Planting A "Bare Root" Rose


A few years ago most bare root roses were sold in what we rosarians call "body bags": tubular plastic bags filled with the roses' root system and stuffed with damp sawdust filler, with the canes sticking out the top of the bag.  The discount home stores still sell them this way.  A few quality garden centers may still sell them truly bare root, stored in bins filled with wet sand, but that practice is also vanishing.  Currently in this area bare root roses are mainly sold in paper pulp pots for longer shelf life--they don't dry out quite as fast as the body bags--and at (of course) higher prices. 


I've long preferred the ones from bins of wet sand.  That being unavailable now, I bought one copy of the recent climbing rose 'Purple Splash' in a pulp pot.  This company encloses the pulp pot in a plastic bag, which appears to be a good idea--the pulp pot was mostly broken down by moisture when I opened it.  There were new white feeder roots growing and the potting media was moist but not soggy:  ideal.  The plant looked pretty good:  several new basal stems (canes) sprouting (always the ones to pick) and no black soggy tips on the cut ends of the canes (a sign of poor storage, or long storage, in my experience). 

Looking good!

When I tore away the pulp pot, I discovered the roots were wound around inside the pot.  I straightened them and spread them out in the planting hole.  Once rose roots are wound around, they don't straighten out.  I didn't mind the wound-around roots; it's better than seeing them all cut short.  I knew enough to tear away the pulp pot and straighten them out before planting.  The more root the better.

 A green bin for temporary shade until Baby can settle in:Photobucket

A lot of water in the planting, and then because it is brilliantly warm and sunny, and likely to be windy and dry the next few days, I put a bin between the newly planted rose and the sun, creating a temporary shady spot for the rose.   This will reduce stress on the canes and new foliage.  Some people recommend removing all the foliage at planting to prevent the canes from drying out, but I just shade the plant for a couple of weeks, and water generously, until the new roots get going.  

So 'Purple Splash', your turn to go to work, cover this up for me, please.  I'm sick of seeing it bare: 

I had 'Alister Stella Grey'  on that tower for a while.  It was beautiful, fragrant, repeated like made, free of all rust and mildew, and then it suddenly died.  I have no clue as to why.  I mourned it for a few years.  Dithered about planting another.  Dug around and tried to figure out why it died.  Thought about this-or-that climbing Tea or Noisette, then thought about the years of waiting for the Tea or Noisette to finally settle and take off and cover that silly tower.  Hence, 'Purple Splash'.  It just occurred to me that this 'Purple Splash' will be the back drop for bright yellow 'Julia Child'.  I never even thought of it, but a purple and white background to a rich yellow should be nice.

Rosa 'Julia Child'


  1. That will be VERY nice. Accidents do happen, don't they?

  2. HoovB, looking at your Julia Child convinced me I need to move mine to a better spot. She needs way more sunshine. I think Tea Clipper is finally going to the can.

  3. Thanks Sherry! Accidents sure happen around here a lot. ;)

    JC does like her sunshine. Tea Clipper would be outta here if I had room in the bin. A rose should, like, bloom every once in a while.


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