Identifying rose stock

Most rose that you buy here in the uk, have been grafted or budded as it’s called, onto a root stock of another rose. This is done for various reasons,

  1. the Rose maybe difficult to propagate from cuttings and budding is done to produce a higher success rate,
  2. the rose maybe weak on its own roots and not make a good garden plant on its own, and need a stronger growing root system to produce a garden worthy plant
  3. To contain some roses, some like Rosa gallica and rugosa have a habit of spreading on their roots and being budded, they are more controlled
  4. It produces a bigger plant for sale quicker than by taking cuttings

The method of budding is quite simple, a 1 year old root stock is planted in the spring, then in July, a T cut is made into the rootstock and a bud of the rose you require is slipped in and held in place with a special rubber clip, left for the summer and then top of the rootstock is removed down to the bud in the spring, that inspires the bud to break producing the rose of your choice. This is lifted in the autumn for sale as bareroot or containerised. R V rogers produce an excellent blog on how it is done please click here to read it That’s a simple guide to budding

Many roses have been used for the root stock over the years but now for most roses, only one in the uk is now commonly used and that is Rosa laxa or Rosa corynbifera ‘Laxa’ to give it’s full name. The English dog rose Rosa cainina has also be used in the past. Rosa laxa was choosen as it suits a wide range of soils, produces longer lived plants and is more disease resistant than other types used but when it does how do you tell it apart? Well here we go!

Firstly the leaves normally have 7 leaflets and have a slight sliver tinge to the older leaves while the younger ones are a bright green colour

The thorns are also slightly different with the barbed points facing downwards and with a distinct twist at the ends

The stems are often a giveaway too, being a big green colour while young and maturing to a deeper brown colour with whitish lines on the stems

Then there’s the flowers at this time of the year, the top one is Rosa laxa and the bottom is Rosa cainina, some people put the two forms into the same botanical group and they are almost identical

Best way to remove them is to pull them up, tearing them off the root system more than cutting them down as when pulled off, all the buds below ground are removed while cutting down leaves the buds underneath and allows them to regrow again

I hope that helps with Rose stock problems

3 Comments Add yours

  1. tonytomeo says:

    At least it blooms pretty. We use ‘Doctor Huey’, which does happen to bloom nicely, but people leave the suckers on their roses because they think that they are getting two for the price of one. However, the suckers bloom only once, and then are done until next year.

    1. thomashort says:

      It does, some don’t like the flower but I kinda do, is dr Huey suited to the soil and weather conditions in your area

      1. tonytomeo says:

        ‘Doctor Huey’ is the standard, but I really do not know why. I think it is more than just an understock that did well in Oregon where most of the roses had historically been grown. I would guess that those who grew roses determined that it was the most adaptable to the most climates and soils wherever they send their mail order roses. A rose grower in San Jose used it for most roses, although he also grew many from cuttings, and a many on other rootstocks that were more compatible. ‘Doctor Huey’ has been in used for a very long time.
        When I grew citrus, all but two of our cultivars were grafted onto the same Cuban shaddock understock. (‘Meyer’ lemon, our most popular cultivar, and ‘Seville’ sour orange, our least popular cultivar, were not grafted, but grown from cutting.) There were other shaddocks that had been used in the past, but they were replaced with Cuban shaddock years ago. One never knows if something better will come along.

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