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(March 2014)

QuestionI have sold my house and want to take my Zephirine Drouhin and New Dawn roses with me. I planted them just last year. They will have to stay in pots until I find a new home. Any suggestions for a successful move would be much appreciated.

AnswerGet the largest pots you can handle and dig up a root ball and pot them up.  Prune them back enough to make moving manageable and keep them watered.  If you do it now, and the temperatures are predicted to be ridiculously low--below 25--move them to a protected spot and don't forget to water. I would group them all together and put them as close to the house as possible—possibly behind current shrubs if you can.  When spring comes move them into sunshine. The reason for the largest pot idea is to be able to keep them watered until you can permanently plant.  The longer they stay in a pot in one place the quicker they will try to root through the container to the soil below.


April 2011

QuestionWe purchased a Lady Banks Rose in Louisiana last year. We kept it inside this winter and put it back outside this spring. It is doing well but no flowers. They told us it is not rated for our zone 7 in central Arkansas. Will it prosper if we leave it out all year?

AnswerLady Banks Rose (Rosa banksiae) is a wonderful thornless rose that only blooms once a year in the spring. There are many beautiful specimens of this plant all over central Arkansas—one of the largest near the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion. The flower color is either a pale yellow or off white. There is little to no fragrance to the rose, but it makes quite a statement when it is in bloom, and the plant is disease free, with no spraying! The vines are quite vigorous so give it room to grow or a trellis to grow on. If pruning is needed, do so after it blooms. The flowers are small but quite numerous when in bloom. It would be much happier in the ground than inside during the winter. Plant it in full sun to partial shade in rich soil and let it grow. Central Arkansas would be considered its northern range of hardiness, and occasionally a late freeze may zap it back a bit, but we haven’t seen that problem in quite a few years.

(April 2005)

QuestionI have a Lady Banks rose draped across my brick mailbox. It is about four years old and has bloomed beautifully in the past. I have had to trim it each year - rather severely. It is beginning to bloom now, but some of the leaves have black spots and it does not look as full as it did in the years past. Want to know if it is alright to fertilize now and what should I use. If not, when should it be fertilized? I live in Monticello.

AnswerLady Banks rose is one of those wonderful old-fashioned roses that seem to only get better with age. I have never heard of it being plagued with disease--in particular blackspot. Maybe you should move it to a location where you don't have to prune as severely, and let it prosper. In Monticello, you could have an amazing bush if you didn't prune. This thornless rose only blooms in the spring, but the larger it grows, the more impressive its bloom season. Fertilize after bloom.

(March 2005)

QuestionWe have a beautiful antique climbing rose in our yard. It is a Cecile Brunner. It has grown to epic proportions. It is now up high into an oak tree nearby. Naturally, it is quite lovely when it blooms. However, we were ignorant to the fact that we should prune out the dead canes right away and have consequently let it become overgrown. How do we prune it now? Do we cut it down to a manageable height and start over? Please advise.

AnswerMost Cecile Brunner roses only bloom once in the spring, so enjoy your spring floral display before you begin to reshape. Then you can take it back as far as you want to. They can be prolific growers, and if space is not an issue, you can let them grow. Thinning out older, woodier canes annually after flowering, will keep them more manageable.

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