Bare Root or Container Roses

Choosing your roses – bare root or container

Traditionally roses were supplied bare root during the winter months whilst in their dormant state. However, over recent years there has been an increasing demand for roses to be supplied in containers during the summer. Once the plants are established there will actually be very little difference between them, but there are a few advantages and disadvantages to both methods and the decision simply comes down to personal preference or availability.


The Potted/Container Rose

Container roses are available to purchase from us throughout the year, but please note there is likely to be less choice towards the end of the year. This is because our roses are containerised early in the year, so come winter there will naturally be fewer containers and less choice available.

The big advantage of buying a containerised rose, is that it has already started to develop a good root system and if bought during the summer will most likely arrive in flower, adding instant colour to the garden. It is also helpful to be able to visit our Garden Centre in Attleborough, Norfolk and be able to see the roses growing within our Rose Gardens.

It is worth noting though that the disadvantage of buying a rose in a pot is that it will require significantly more watering until established than a bare root rose. Also, there is a greater choice of rose varieties available as bare root, as we simply don't have the space to be able to containerise them all.


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The Bare Root Rose

Bare root roses can be ordered at any time throughout the year, but cannot be delivered until they are dormant. Therefore, a rose ordered in the summer for example will not be delivered until the bare root season has started and it is safe to lift them out of the ground. The bare root season usually runs between November and March, during this time roses do not put any energy into producing new growth, so they can be successfully lifted and shipped without any soil, providing the roots are kept moist. It is important to remember though that these are live plants so they will need to be planted as soon as is possible. This can obviously prove tricky at times due to bad weather, especially during periods of heavy snow or frost. If you receive your roses during such conditions we would recommend that your bare root roses be ‘heeled in’, by simply piling compost on top of the roots and firming. This will provide temporary protection and stop the roots from drying out until you are able to plant them in their permanent position. For more information on planting roses and what to do if you receive your roses in bad weather please click here.

As well as having a greater choice of varieties, bare roots are also thought to establish quicker than roses bought in pots. This is because a bare root rose planted in winter will be concentrating its energy into putting down a strong root structure first, before turning its energies towards flower and leaf production. In contrast, a container rose bought and planted in the summer will be putting a lot of energy into flowering and new growth. This is why a newly planted container rose will require a lot more regular watering and feeding until it has established a good root system within the ground. For more advice on watering and feeding roses please click here.

We would never recommend buying pre-packed bare root roses from Supermarkets, as you cannot be sure how long they have been there and they run a high risk of having dried out.


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