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Why Bigger is not always Better

Why Bigger is not always Better

When purchasing dormant roses bigger is not always the better.  Yes they may look bigger to start with, with lots of big thick canes, but the problem we come across is when the rose comes out of dormancy.  The plant it is going to draw on all of it energy reserves stored in it stems and roots and the larger the plant- the more energy it is going to need to break dormancy.

In some cases bare root roses are often stored out of the ground in sheds under plastic for weeks before they are shipped in orders. During this time the roses will start to grow due to the warm humid environment under the plastic. This means that in some cases the rose has used up close to half its energy before it even reaches your garden. This is one of the major causes of dye back in mail order roses.

Often with larger roses it only takes slight adverse environmental conditions i.e roots drying out or stems drying out in the wind to make the rose not able to break dormancy, or be very slow to break dormancy.  Smaller roses often break dormancy quicker simply due to the fact that they don’t need as much reserves to produce new growth.

Our own root roses in the 70mm peat pot may be smaller in size to start with, but within a year they will have caught up and if not over taken their bare root counterparts.  There is one advantage to buying our 70mm peat pots and that is that the rose is still actively growing and because there is minimal root disturbance due to the peat pot being able to be planted straight in the ground, the roses will rapidly establish in your garden.


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  • Luke Gordon