When do you give up on a rose?

subk3November 25, 2013

I've been adding roses to my gardens for a couple years and right now I view them as an experiment with the goal of finding a dozen or so that will be extremely happy in my no (or not much) spray garden. This means I'm very open to removing roses until I find the best ones for my microclimate.

I realize that many roses become more disease resistant as they mature, but how likely is it that an awful rose will transform into a wonderful rose? If it's going to turn around when will this start to happen?

I've got three roses that I think get the Damask Crud--Barrone Prevost, Marchesa Boccella and Madame Hardy. It's a black fog that completely covers the leaves uniformly turning the leaves black (no spots, no yellowing) and the plant hangs on to these leaves for weeks. It is fascinatingly ugly!

After two years is it time to yank them and move on by ordering something else to try in those spots next summer? I know Hybrid Perpetuals have "issues" (learned it since ordering these) and have since been focusing on Teas/Chinas/Noisettes that even after a year are MUCH happier.

A couple others at the end of 2 years are not great and I'm wondering what your own criteria is before you give up on a rose?

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3-4 years.


    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 4:43PM
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seil zone 6b MI

I think it might depend on the rose. For instance what type of plant was it when you bought it, bare root, potted or a band? Bare roots and grown out potted roses get about 3 years. If they don't preform by then, and they haven't already died on their own over winter, I ditch them. If a plant was purchased as a small band it's going to take more time to develop so I've gone as long as 6 years. There have been some exceptions, of course, but I think that's a pretty good general rule. Exceptions would be hanging on to a rose for sentimental reasons even though it's pretty much a dog for me and shovel pruning a rose early because not only was it disease riddled but it was an ugly bloom I didn't like besides. If you're going to be unhealthy you better be drop dead gorgeous or you're out of here, lol!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 4:52PM
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I would suggest a minimum of 3, sometimes I waited 5 if I felt that there was a possible external reason for the problem.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 4:54PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

They get a year or maybe two here to show *some* sign of improvement. I've had enough roses that aren't any bigger after two years, and are still not any bigger after ten to know that giving them more time isn't going to change their general inadequacies.

Disease resistance is pretty much the same. The people who report drastic improvements in time are usually in places where more water from a larger root system is going to make a big difference in just how happy the rose is going to be. That isn't true here, and more often than not blackspot gets worse.

Baronne Prevost and Madam Hardy are notorious for disease issues. Marchesa Boccella is usually quite good, but there is evidence that at least one nursery has it confused with something much more blackspot prone. Possibly Comte de Chambord.

So yes, I'd definitely yank them at this point in time.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 5:12PM
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For me, it depends on how much I want it in my garden. For instance, I love tea-noisettes and will keep them for a long time, even if they do nothing. I've had Chromatella at least 3 years (probably longer) and although it doesn't die, it doesn't bloom either. I actually noticed some new leaves on it today (no blooms, of course). I will probably keep it until it dies on its own.

If I really want a rose and it's pretty rare, I will keep them indefinitely, unless they look terribly unhappy here, or I really want the space for something else (which happens often).

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 5:47PM
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view1ny NY 6-7

My problem is how to actually get rid of a rose. I have some that I don't love & are taking up valuable real estate. Do I just put them in a bag & throw them out with the trash? Do I find someone willing to take them?

I think there's something wrong with me. I read posts about shovel-pruning undesirable roses, and think about how I wish I could do that easily. I would love to try some new roses, but have to make room for them first. I guess I'm a rose-hoarder.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 6:31PM
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nanadollZ7 SWIdaho(Zone 7 Boise SW Idaho)

view1ny, I guess you didn't read my post in another thread about how I have such a horrible time removing roses. You aren't alone in this. I think I anthropomorphize them, so that they seem like family members, not just disappointing plants. I wish I could offer some good advice, but alas...I have none.

subk, I will say that several roses of mine did vastly improve in their third year (Golden Celebration, Jude the Obscure, and Abbaye de Cluny, for example), but it was in the quality and number of the blooms and improved growth habit. No disease issues here so I can't comment on that. Diane

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 7:47PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Depends on the rose, and the problems. I finally gave up on 'English Garden' after 15 years. It would produce about 6-8 absolutely perfect flowers per year, about one every month or so. I decided at last for the amount of water it was getting, 6-8 flowers per year was not enough. 3-4 years is fair. 1 growing season probably is not.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 9:13PM
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sandandsun(9a FL)


Thank you for the laughs. Goodness, the description!

For me personally, I always spend more time researching than shopping, and only shop for the researched plants with a trained discipline for no impulse buys. I also don't allow myself substitutions any more - I learned that the hard way. Color and form may be similar in many roses, but genetics are individual.

So about this particular case you describe, I've never experienced anything like that. My roses that IMPROVE start out having less than SERIOUS issues to begin with. Good examples are Souvenir de la Malmaison and Kronprincess Victoria which started out moderately impacted and improved from there to practically perfect now (HERE). That process took around two and a half years.

Others remain challenged - a good example is Mademoiselle Cecile Brunner. She keeps me guessing because there is no regular pattern to her issues in terms of seasons. She's even had a rather bad spring here one year. But she always soldiers on acceptably (for me).

Then there are those for whom the bell tolls:


The bell tolls when issues DO NOT improve after 3 years AND the issues negatively impact the rose's general health and performance. I dig roses like that and give them to a younger friend who employs chemicals.

Please note: I am not disparaging the Austin roses; I am simply and honestly reporting my experience with these two here. It should also be understood that parting with Evelyn's fragrance saddened me. I still miss that fragrance.

(My sincere thanks to my teacher, dublinbay for link instruction).

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 9:48PM
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jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

Any amount of time you wish! ;-)
Like mad_gallica says about blackspot in there area. Same applies here blackspot usually only gets worse with time.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 11:19PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Sand--you did it--three times! Congratulations! Three big Gold Stars for your in-text links. : )

I do hope your Molineux shapes up. It is one of my more floriferous roses, and it's not too bad on disease-resistance. But best of all are those big round yellow blooms highlighted with some apricot. I really like my Molineux.

I'm not sure how much researching before buying always helps. I did a lot of it before buying Chrysler Imperial for my Perfumed Path, and now I'm a bit disappointed. CI isn't very vigorous and rather slow to rebloom, although lovely when it actually gets around to blooming.


    Bookmark   November 26, 2013 at 5:38PM
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For me, it's usualy at the end of it's 2nd year. I'm not getting any younger. I want my garden to be some place that I can enjoy. Not an area that brings constant dissappointment. If it's a rose I REALLY want and I can see a glimmer of hope, it will get 3 years. Nothing more.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2013 at 9:45PM
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sandandsun(9a FL)

Thank you again, dublinbay.

I guess I didn't actually say it, but Molineux also left when Evelyn departed.

About research being helpful: well, I understand how it can miss. What happened in my case is that I realized that I needed to hone my research skills and become more disciplined about my purchases. I've done that.

On these forums, I've learned whose conditions, methods, and experience are (or are not) reasonably reliable indicators for my conditions.

More importantly I have also learned to judge for myself the value of certain independent ratings.

My no spray garden in this very high mildew and blackspot pressure region has limited my choices from the beginning, but obviously I was originally willing to do my own testing. That is no longer the case. So I hope that my research will provide continually improving selections of healthy roses for MY garden.

Happy Holidays to all!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2013 at 11:40PM
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kstrong(10 So Cal)

Getting rid of roses is really easy for me. Take the pot, bag or just a pile of dirt laying on a black garbage bag, put it at the street end of the driveway, and a sign that says "free rose bush" It won't be there ten minutes later.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 2:27PM
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view1ny NY 6-7

kstrong, great idea. I love it. It won't hurt as much if I know it went to a good home.

I'm already looking thru catalogs to figure out what to order to take the place of the discards. Of course if my cuttings all take, I'll have to leave room for them as well but probably have nothing to worry about since I've never successfully rooted a cutting.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 4:41PM
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