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Bare root roses from frozen ground.

thevictorianthevictorian Posts: 1,262
edited December 2022 in Plants
Hi, I'm not a rose grower outside of the wild type ones but a friend asked me this morning if I it was safe to buy a bare root rose that was frozen solid at the garden centre? I popped in there on my way home and there is no way you'd be able to buy one anyway until the soil thawed out but it also looked very water logged with thick ice patches on the shallow trays.
So would you be happy to buy them when it was thawed out or would you be put off? I gave her my thoughts but I'm still a novice in that area.

I don't know if it matters much but the one rose I can remember she wanted was a ballerina shrub rose. 


  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,512
    Hmm, I would be wary. Potted roses in the GC will have been root-pruned to fit in those small, thin pots, usually 4-6 litres. The pruned roots and graft union can be vulnerable to frost damage. I buy bare root roses at this time of year and pot them up myself to grow on for planting out next spring. I wrap the pots in insulation, keep them in the unheated poly and throw a fleece over them when the temperatures are below freezing. In other words, I don’t let them freeze, as my winter temps regularly get down to -8. They will be dormant now and just tick over until spring so I really can’t see any benefit of taking the risk. 

    She would be better off buying bare root from a reputable online supplier and planting them out, providing her own ground isn’t frozen - better insulation in the soil. Or waiting until the new potted roses are available next Spring if she really wants potted.

    Thats just my opinion, other rose growers may differ and say I’m being overcautious!
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • rossdriscoll13rossdriscoll13 Posts: 227
    edited December 2022
    @thevictorian @Nollie David Austin posted this reply today on Facebook to a question about potted Roses in garden centres.  So if she wants to buy the rose she should be alright.
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,512
    Well the rose root stock and indeed most varieties grafted onto it are very hardy, and can withstand temps down to -18 without protection, particularly in the ground. But it’s the combination of waterlogged and frozen roots that the friend reports that would concern me, Ross. If the pots were kept just moist and then froze solid, not so much.

    I have lost a young rose left outside in a 20L insulated pot over winter in temperatures parts of the UK are currently experiencing - that wasn’t even waterlogged but being a china rose, rather more tender than a DA-bred rose, admittedly.

    There you have it, two sides of the coin, thevictorian 😊 If she wants to go ahead, just make sure she keeps the receipt and maybe even take a photo in their current state. 
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • Thanks, my advice was to err on the side of caution. These roses are bundled together as they were sent from the supplier, with enough soil to cover the roots. The trays are shallow, so froze solid I would guess, but it's the frozen standing water on the surface that makes me think the water was waterlogged before it froze.
    I've bought bare root roses as presents from the shop before and they are excellent for the price but it's just these winter conditions. They pot them up in the spring so I'll tell her to wait and see signs of life before buying.   
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,512
    Ah, I saw ‘bare root’ but for some reason just assumed the nursery had potted them up, thevictorian since I’ve didn’t know some GC’s ofter bare root roses, never over here at any rate. In which case, you are definitely right to urge wait and see.
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • It's the only local nursery that I know which has bareroot stock and they sell hedging and fruit trees as well. When the warmer weather comes they post them up and add a fair amount to the price (a tenner for trees at least but they do tell you they are recently potted).

    Climbers, ramblers and bush roses were £5.50 and hybrid t's slightly less. I don't think the quality of the ones I bought last year was any less than the D A roses our neighbour bought tbh. 
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