Good Reasons For Throwing Out A Rose

Rosa 'Louise Estes':
There is one good reason for digging up and discarding a rose, and there are a few bad reasons. 

A bad reason for digging up and discarding a rose is that it is newly planted, it blooms, and you hate the bloom because it is more pale, smaller, and sparser than you were expecting.    Rose plants are like babies in that you don't expect a baby to run a 26 mile marathon race--you also can't expect a newly planted rose to immediately produce satisfactory flowers.  Give the plant some time to strengthen and develop its full potential.  At least a couple of years is reasonable, and three or four is being thorough. 

Another bad reason for digging up and discarding a rose is that it is newly planted and is mildewing like crazy.  Again, you can't expect a newly planted rose to be able to ward off mildew the way a well-established rose can.  Blackspot is another matter--once a Blackspotter, probably always a Blackspotter.  Blackspot is a far more virulent disease than mildew.  Feel free to be ruthless with Blackspot, but give a rose a decent chance if it's just mildew, because that tendency may go away.

Another bad reason for discarding a rose is that you gave it a poor--in other words, too shady--location.  Roses are not ferns.  They want 6 or 7 hours of sun every day.  Give it to them.  

Here are a couple of good reasons for throwing out a rose.  This is a beautiful cultivar called 'Louise Estes'.

This plant produced one or two really beautiful flowers each year, but spent the rest of its time struggling along.  I've given it at least five years and  it's now time to give up.  Where the failure lies may be in the specimen itself, rather than the cultivar.   This was a giveaway from a rose friend.  Perhaps the move just did it in, or the first spot I planted it was too dry (it was plenty sunny).  I checked the root system--no crown or root gall, so disease was not the problem.  I concluded that at one point it got too dry, and was never able to recover, even in prime loamy soil with generous water.  I tried hard pruning, light pruning, no pruning.  Generous organic fertilizer, the best of the compost.  No improvement.  Adios, Louise.  I am tempted to try 'Louise' again.  It is a very beautiful flower--similar in color to 'Moonstone' but with better form--none of 'Moonstone's characteristic split centers--and with a more intense pink on the petal edges.  Also far less Rust than Moonstone, though it is a bit of a Ruster come December.

Here's another discard:  'Helen Naude', a Kordes rose, a classic one cane under achiever.

Now why would I throw out such a beautifully-shaped plant?


Excellent disease resistance--no mildew, no rust, but the beastie never progressed beyond that one sturdy cane.  Seven years of care and fertilizer and watering I gave it, and it would give me one or two nice flowers a month, but it never managed to become anything satisfactory.  This was another giveaway I received from a fellow rose-grower.  Perhaps the pH that would have made it happy is lower than our soil and water can provide.  Again, digging it up and inspecting the root system showed no indication of crown or root gall, and the soil was moist, fluffy loam.   Now that I look through my photos, I find I don't even have a single picture of a 'Helen Naude' bloom.  Good grief:  should have tossed it years ago.  Bye 'Helen Naude'.  I'm sure you are beautiful somewhere in the world, just not here.   

Rosa 'Apricot Nectar' is staying:
Rosa 'Apricot Nectar'

So, the one good reason to throw out a rose would be that you give it a decent and reasonable amount of time,  but it never performs the way you want it to perform.  To ease the conscience, consider potting up the discard and giving it away, but in looking over my own experience with give-aways, I'm not 100% sure give-aways are worth bothering with. 

Rust or no rust, Rosa 'Abraham Darby' is staying, too. 
Rosa 'Abraham Darby'


  1. Good for you, hoovb. Now you have a chance to go shopping for more roses! I am giving a few away this year, they clash too badly with everything else around them (is that a good or a bad reason?).

  2. Give-aways are entirely different. No reason needed! ;^)

  3. Hoovb, I think I've noticed that the roses I grow (all as bs resistant as I can find - teas, chinas, etc) were not quite as resistant when they were new. Or maybe that was just perception because there were fewer leaves in total on the small bushes so the bs was more noticeable. At any rate I'm glad I stuck it out longer than the appearance of the first black spot. I liked this post though - very clear and helpful.

  4. Thanks, sherryocala. I wrote what I wrote because Black Spot is so very virulent...and ugly! I think you are quite right that established plants have better Black Spot resistance.


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