fan of grafted roses -- but DA has been sending virused Dr. Huey stock under their grafted plants distributed in the U.S. lately, so I think in this instance I would get own root if I could.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 8:07PM
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stlgal(south z5)

That's very disturbing--I haven't gotten a plant that's shown signs of virus yet from DA, but I usually only order from them if others don't yet carry a rose (e.g. their new US introductions not yet available from Pickering or elsewhere).

So sounds like for the new introductions, there really is no reliable source. DA certainly doesn't sell them cheap either, particularly when they know we can't get them elsewhere, so I think those getting a virused plant from DA should document and complain to them. If we make a stink maybe they'll clean up their act. Has anyone tried requesting a replacement plant from their US supplier in TX? Their people have always been responsive when I've been on the phone with them about something.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 11:44PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I don't mean to be a contrarian here, but I just don't find myself that alarmed that a grafted rose may have mosaic virus. My Earth Song that I bought maybe 6 or 7 years ago occasionally shows signs of mosaic virus (white zigzags on the leaves), but most of the time it does not. But either way, it is still my heaviest bloomer/rebloomer in the entire garden and, in fact, it seems to bloom even better as time goes on. Don't know how it could bloom better other than to bloom non-stop from May to December. So the only impact the mosaic virus has on that rose that I can see is maybe once a year (or less) it shows white zigzags on the leaves for a few weeks, and they aren't even that noticeable.

I think as "viruses" go, mosaic virus is very mild and hardly noticeable. I've read posts in the past where long-time rose growers have roses with mosaic virus that are 20 years old and still going strong.

Maybe we are exaggerating this particular virus.


    Bookmark   November 4, 2011 at 9:41PM
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nanadollZ7 SWIdaho(Zone 7 Boise SW Idaho)

I have had a similar experience to Kate's. In 2005, my five Evelyn roses, all from David Austin, were planted, and one exhibited a few leaves with the characteristic zigzag pattern of the mosaic virus. Since then, this rose has been my most vigorous and heaviest blooming Evelyn and has shown no evidence of the virus. My conclusion is that this virus affects some roses very little, and that those roses are able to overcome the virus over time. Diane

    Bookmark   November 5, 2011 at 1:58AM
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alameda/zone 8

I was in Tyler today and stopped by the David Austin office to pick up the 2012 catalog. To my surprise, there were huge potted roses for sale out front. These were left over from the annual Rose Festival in October. There were 10 varieties. I had been wanting another Lady of Megginch and a Heritage - both these were available and were huge and healthy looking plants. Price was same in catalog - but no shipping and huge, actively growing plants in bloom and bud. The DA rose fertilizer was on sale at $15/bucket [dont know what it is normally].

These roses were really enormous and are grafted. I may try a couple of own roots and the rest grafted - from the strength of the above comments. I looked at the photos of the two kinds of roses in the new catalog - own root looks to have shorter roots. I wonder if there are named varieties that are better as own roots and others that are better as grafted?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2011 at 2:26AM
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I grow a lot of roses and I love so many of them. But a few are really special to me. Julia Child is one of those special ones because it is so floriferous and healthy. And I love those beautiful old fashioned flowers, their just right yellow color and all on a beautiful shrub. But for the life of me I can't seem to come up with a worthy companion.

Right now I have Darcy Bussell next to her and as much as I like DB, i think the color is too strong to be an ideal companion. Id actually like to find a rose that grows a lot like Julia, looks a lot like Julia, is healtht like Julia, but is a different color.

Is there such a rose?

next to her

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 1:18AM
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strawchicago 5a IL

Echolane: Here in alkaline clay soil, zone 5a Illinois, and from visiting the rose garden with over 1,000 roses - the best performers that grow like Julia Child but BEAT her in number of blooms are:

1) Singing-in-the-rain floribunda, or its Jackson & Perkins offspring (unfortunately I forget the name, but most floribundas do well in fertile alkaline clay). Examples that do well in alkaline clay are: Tuscan sun, cinnamonn Twist, Enchanted Evening, Disneyland rose, and Outrageous.

2) Buck Care-free series do well here and beat Julia Child in being loaded.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 1:00PM
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cambel(z6-7a DC)

My own roots didn't do much for the first year or so, then they grew nicely, then they REALLY took off and were very full.

The Grafted ones grew well from the first day but never became as full. So I think it depends, if you want them to grew well right away get the grafted, if you're willing to wait a bit for a fuller vigorous bush get the own roots. :)

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 3:53PM
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stlgal(south z5)

Strawberryhill--I grew Singing in the Rain as a standard in a giant pot for about 5 years here. I loved it--really beautiful blooms. One year I decided I'd had enough of lugging several standards into and out of the garage every year and maneuvering around the pots all winter long--I should replace it as an actual bush in the yard, tempting now that I know if would do well.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2011 at 12:29AM
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sandandsun(9a FL)

Love is such a wonderful thing. I love many things. I love it, oddly enough, when someone else states something as well or better than I could. I love Paul Zimmerman's brain - you know, the way he thinks. He really does think. It's very refreshing. I love refreshment. Oh yes, please see the linked blog post for his (and my) answer to your question.

The copy and paste link is:

I recommend the entire commentary - there are links to 3 of his previous discussions of the topic at the beginning of the article.


Here is a link that might be useful: Paul Zimmerman on Own Roots

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 2:25PM
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Very interesting discussion abt. 'own root' vs. budded... well, here in my neck of the woods, own-root means short-lived.... because we have nematodes, and they love those sweet little tender roots.... and true, the grafted rose doesn't send canes up from below the graft unless you fail to snap them off, but if you want the plant to survive any length of time, you buy grafted... and when it gets more years on it, is has loads of canes..because the 'knot' where grafted gets huge. sally

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 4:26PM
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sandandsun(9a FL)

You may have noticed that I'm in FL too.
Nematodes are a FL reality, not just for your part of it. They thrive in relatively dry sand.

I made three (3) posts in the below linked thread on the topic of nematodes.

The only caveat that I left out of those posts is that once one does all that work it is very important not to re-introduce nematodes to the beds which can be done by planting companion plants. Because although FL has plant import/export rules, they only apply to the state border. In state growers are allowed to (and do) ship their nematode infested plants around the state. This is not intentional on their part, but flats, pots, etc. in contact with the local dirt provides a pathway for the nematodes to get into the otherwise sterile potting soil.
Fortunately I learned this hard lesson in a bed created for just one rose. Subsequently I only add my own seed grown companions or perennials which have been tested in an isolated area for at least a season.
Lastly I now have more than three years of success own root and each year the roses get bigger, stronger, happier, and more floriferous. Theory tested and proven.
Happy Holidays!
The copy and paste link is:

Here is a link that might be useful: Shout out to Florida Rose Gardeners

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 8:34PM
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Hi there-
I have a Julia Child rose that I love also. I have an Yves Piaget planted next to her and a Heritage behind her. You know how Julia does the pink blushing thing near the end of the bloom-I love that mixed with the pink roses.
My Heritage rose is own root and loves our Zone 9. She does get a little afternoon shade. Blooms all the time. She grows over 7 feet every year.
I have a climbing Cecile Brunner, over 20 years old now. It was grafted on Dr, Huey. I get these giant Dr Huey canes that bloom (my DH thinks its cool) I lop them off. Will this hurt the plant? My Cecile Brunner is blooming now-crazy thing. Its up over the roof and I have my potting table underneath her.
Merry Christmas hope this helps...

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 11:58PM
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All my Austin roses had Mosiac Virus last year that I had gotten from their catalog They're not as great as they used to be when you could get them from Jackson and Perkins, plus now they are way too high a price to pay for - $26 a bare root.
I was at the Canton flea market last month and the David Austin gals were there selling them in those fancy green pots they have for just $15 - they said they were own root but they looked real crappy.
Their US office is not great, when Ive called their TX office about the diseased roses, they don't answer the phone right away or the english gal, Ellen, who is real prissy with you, will not help but puts you on hold to speak to the manager, Lord knows what she does but doesnt understand customer service - I waited 10 minutes on hold before I gave up.
The roses are virused, but one gal did tell us they they have no idea how the new Austin varieties grow over here both grafted or own root - I was shocked she said they rely on customers telling them how they grow as they dont have trials in America, as the country is too large - so we are paying those high prices and don't know if the roses will survive, viruses or not?
The bestist rose that I got from David Austin catalog last year that does well is Zephirine Drouhin - a real good climber. This year I'll go to the nearby Calloways nursery, they had loads of Austins last year and they looked great.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 10:12PM
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alameda/zone 8

The roses they were selling in Canton were the leftovers from the huge Tyler Rose Festival in October. The ones I bought from in front of the Tyler store looked great but they were full price....I guess they lowered them to $15 because I saw them in Canton in November and they were full price. Mine still look great. I havent had any virused ones from DA and I have ordered from them for a number of years. I had a few in full all day sun and this summer did the young ones in but Mary Rose, a large DA I got for $2 a few years back from Teas Nursery in Houston [yes, $2! They made a mistake but honored the price as thats what I was told] It is one of the handful of roses that survived in that bed in this horrible summer we had.

I have just sent in my spring order with DA. I decided to not get any own roots as I just wasnt sure enough of how they would perform. Maybe those of you who are trying the own roots from DA will let the forum know how they do.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 11:11PM
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The roses that I got have not become better with time. If anything, they are looking worse. I am only buying own root roses for now. Why nurse a sick grafted plant along when in three years you can have a great big own root healthy bush. If you want a sick plant, you can get one at Home Depot for less money and no shipping. Yes I am still mad about the horrible plants DA in Texas sent me.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2012 at 3:42PM
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Wow, this thread has me nervous......I really, really wanted a Munstead Wood but can't seem to locate one own root. I do prefer them because over the long haul, they do better and look better in form as well. The Paul Zimmerman articles make sense; now I understand why. I was about to give up, just get one from D.A. USA, and plant the bud union two inches or so below the ground. Now I'm wondering whether that's really wise.....anyone know of a source for an own root Munstead Wood/

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 4:35PM
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plantloverkat zone 9a north Houston(zone 9a)

David Austin (US) is currently selling this as one of the roses you can get own root. Just type "own root" in the search box to see the other varieties available this way. I purchased an own root Carding Mill from them in 2011, and I was quite pleased with the size of the plant.

Here is a link that might be useful: own root Munstead Wood from DA

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 6:20PM
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[I got the new catalog the other day.....should've gone online, and I would've seen it.]

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 8:15AM
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My Sharifa Asma own root did nothing in four years. But my Frederic Mistral took off wonderfully. Obviously, this is a very limited experience, but I am now reluctant to order the David Austins as small own-root cultivars. My Climbing Falstaff from David Austin developed rosette disease. That is not to say that it was infected from the outset (since I did not recognize symptoms till the second year), but I lost several roses later from that diseased plant.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2012 at 6:39PM
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sandandsun(9a FL)

Thread Link:

Here is a link that might be useful: David Austin Roses - Own Root vs. Grafted

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 11:34PM
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amandahugg(SS19 CA)

The own-roots are great if you've got 3 to 4 years to waste while they get established. Would you wait that long for any other plant you put in your garden...beside a tree? The grafted are likely virused and weak. My choice between the two options...forget David Austin roses. Their arrogant attitude toward the US market deserves a 'no response'.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 1:42AM
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strawchicago 5a IL

I'm in the Extreme-wimpy-zone for own-roots: zone 5a with brutal Chicago wind down past -20 degrees in winter. Plus my alkaline soil is rock-hard that broke a rototiller machine. I have 40+ own-roots (15 are Austins), and I am happy with own-roots, since I pot them first to grow 2-gallons root-balls before putting them in the ground. Many of my Austins are huge now, bought as tiny bands.

Northland Rosarium in Spokane, WA have many new Austins own-roots such as: Munstead Wood, Princess Alexandra of Kent, Strawberryhill, plus popular Austins like Bishop Castle, Carding Mill, Alwick Rose .... Check out the link below for their own-roots Austins. Theirs are band-size so shipping cost is cheap.

Here is a link that might be useful: Northland Rosarium in Spokane, WA

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 10:13AM
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Tuggy3(9b NorCal)

I don't know about other Austins, but my healthy five year old budded L.D. Braithwaite has never thrown a single new cane or tried to become a monster like many Austins do in this climate. I've tried most of the recommended techniques for encouraging basal breaks including sawing off a thin slice of budwood. I am assuming budded Austins are supposed to produce a few new canes. This year I'll try covering the rootstock with soil. I've had to reduce canes on each of my mature own root roses every year just to keep them around nine. They took an extra year to catch up and then took off. Most of the budded ones do fine also but don't throw as many new canes. It would be nice to know which roses do better on their own rootstock and under what growing conditions. I wouldn't think that a non vigorous rose variety would do very well on its own roots but maybe that's not how it works. Mary

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 11:32PM
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