Bare Root Roses
Buying bare roots now really isn't a dumb move at all. For most
vendors, this is the main season for shipping bare roots, so right now
is the time to find the best selection and some of the best sales.
The questionable part is buying the cheapies at Home Depot.
The cheapie roses at WalMart, Lowes, Home Depot, etc are not fine
specimens of plants. They usually have poor root systems (the roots
are hacked during the packaging process such that the remaining root
system is not sufficient to support the plant) and are far more likely
than most plants to perish during the first summer. They are also
frequently mislabeled, so don't be too surprised if the blooms are not
the colors you expected.
With that in mind, don't feel too bad if the plants do not respond
well to whatever action you take. You have very little investment in
them, and they're "at risk" anyway.
Since you're in zone 6, I'd agree with you about not planting them
quite yet. One surprise hard freeze could knock them out. They might
grow back from the root, but then they would become whatever variety
was used for the root stock rather than the variety you purchased
(which was grafted onto the root stock).
If you have the space, putting them in pots indoors under light would
probably be your best option. If you go this route, try to keep the
dirt from the pots intact as much as possible when you plant them in
the ground. This will minimize any transplant shock.
Another possible option that is experimental but has worked well for
me so far - take a plastic storage tub, wastebasket or bucket and
fill it about a foot deep with water. Put it someplace indoors (or
the garage if it's warm enough to keep the water from freezing),
preferably with light. Put the plants in the container to soak the
roots, and just leave them there until you're ready to plant them.
(Last year I had some break dormancy, grow full branches, bloom, and
even form hips while soaking in the water. I tried it because I had
bought them at bargain prices far too late in the year to plant them
and I hoped to keep them alive until fall. Surprisingly, it worked
Good luck with the new bushes!
On Sat, 14 Feb 2004 23:48:13 -0700, "tmtresh"
I just bought a few bare root roses from Home Depot. I got a great deal at
$2 each. I wasn't thinking very clearly because later I realized--- it's
February and cold outside. So, I got to thinking about my options.
1. I could leave them in the garage where it's cold until it warms up a bit.
(they are dormant, no buds breaking out.)
2. I could pot them in 1 gallon pots (or I even have a few 5 gallon buckets
around). But- do I water them? Should they be inside under a light? Should I
leave them in my cold garage?
3. I could plant them outside. The ground isn't frozen (I don't think) and
they could come out of dormancy more naturally. I worry about this option
mainly because they don't have much of a root system and I would hate to
kill them outright. I'm in Idaho zone 6.
So, what do you think? In retrospect, it was a pretty dumb thing to do, I
should have waited until spring and bought some real plants. What should I
do to make the best of this?