Late December to early January is normally the time when nurseries and garden centers get in their bareroot roses. Dormant roses come in either plantable paper pulp containers or plastic bags. Both tend to be filled with wood shavings that help keep the roots moist. When you purchase roses during bareroot season,they won’t be as pretty as the picture on their tags, but you will find the best selection and price.
When making your selection, don’t be drawn in by just a pretty face. Stores will carry many varieties of roses but not all are great for our coastal climate. Sadly roses can be prone to powdery mildew, rust and black spot fungus. Although these conditions can be treated, do you really want to have to? For the rest of the life of the rose? To purchase roses that are less fussy in our climate, check out this list of Roses for the Central Coast for more suitable varieties.
Bareroot roses are classified into three grades, 1, 1 1/2 and 2. Grade 1 roses are the largest and normally have 3 nice canes (stems), the lesser grades have fewer and smaller canes. When purchasing a rose, going with a grade 1 will give you a rose that will be off to a better start, but the lesser grade roses with a bit of time and care can be equally rewarding. Look for a rose that has firm, hydrated canes. Avoid roses with shriveled, brown canes or any black lesions on the canes.
It’s best to purchases roses the day before you want to plant them because you are going to want to soak the roots for 24 hours prior to planting. Take the rose out of the packaging and remove all the packing material. (I even recommend taking them out of the plantable paper pots because I find these don’t always break down well on our soil) Soak the roots in a bucket filled with water out of direct sunlight. This hydration is helpful in getting the rose off to a good start. You can add B1 to the water but I don’t find this necessary. After 24 hours, your rose is ready to plant in your garden or container.
Online Sources for Roses
To be honest, I prefer to shop locally and don’t purchase many plants online. But I realize that not everyone has the local availability that I do. So here is a list of online sources that come highly recommended by rose growers. Locations are given so you can order from the source closest to your location and reduce shipping time.
Chamblee Roses, Winona TX
The Antique Rose Emporium, Brenham, TX
David Austin, Tyler TX
Heirloom Roses, OR
Otto and Sons Nursery, Ventura, CA