Advice for beginner?

vmr423(Zone 8b, SC)June 7, 2014

I recently purchased my first roses from Roses Unlimited, and would appreciate any advice about planting, care, etc.

Plants I ordered:
'Maman Cochet' Tea
'Souvenir de Victor Hugo' Tea
'Enchantress' Tea
'Mount Vernon Purple Noisette' AKA 'Mrs. Woods' Lavender-Pink Noisette'

I'm hoping these are varieties that will be healthy and not too fussy here- I live in the Charleston, SC area, and try to stick to organic growing practices.

My intention is to pot them up into larger containers for the rest of the summer, and then put them in the ground once we get some cooler weather- probably in October.

I plant most things in compost (lovely, dark organic matter that drains well), with some Bio-tone Starter Plus 4-3-3 (a ridiculously long name for a plant food) mixed in, and I use some Sea-Hume (a seaweed and humic acid mix) when first watering in, and with some regularity afterwards. Should this provide enough nutrients for the plants until I can get them in the ground this fall? Or should I scratch in some Rose-tone and/or Milorganite and/or something else in the meantime? Assuming that I can find some Mills Magic Mix locally, is it a product that I should use?

RU has a great reputation for selling healthy, large plants, but from what I've read, I am expecting that it will take at least 3-5 years for the teas to mature into attractive, leafy plants- to come into their own, as it were...

Also, from what I've read, I'm expecting that I may experience some BS or other problems during these first years that the plants will- hopefully- grow out of. I'm not too bothered by some blemished leaves, although complete defoliation would cause me some concern.

In your experience, what are some common newbie mistakes that I should try to avoid making- particularly with reference to these particular roses?

Thanks in advance for whatever info you can provide,

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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

Virginia, you've chosen some lovely roses. I've grown Enchantress and Mrs. Woods' Lavender-Pink Noisette. Neither did well for me and they're gone, but don't let that discourage you since I live in a hot and dry hilly area with poor soil and lots of heat radiating off boulders and hardscape.

I'd go easy on the fertilizer and wouldn't use Rosetone or Mills until the roses show some growth. The soil that comes with the rose probably already has fertilizer in it already and small plants shouldn't be fed a rich diet.

I would think you'll have a respectable size after two years and will most probably have flowers this year on most of these plants, if they don't already have flowers when you open the box. Keep in mind that Enchantress is a small tea, and for some people is not the easiest to grow.

It's not a given that you'll have disease in the first year or two. I didn't with my teas but with 12-18% humidity in the summer that's not really surprising.

Good luck and please do post pictures when your roses are flowering.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 8:13PM
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vmr423(Zone 8b, SC)

Thanks so much for your response, your encouragement and the pointers about feeding young plants.

I'm not generally anxious to feed healthy-looking plants, but roses have a reputation for being heavy feeders, so I'm glad you nipped those misconceptions in the bud, so to speak.

RU had so many roses I wanted it was hard to choose, even though I limited my choices to the sale roses.

'Enchantress' was sort of an impulse buy- sold by lovely HMF photos and an 'Excellent' rating- but I guess if she's still around she must do well somewhere, and I'm hoping that our yard will be one of those somewheres. I didn't realize, though, that she tends to be smaller and trickier than other teas, so that's very useful info.

12-18% humidity? I sure wish I could send you some of our humidity (currently, 89%) since I know you need it...

'Maman Cochet' was one of the two roses that made me want to try growing old roses in the first place (the other being 'Souv. du Dr Jamain').

Like a lot of people, I figured rose-growing was far too arcane, expensive and complex for ordinary mortals like myself, but it eventually dawned on me that I was constantly seeing old, old roses that had long out-lived the people who'd planted and cared for them, so maybe they really weren't ALL fussy divas...

Hoping none of my choices are fussy, blackspot-prone divas, but if they are, I'll give them some time to get over it, then try to find them a better situation if that fails.

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 1:18AM
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organic_tosca(9/Sunset 14)

'Maman Cochet' is a wonderful rose! In fact, your whole list sounds lovely. I think you're off to a great start. And you can trust Ingrid's expertise - I've been reading the saga of her garden since I started on this forum (about 8 years now), and she has grown so many of my favorites, posting lovely photos in the process.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 2:37AM
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vmr423(Zone 8b, SC)

Thanks, organic_tosca! I am looking forward to seeing these roses (should be soon, since they'll ship out Monday, and we're in the same state). New plants are always exciting, and a whole new class of plants is quite an adventure.

I've seen and admired Ingrid's photos, and am happy to benefit from her experience with roses- and yours. This forum is a great resource for anyone who wants to learn from others' plant wisdom.

I haven't seen 'Maman Cochet' in person, but have admired her photos here and elsewhere, and it was love at first sight. There's something about Teas that really appeals to me, and whatever that something is, she has it in spades...

The Noisette is one I've admired for quite a while, too, and she seems to be tolerant of a variety of situations, so I'm hoping she'll like her new digs here.

I wasn't too familar with 'Enchanteress' or 'Souv. de Victor Hugo' until I saw them on the sale list- I looked 'em up on HMF, thought they were just my sort, and figured I'd like to see if I could give them a good home.

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 12:20PM
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organic_tosca(9/Sunset 14)

The Teas are my favorites, too, Virginia, for so many reasons - color nuance, bloom shape, delicate fragrance, and just something about them that goes straight to my heart! I don't actually have any roses of my own anymore, but I work in the heritage rose garden at the Old Sacramento Cemetery as a volunteer. I'm not nearly as knowledgeable as some of the others there, but I have learned a lot while I've been doing this. And, of course, it gives me the chance to see and work on so many of the roses that we all talk about on this forum. AND, by the way, welcome to the forum!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 2:31PM
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paparoseman(z8 WA. PO.)

Here are two top points of advice for teas. ONE, leave plenty of room when you plant them. Enchanteress is not a big plant BUT those other two teas can get pretty good sized and teas STRONGLY dislike hard pruning.

All of the roses that you ordered are pretty much bulletproof in your climate. Their one weak spot since they are rarely affected by black spot is mildew and with your humidity that should be greatly reduced.

For teas pruning is mainly for shaping the bush and removing dead cane tips and as they get older some of the oldest canes. With your plants you will not be doing much pruning other than cutting of dead tip growth for the next several years.

For the noisette plant it where it has some room to spread and perhaps arch over a walkway where you and your friends can enjoy the scent of the blooms.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 5:47PM
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vmr423(Zone 8b, SC)

Thanks for the welcome, Laura- I'm learning a lot here.

paparoseman, thanks for the advice on leaving enough room for the eventual size of the plants.

I can't find general sizes for these varieties yet, but will keep looking- I figure that an allowance of at least 7' for width should be enough for the larger plants, and a bit less for 'Enchantress'? That doesn't sound too wacky, does it? I'd rather over-estimate the space needed than have a cramped plant, and we have plenty of space...

I love that word, 'bulletproof'. That's what I was looking for, and my hope is that they won't require a whole lot of pampering once they're established.

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 1:10AM
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I'm a little cooler than you, but I too left my bands in pots for the whole summer and didn't plant in the ground until October last year. I really wish I had done it sooner. I don't think they were established enough to weather the early cold snap that hit last year in November.

Teas like the heat. This year I potted my bands up to gallons for a couple months then a week or so ago planted them into soil heavily amended with compost. I think if you keep them watered you should plant them earlier than October.

I've only had roses a few years, but I also use a lot of compost--horse manure/stall leavings. I don't do much fertilizing in addition. When I do, I stick with mostly nitrogen. My soil already tests high for phosphorus and potassium and since nitrogen depletes much faster that's the only thing I want to add above and beyond what is being provided by the compost.

Also, since the first year you are trying to establish roots and plant mass you might consider disbudding and letting that energy be used for growth instead. Painful yes but I do thin it helps get young plants established faster.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 3:43PM
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vmr423(Zone 8b, SC)

Hi subk3- of course, you're cooler than me- almost everyone is...

But seriously, thanks for the advice on planting times. I think I want the plants in pots for the summer so that a) I can take some time to decide who's going where and b) have an easier time gauging if the plants are getting enough moisture.

I'm in 8b, so historically, our winters are pretty mild (so no gorgeous Gallicas for me), and I confirmed with Pat Henry at RU that fall planting should be fine where I am, so I think I'll wait to get them in the ground.

Not sure about disbudding- I might if the plant looks like it's getting over-ambitious, but I'm not expecting a whole lot of buds on these young plants, so I guess I'll play it by ear.

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 3:37PM
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