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Bare Root or Container Roses

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Choosing your roses – bare root or container

Roses were first sold in pots, as were most plants, to fulfil the demands of the instant gardener, but the traditional method of supply is as bare root plants in the winter months, often by mail order. There is little between them as far as the ultimate plant is concerned but there are advantages and disadvantages to both.

The Potted/Container Rose

A container rose can be purchased at any time of year (although there are more available in the summer months for various reasons). The advantage of buying a rose in a pot is that you can select the plant yourself during a visit to our nursery and gardens. Remember though that the range will be smaller than the range available in our catalogue. A potted rose planted during the summer months will require much more watering than a bare root rose planted in the previous autumn. 

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The Bare Root Rose

Bare root roses can be chosen and ordered at any time of the year, though early in the summer is best to ensure that your choice is secured. However they will only ever arrive in their dormant season, usually between the months of November and March. Obviously they are live plants so need fairly immediate treatment upon arrival. This can be difficult in times of heavy frost or snow. It is prudent in these conditions to prepare an area in which to heel in the roses (more advice on heeling in can be found within our planting advice pages) . Bare root plants do tend to transplant more easily and have a settling in period before they are required to grow or flower. We would never advise buying a pre-packed rose from a supermarket for you have no idea how long they have been packaged and may well have dried out.

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Pruning newly planted bare root roses

These should always be hard pruned at the time of planting, before they are placed in the hole is the logical time. Even the most rampant of ramblers will benefit from this treatment as it encourages basal growth, from which the plant will make its shape. Climbers, ramblers and shrub roses should be reduced to about six inches, bush roses to about four inches.

For more information on how to prune your roses please click here

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