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What is the longevity of roses?

Posted by aptosca CA9 (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 10, 12 at 11:58

I have some roses that are between 20-25 years old. I have noticed that the last couple of years they are putting out fewer and fewer canes and blooms. On some I am down to one cane, but the base is over 12" long.

They have been on a regular watering and fertilizing schedule. No major diseases or pest infestations or any undue stress due to extreme weather. I live on the Central Coast of CA with temperatures year around that don't vary much, lows 30's-50's winter and highs 70's-80's summer.

I am just wondering if they have reached the end of their life span.
Thanks.
Clare


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What is the longevity of roses?

If you have modern roses such as hybrid teas and floribundas you may well be right. Older rose varieties such as tea roses have been known to reach 100 years. That's another good reason to grow them other than the many blooms and the fact that they're great landscape plants. Since yours are no longer performing well it would be a good reason to buy some newer varieties. For a modern rose they've probably reached old age.


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RE: What is the longevity of roses?

ingrid - Thanks for the reply. Forgot to say that they are hybrid teas and floribundas. I have bought 4 new ones to replace the worse of them. Some of them, like Sterling Silver, are still doing fine.
Clare


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RE: What is the longevity of roses?

  • Posted by maryl Z7 Okla. (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 10, 12 at 14:12

I've never seen an objective study done on modern roses versus Old Garden Roses, but if you ask any OGR fan they will point to roses growing in abandoned cemetaries as proof of the longevity of the older roses. Not all OGR's are the same however as some of them are hybrids themselves, just not modern hybrids.....That being said, in my climate with it's erratic weather patterns I'm doing good to get 20 years out of most modern roses - grafted or otherwise. There are exceptions as I have a few that are past the twenty year mark and still doing fine....It's hard to loose old friends, but for me at least the lose is somewhat offset by the excitement of possibly choosing a new variety to replace the old rose....There are different schools of thought on trying to salvage an old one cane wonder. IMO it's a personal decision depending on how hard the variety is to find or how attached you are to it. But if the variety is easily replaced and there's no sentimental attachment to it, why keep spinning your wheels on an underperformer?...I'm not a fan of OGR's but whether you replace your current rose with one of them or a modern rose, just remember that the soil the old rose has been growing in will be depleted and will need to be revitalized before you plant your new rose...Good Luck to you...Maryl


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RE: What is the longevity of roses?

  • Posted by seil z6b MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 10, 12 at 14:21

I think it depends on the rose and the location or growing conditions. Sometimes over a few years those conditions change and we don't even notice it. A tree grows up or you plant something near the bed that gets large with maturity and suddenly a rose is competing when it never had to before. We don't always notice the change because it's so gradual. But in time it will effect them. I have some "modern" roses that are at least 50 years old, some even older, and still growing and blooming just fine. But I had a section of one bed where all of a sudden the roses stopped blooming. Well duh on me! The tree that used to be only 15 feet high is now 30 feet high and was shading that entire end of the bed. I built a new bed out in the sun and moved them and they started to bloom again.

It may also depend on if those roses are infected with RMV (PLEASE, lets not start a debate on that here!) that could shorten their life span and cause a gradual decline in them too.


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RE: What is the longevity of roses?

Clare -- In Aptos?

The right roses should last at least 100 years, grown on their own roots, and with even modest care.

Come late April, drive over to San Juan Bautista, where there are many very old roses, not only in the old part of town, but also in the Cemetery.

Jeri (who loves to visit Clare's area)


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RE: What is the longevity of roses?

I agree with Seil and Jeri. Much of it depends upon the particular variety, how suitable the variety is to its climate, and whether something has been done to or happened to it to affect it's longevity. There were budded and own root Queen Elizabeth and White Queen Elizabeth bushes at Sequoia which predated the variety's introduction date of 1954 which Dr. Lammerts gave to Mr. Moore. They'd been stuck in the ground and left to their own devices of more than half a century. My kid sister's yard has three budded Queen Elizabeth bushes which are over 45 years old. There are two here which are nearly forty. I've encountered a budded Red Radiance which was forty years in the ground when I was introduced to it years ago. The Red Radiance at Rancho Camulos is easily older than that as the Ragged Robin rootstock has suckered all around the plant and that hasn't been a common root stock in quite a few decades and no one planted roses where it grows in many, many years.

Jackie has her Anna Olivier which can easily be close to a century old at her home which has been in the family for a bit over a century. The Atmore Lamarque in Ventura County is somewhere around a century old, brought from a family plant purchased around 1850. Jeri has more details about it, but that points to great longevity as long as long as the climate, variety, culture or lack of it are all well suited for one another. Kim


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RE: What is the longevity of roses?

Yes, indeed, Kim. The family says that the Atmore Lamarque was brought from Placerville to Santa Paula (CA) in 1869. It was planted where the owner built a handsome Victorian home, so probably in 1869-1870, and there it sits, blooming its fool head off.

In California, I think the own-root plant has an edge as far as longevity. Though of course, as Kim points out, that Red Radiance at Rancho Camulos is very likely approaching its first century of generous bloom, with no care and no water for at least 50 years of that time. Of course, these days the Ragged Robin parts of it may be bigger than the Red Radiance parts, but I wouldn't complain about that.

Jeri


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RE: What is the longevity of roses?

Thanks everyone for the replies and information. They all are grafted roses. The ones that I am going to replace are Blue Ribbon (1984), Paradise (1978), Purple Passion (1999), Fragrant Cloud (1968), maybe Mr. Lincoln (1964) and King's Ransom (1961). I think most of them are still available if I wanted to get a new one. I might move them up to the veggie garden and put them in a raised bed and see if I can get them to grow better there.

maryl - No big sentimental value except most were the first roses I planted here 20-25 years ago. I am looking forward to trying some new ones, especially new colors. I am going with HT's and floribundas. I do have some old roses, [Aimee Vibert Scandens (1828), Felicite et Perpetue (1827), Hansa (1906), Duchesse de Brabant (1857)], grown from cuttings and they are doing great. I have lots of compost to add to the soil.

Seil - Yes, there are some trees that have grown quite a bit. I have voted to take them out and maybe someday we will. We have plenty of trees elsewhere on our 2.5 acres, but that is the only area that I can grow my roses.

Jeri - Yes it is me from Aptos! :>) Talk about beautiful rose gardens, have you been to San Jose Municipal Rose Garden? It has more than 3,500 rose shrubs on 5.5 acres. I love to go there for a Mother's Day treat when most are in bloom.

Kim - I saw the most incredible old rose in Tombstone, AZ. It was a "Lady Banksia" rose that was planted in 1886 and covers approx 9000 square feet. The trunk is 6 ft. in diameter! I love modern hybrids especially HT's with all the wild colors.
Clare

Here is a link that might be useful: San Jose Municipal Rose Garden


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RE: What is the longevity of roses?

To be honest, Clare, tho the Tombstone Rose is "officially the worlds biggest rose plant," I am pretty sure that some of the banksiaes in the Sacramento City Cemtery are bigger, even if they are younger, and more horizontal than vertical.

This is R. banksia lutea, in the Sacramento City Cemetery:
R. banksia lutea

And R. banksia banksia (the same as the "Tombstone Rose" but in a prettier setting. :-)
R. banksia banksia

'Devoniensis' (San Juan Bautista)
'Devoniensis' San Juan Bautista

and the link below, for "La Dama Blanca" -- a Found Rose.

And yes, Northern California is fortunate to have two of the world's GREAT rose gardens:
The San Jose Heritage Rose Garden
and the
Historic Rose Garden
in the Historic Old Sacramento City Cemetery

Jeri

Here is a link that might be useful: 'La Dama Blanca


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RE: What is the longevity of roses?

Jeri - WOW, those are big! But I have to admit standing under the canopy of the Tombstone rose was impressive. Wish my roses did that well.

Found out what has been killing my old roses and it wasn't old age. I tried digging out the old ones to plant the new ones and I couldn't get through a mat of fine roots so thick that it was like a plush carpet. It was completely chocking and smoothering my roses roots.

I did some research and found out it's the Monterey Cypress my DH planted next to the rose bed by the gazebo. Here is what I read. Invasive roots are a pervasive problem in the west, especially in old gardens with established large trees. Many trees are obvious culprits, including eucalyptus, Monterey cypress, Melaleuca quinquinerva, camphor tree (Cinnamomum camphora), and certain pines. There are dozens more. Most of tree roots are hard and unbending, though some trees, including Monterey cypress and melaleuca, make a mat of surface roots like large-gauge wire wool.

I have to dig around, and maybe out, 30 roses to clean out the bed. DH has kindly volunteered to cut down the Monterey cypresses that are next to the roses. After all, the roses were there first and there are at least over 100 other trees on the property.
Clare


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RE: What is the longevity of roses?

I've run into this issue in Connecticut--which is why the Northeast corner of the main garden has an old garden rose and a root barrier made out of galvanized steel.


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hybrid tea roses life expectancy

I was wondering if we decided what is the life span of a grafted hybrid tea rose? Why they decide to die at 20? Are they unhappy on the root stock? Do they die at 20 like an alarm going off? Please update your post and let us know how your roses are doing in the future.


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RE: What is the longevity of roses?

Life span of grafted HT roses - some books say only 10 years. So many folks who grow these seem to "shovel prune" old ones constantly to fit in new ones, maybe they don't get a chance to grow old. In my garden, we did rescue 4 very old HTs (presumably originally grafted) that were now growing in complete darkness (not blooming at all). They were at least 40+ years old when we moved them to LARGE pots in the sun. Two have recovered nicely, but the other two are barely making it. It is possible that once a HT has been in the ground for years & years, it actually puts out its own roots from the scion (top part), and then ends up on its own roots. I have no idea. The old HT roses I have that are doing the best are Peace and Sutter's Gold. I'm not going to dig them up to see if they are on their own roots, but they never throw up rootstock suckers, so I suspect they might be by now.

Jackie


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RE: What is the longevity of roses?

I have a couple of what I consider to be old budded HTs that I inherited when I bought my home. The whole garden had been somewhat abandoned due the the age of the previous owners, so these roses certainly did not look like thriving plants.

I did some rejuvenation pruning over the years and they have come back to the point where I think they have the potential to be around for a few more decades.

Smiles,
Lyn


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RE: What is the longevity of roses?

  • Posted by seil z6b MI (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 30, 12 at 17:32

I have a grafted Double Delight that was planted in 1978 and is still growing strong. As a matter of fact it has two buds on it already this year! I still say if the rose is happy, grafted or not, it doesn't have a preordained life span.


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RE: What is the longevity of roses?

I think a lot of roses that "die" are from people just getting fed up and yanking them out. They may continue to live, but will they continue to look their best in old age?

I have seen old hybrid teas that look fantastic, however. But, if the rose is not look good and blooming well, it gets removed. You can tell an old hybrid tea by the thickness of the lower portion.

I watch roses in my neighborhood, as well, and I don't think they have a set life span either, now that I think about it. There are so many pitfalls and diseases that can affect them, but those are not deaths due to simply old age.

I wish I had some of the roses I had when I started gardening, but I did not move them from the old house. I kick myself all the time over this. I was so wrapped up in the move and new backyard was such a weedy mess. I ignored my yard for the first few years. Those roses would be 22 years old now, if I had taken them with me.


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RE: What is the longevity of roses?

Tropical.........

You can do a rejuvenation pruning on many old hybrid teas and end up with a gnarly bud union and virtually a new rose. The process takes a few years if you are rescuing a neglected rose, but if you regularly take out one or two old canes when you prune, you'll get new basal breaks and, therefore, have newer and more productive canes.

Most people don't know that rose canes just get old and cannot tranfer nutrients and water up and down the cane. This is also true for many fruit trees.

So, if you have an old HT that you love, you can work with it instead of just giving up on it.

Smiles,
Lyn

P S ... what old HTs are you yearning to have back in your life ?


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Rejuvenation pruning

I never had one get old on me, but that is a good tip to know about. I will save that in my notes, if it ever happens that one of them does get old. I did not know about fruit trees either. I am just getting started with lemon trees.


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RE: What is the longevity of roses?

Tropical...

The theory is that you take out one or two of the oldest canes per year. Then they never get old.

Some rose gardeners follow this method of pruning every year and others wait until they see a cane beginning to look old and they have enough good basal breaks that year, so they go ahead and take it out.

I can't grow citrus trees up here, but we can grow some fine apples.

Smiles,
Lyn


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RE: What is the longevity of roses?

Ooops ! Sorry, I addressed my post to the wrong person. It should have been a no-brainer to remember Clare, that's my God-sister's name and she lives in Santa Cruz.

Please forgive me.

Smiles,
Lyn


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RE: What is the longevity of roses?

I normally start my pruning by taking out any old or non productive canes. I don't wait to see basal breaks--I take them out at the very start of the season so they have plenty of time to grow. Nor is there any danger of damaging basals if you start before the plant has leafed out.

You can find an excellent collection of well maintained old roses of all types at Hershey Gardens--they have lots of older modern roses as well as an antique garden way in the back that has roses that are over 10 years old.


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RE: What is the longevity of roses?

Zack...

I remove a cane or two each year on the few HTs I have in the garden because of having gone through the rejuvenation process with the roses I inherited, but I live in a small town and am helping others bring their roses back, so I have lots of roses to work with to give them a chance to recover.

Smiles,
Lyn


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RE: What is the longevity of roses?

Typo--the antique roses at Hershey Gardens are over 100 years old!


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RE: What is the longevity of roses?

I had forgotten about this thread. Sorry for not getting back to everyone. I have moved the worse looking roses up to ICU raised bed in my veggie garden to try to save them. I then bought 4 new ones to replace the dead or dying ones. I am still digging out Cypress roots but DH has cut down all the offending trees so the new ones, and hopefully old ones, should do well from now on.

I didn't know that about removing two of the oldest canes to promote new growth. I will have to do that in the future. What should you do about a big gnarly woody base? I have some old roses that have a base as thick as a big tree trunk with only 2 or 3 branches coming out of it.

Clare


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Basal Breaks

I have never seen a basal break. I was reading about them and it said this is something you can only have if you are an advanced rose grower. It said many inspire to have this occur, but few get it. I will be looking for them now.


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RE: What is the longevity of roses?

Basal breaks: I have seen those on some of my oldest roses. I never knew what they were called. Here is a good picture of it.
Clare

Here is a link that might be useful: Basil breaks


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RE: What is the longevity of roses?

I may have one, but it on the only good cane, I have it did not come from the canes I removed due to cane die back. I can't remove the last living cane, just because it may have a basal break. It needs to be on a cane that is either removed or a can remove it. This is awful. I want to grow more canes to replace the canes I lost in cane die back. It is just not cooperating.


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RE: What is the longevity of roses?

To force canes on single cane roses, I've been known to remove all flower buds to force the plant to grow more leaves. Other than that, I'll keep pruning to a minimum and wait. Typically the rose will grow another cane in within a year.


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RE: What is the longevity of roses?

Thanks, it had one flower, but that has passed now. It was a bareroot rose, but the other two canes got some thing like cane die back and died. It is good to know there is hope for that, then, that it may grow another cane someday, but I wonder if the parts where the canes died are damaged? Can they come back to health?


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RE: What is the longevity of roses?

Roses typically grow from the top--apical dominance. I realized that often only top part of the rose will grow. Which means that if you prune the plant so that you have a short cane, only the long canes will grow! The short cane will just sit there. Sometimes if you wait long enough you will get growth lower on the plant, sometimes not.


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RE: What is the longevity of roses?

I thought so, I would be ok with just the one cane, since I wanted a small rose in that space, but it makes me nervous. If the one and only cane gets cane die back, before it decides to make a new cane then.............. I guess that is the end of that rose.


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RE: What is the longevity of roses?

Updated: they had rose canker and therefore would not make new canes and had to be destroyed. I found two possible cures. Spraying sulfer and physan 20, but it was too late at that point. I wanted to add my subscription to the topic because I am interested in knowing how long you can keep a rose, but at the rate I am going. I change roses often, so it won't even be an issue.


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RE: What is the longevity of roses?

There is a famous rose growing on a church wall in Mannheim, Germany which has reputedly been there since the year 700. It is a very large plant, with small pink flowers and attracts many visitors because of its history. During the war the church was bombed and the rose with it, just a stump was left. But in due course new shoots appeared and it was on its way again! If you check out The Mannheim Rose on Google, you'll see photos.


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