Now is the time to make choices and put in orders for bare root roses to ensure that the varieties you want are available when you’re ready to plant, whether that time is this week or several months away.
The bare root rose shipping season to the warmest areas of the country starts in January, but it only lasts in that region through February. Other areas will ship later, in March or April or May, but everywhere the shipping windows remain narrow since bare root roses are shipped at the optimal planting time for any local area.
“Bare root rose shipments are coordinated very carefully,” says Michael Marriott, technical manager of David Austin Roses. “The goal is to ship the roses when the local planting conditions are just right. Not before. Not after. The time to plant bare root roses is when they will root best, thus ensuring best performance for the life of that rose.”
The correct planting window in any area, says Marriott, is when the ground is no longer frozen but is cool and pliable, not overly wet and clammy, and daytime air temperatures are under 70 degrees F. Planting during the optimal window gives the plant the time and energy to establish strong roots, he says.
David Austin Roses, which ships its famous English Garden Roses from its U.S.-growing fields in Tyler, Texas, divides the country into six major shipping zones. The earliest zones, which include the deep southeast, southern Texas and Arizona, Hawaii and California, ship in January/February. The last states to ship include those in the upper Midwest, northern New England and parts of Alaska, which receive their roses in April/May.
Bare root roses are live plants that are shipped without any soil, in special packing material that keeps the roots damp and healthy. They arrive ready for planting directly into the garden.
When roses arrive, first check to make sure they made the journey OK. The roses will have no leaves or flowers, but the stalks should be firm and healthy, the roots damp with no signs of rot or fungus. If all is in order, re-seal the box and store it in a cool, frost-free spot until you are ready to plant. Storing cool is important, never store bare root roses in a heated room.
Immediately prior to planting, the roots of bare root roses should be soaked in cool water for several hours or overnight. The plants may be totally submerged, canes and all, if desired. While not optimal, the plants may be soaked for several days, generally without harm.
All David Austin roses sold in the United States are specially selected for American growing conditions and climate zones. All are grown and shipped within the United States with planting instructions enclosed.
David Austin’s award-winning catalog, The Handbook of Roses, is a rose lovers’ delight, available at no charge. To order, visit the David Austin Roses website, call 800-328-8893, or write to David Austin Roses Limited, 15059 State Highway 64 West, Tyler, TX 75704.