Now is the time to shop for bargains on roses

Agastche 'Apricot Sprite' is just one of the perennials I've been planting this fall.

Photo/Illustration: 
Paul Zimmerman Roses

A common question I get asked a is “when is the best time to plant roses?” The obvious answer is spring as it’s generally considered the best time to plant most plants. Spring is an active growing period and plants planted during that time quickly get established and take off.

Late summer/early fall is also considered a great time for planting in most parts of the country. While the air is turning cooler, the ground is still warm allowing roots to become well established before old man winter sends his icy blasts across our gardens. I do a lot of fall planting and in fact I’m busy right now planting a couple of hundred perennials in my rose garden.

There is also another good reason to plant this time of year and because it’s simply less expensive. Why? Because garden centers put their roses (and a lot of plants) on sale this time of year. I was reminded of this when someone posted pictures of roses on sale for $5.99 at their local garden center. They weren't generic roses but in fact were high end varieties. They weren’t sure if they should buy and plant them this time of year. I told them to snap them up and get them in the ground.

My Cardinal de Richelieu about four weeks after being rescued. It's settling in quickly.

Photo/Illustration: 
Paul Zimmerman

That person got a bargain and come spring will have some great new roses blooming amongst their older ones. However, many gardeners don’t take advantage of these sales for the simple reason the plants in the pots don’t always look as fresh and sparkly as they did in spring. They may see some dead wood, lopsided growth and even some weeds in the pot. Quite a few of the perennials I just purchased indeed have grass growing in them. Considering I got them for 1/2 to 2/3 of their price I’m happy to weed them before I put them in the ground.

Roses with dead canes or lopsided growth is not a good reason to not take advantage of the fantastic prices this time of year. The roses have been in pots since spring and they need to get in the ground. Also by this time of year many garden centers are not caring for the roses with the same attention to detail they do in spring. They probably stopped deadheading, shaping and yes; even weeding.

Don’t fear these roses. Instead save them from what will likely be a compost pile ending and bring them into your garden. Clean up the deadwood, pull the weeds, give the bush a nice shaping and then plant it in your well composted soil. Give it a little liquid seaweed foliar fertilizer and then sit back and watch it show its gratitude. I’ve done this many a time and once the roses settle in they take off and many times become the star of the garden.

Think of a rescue dog and how loyal they can be. Rescue roses can the same. Heck, if they have thorns big enough they will even also protect you from intruders!

Start bargain hunting!!

Happy Roseing

Paul

Bargain perennials waiting to go in the ground. They just need a little weeding first.

Photo/Illustration: 
Paul Zimmerman

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