Adventures in growing Heirloom own root roses

Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

I have grown roses for years, and as I have matured, I've found myself moving towards more scented roses, with cabbage type blooms. I previously bought roses locally, ( mostly hybrid teas) then came across Reagan's Nursery in CA, where I started ordering David Austin roses several years ago. Then in reading this forum, I learned about Heiroom Roses and decided to place an order for this spring.

All of my previous roses are grafted, so I was surprised to see how small an own root rose was when they arrived. I'm looking forward to nurturing these new roses, and hopefully seeing some blooms this year. I got El Catala, Falstaff, and William Shakespeare, with Varigata di Bologna to be shipped later this spring. The last picture shows how small El Catala and Falstaff are, compared to the grafted roses.

The 3 new plants were planted this afternoon in my front rose beds. I amended the GA red clay with composted manure, soil conditioner, bone meal, and with a small amount of Azomite, and gave all 3 a good drink. I plan on taking weekly pictures to monitor the growth of these newbies.

Please share how you have successfully grown own root roses. Annette

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Richmond, TX

I will enjoy watching the progress of your new roses. I have found that roses grown on their own roots do better and live longer here in our climate. It will be interesting to hear what you find works best there.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

You discovered, as I did, that Heirloom roses are tiny, tiny, tiny. I had heard this about them, but I had no idea. I got three because they were half priced and only one of them produced a bud. Chamblees sent me an own root rose about the same time - Glamis Castle. Here is a picture of Glamis in a pot. At most times over the summer it had between 10 and 12 buds or blooms at a time.

The second is The Ingenious Mr. Fairchild from Heirloom. It produced one tiny flower. My other two roses from Heirloom are equally tiny and did not bloom.

These two pictures were both taken in September.

These two roses were bought one month apart and have the same retail price. It's not a matter of grafting, since Chamblees are own root. Heirloom roses are really, really small. I personally won't buy from them again unless they have something I cannot get elsewhere.

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Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I should add that I have three own root containerized roses coming from Roses Unlimited in the spring. The Chamblees was a one gallon. And the neat thing is that you can order just one rose from Chamblees. Many other companies have minimums of three. After my experience with Heirloom I wanted to make sure that I got at least one gallons. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Antique Rose Emporium's two gallons are the bomb, but shipping will send you into shock. I think I was spoiled by the size of their roses and those of Pickering, which sends two foot bareroots. I would get them in April and they would be in bloom in June. $15.50 roses and $18.00 for shipping three to four. Very fast maturity. Sadly, the U.S. government is giving them fits and they cannot ship here this year.

Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

Like Donna, Chamblees is my go to for own root roses. But I hold Heirloom's in "reserve" as I am a fool for those Austin roses and Heirloom's has many varieties no longer available anywhere else. I've been ordering from them for years, and their roses are small, but I've always managed to get them to grow on.

Annette, you might also take a look at Angel Gardens: Also ownroot roses and she has a nice selection of Austins as well and they are nearer to you (they are in Florida).

Of course you can always order from the Austin USA mother ship. They are selling some own roots, but the cost makes even an Austin fool like me think twice. And I can go and pick them up down in Tyler if I want.

Good luck with you new babies and I hope you enjoy them for years to come!

Richmond, TX

We all started out little, after all...

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Then the prices should be little, too!

Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

Thanks for the well wishes porkpal.

Donna, thanks for the info on more nurseries with own root roses. I'm will be moving more towards these. My August Renoir from Reagan's keeps sending out suckers. I pinched more off yesterday.

Teri, thanks the well wishes, and the new source, Angel Gardens.

I've now got new sources for own root roses, Roses Unlimited, Chamblees, Antique Rose Emporium, and Angel Gardens.


Warrenton, VA

I can only sing high praises for Heirloom roses. I, too, was rather surprised with my tiny roses, but at the end of their first warm season in their new home in my garden, they were much heftier and healthier than any older grafted rose!
I fed them regularly with alternating seaweed and fish fertilizer. This was a new system for me. I also put some Epsom Salts in the soil before planting. The canes on one rose, the second year, were well over 5 feet long!
This, the third year, shows five Heritage Roses in my garden with severe pruning last month, looking like those big grafted roses you get in containers. WOW.
There is so much new growth showing that, as much as I was in shock with receiving such tiny, frail-looking roses, I am equally in shock with their incredible vigor.
And the fragrance that one rose produced last year, oh, you will be so proud that you ordered these...! I wish you the best! Yes, I have Virginia Red Clay!
I would certainly wait to see how your roses do before planning to abandon this company.

Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

Grayce, thanks for sharing your information about how you care for your roses. I have Stay-n-Grow and Neptunes Fish/Seaweed fertilizer. Do you foliar feed them with it, or water the ground? I forgot the Epsom salt, so I'll water them with it the next time they need watering. I do sprinkle it around my other roses several times during the growing season.

This is my first time ordering from Heirloom Roses, and their website clearly states the sizes of plants that will be sent. I like a gardening challenge. If I'm successful, I will order from them again.

I'm glad to know that the roses that you've received from Heirloom have done well, please post pictures of them.


Warrenton, VA

Oh Cem9165, Foliar feeding sounds way too "primpy!" LOL! I like to keep roses as dry on their leaves as possible. So, I water away with my trusty water bucket, with the stuff mixed into the water...
The tiny roses ARE tender, as they look, so stay away from systemic pest control. Just read the directions you received with them and you'll do just fine. Mine did not like the Bayer Rose all-in-one for Roses.
Keep it simple, keep it organic. Spray with Neem Oil as necessary. Enjoy!

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Given the size and failure to bloom of two of three of my tiny Heirloom roses (again, see picture above), they are at the bottom of my list. The company has had enthusiastic supporters for years, but given the three I received, I will order from them only if they have something that no one else has. I had the pleasure of meeting Peter Schneider, author of Right Rose, Right Place, after I placed the Heirloom order, and he enthusiastically recommended Roses Unlimited for hard to find, own root roses. They supply one gallons (the Chamblees size above), and they are the same price as Heirloom's. I took his recommendations, and have four coming in the spring. I also intend to place an order from Chamblees this year, given how pleased I was with my $18 Glamis Castle.

I have never, at any price, had roses so small that they failed to bloom (and two of the three did not even produce a bud) the season that they were bought. Indeed, each only has a single stem. I see no reason, other than lack of availability, to pay for roses that are so skimpy and have to be babied the way I had to baby the Heirloom roses.

Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

RE Heirloom roses, Donna you are right. Their roses are small. But, for example, I am after Symphony, an old Austin said to do very well here in the south. It really is the only place I can find it. I've got a history with Heirloom and I just follow their instructions. You know how it is, sometimes you just gotta have a certain rose. And now they have a number for the EuroDesert roses, so what's a gal to do?

I do consider Angel Gardens a bit expensive but their roses are very healthy and they also have a number of roses not in general circulation. I also like Roses Unlimited. I've ordered a number of Harkness and Kordes roses from them. And they have quite a few of the old Jackson & Perkins-before-they-sold-out roses. I'm finding that I really like the own-root roses better. Although I will still splurge every year on a few of the latest roses from Austin's. Got Wollerton Old Hall this year and it is doing very well so far. Their bareroots are honkin' huge! And I usually do buy one own root each year from Austin's as I want them to know that is my preference. So I'm voting with my money. I think that is the best way to get Austin's attention.

I think if we may add to Peter Schneider's adage, buy the right rose from the right place.....

And let us not forget High Country Roses: As long as we are enabling Annette, let us go the whole hog ☺!

Here is Agatha Christie, the Kordes LFC. I got this one from Vintage Gardens, another nursery which carried hard to find varieties and is now going away.

So here's to all those rose nurseries still with us and struglling along. May they survive and thrive so that they can keep us crazy rose nuts well supplied with our desired fixes. Hurrah!

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Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

LOL Terri, keep enabling why don't ya ; ~))))) Keep on posting the names of those rose vendors. I can see more grass coming out to make room for plants. This is how DG gets us in trouble. Now I've got to add High Country Roses to my favorites list.

I checked on the new plants today. They all seem to be doing well. When I planted them, I did spray them with Greenlight Fruit and Tree Spray. We've got bad Japanese beetles here during the summer, and they would decimate these new plants if given the opportunity. El Catala does have a bud, so we'll see if we get a bloom soon.


Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

Grass is boring anyway, even though I do like to mow.

I've already had a couple of Japanese beetle sighting this year. Sigh!

Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

I agree, grass is boring, it's so green, LOL.

I had some success with spraying the plants with Neem oil the past 2 years, and it seems to keep the Japanese beetles at bay. The Greenlight Fruit and Tree spray has Neem oil in it, so I'm interested to see how it's going to work. This is my first year using this product, as a fungicide, miticide and insecticide. The black spot is ridiculous here every year, and I'm already starting to see evidence of it on roses already.

Here's El Catala, the bud is expanding and showing some of it's color.

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Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

This is always such an exciting time of year.

West Monroe, LA(Zone 8a)

Welcome to the world of own root roses. I won't plant anything else anymore. I'm just coming off a 3 yr illness where my roses got no care, not even spraying. Rarely my son watered them, no weeding. Guess who bloomed anyway and now they are leaved & budded out like crazy. I'm in zone 8 Louisiana so probably near same weather as you. Chamblees is right down I20 from me about 130 miles and local nurseries carry them, so get great plants. My other one I've bought from for 25 yrs is the antique rose emporiam in texas. Also online.the tea roses and musk are really great here. And of course david austin. MARY ROSE has that sweet scented cabbage look. Enjoy.

Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

Ginger, I hope you continue to feel better. Thanks for sharing your experience with own root roses, and I'm glad your roses have continued to thrive.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

My delivery today from High Country Roses. Bravo!

The hard to find Stanwell Perpetual. I wish I could more easily show you their fabulous condition! And own root. I will be checking their lists, and Chamblees, for the roses I could not get from Pickering this year.

They are bigger than my Heirloom roses in the ground! And my Chamblees rose came through winter like a champ. That was my first from them (I'll be back!)

Now to see how my roses from Roses Unlimited do. Constance Spry, Rose du Rescht. I am very optimistic.

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Conroe, TX(Zone 8b)

I too will enjoy watching the progress of your roses. I've latched onto 7 Kordes roses, to go with all my plain ole roses :)
('ya know, 'had to add a touch of class...). Everything is going well, except the weather, and of course, the insects....but, that's a given here.
Please keep up updated Cem9165; roses are always an adventure, regardless of heritage of the rose or skill of the one working with the roses. Great to see Terri, Porkpal, Donna, and so many others here !!!! 'Hope you all have been well !

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Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I just got four roses from Roses Unlimited. Wow.

From left to right, Tess of the D'urbevilles (yes, that is a flower), Zephirine Drouhin and Rose du Rescht packaged together, and Constance Spry on the right. Wonderful stocky plants. In my opinion, the best of the three quite wonderful sets of roses I have received from Chamblees, High Country Roses and this terrific company which was a recommendation I got from Peter Schneider, author of Right Rose, Right Place. He gardens in Ohio, which is very helpful. The Roses Unlimited Roses appear to be the best combination of height and heft, although I would happily order from any of these three companies again. I love the fact that they are all own root, and as much as I like Pickering, roses that are either containerized or shipped with a mass of soil are easier to plant. For those who are familiar with Antique Rose Emporium (my old mainstay) these are much like their beautiful roses, but are not shipped with such a mass of soil, so they are less expensive.

I moved in December of 2010, and had to leave my roses behind, except for polyanthas. I am ending up replacing many of my old garden favorites and finding some new beauties. It's great to have so many fine sources (Terri was particularly helpful) and I really find my spirits lifted having these old garden friends back.

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Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

Donna you got some nice plants from Roses Unlimited. I hope that they do well for you.

Here is an update of my new roses from this week. It wll be a month tomorrow since they have been planted. We have had he strangest, coolest, wettest spring that I remember in many years. We're still getting temps on the 40's at night here for the last few nights. Where the heck is spring?

William Shakespear has put on the most growth, followed by Falstaff, then El Catala. El Catala actually had a bloom, which may have slowed it's progress down. William Shakespeare now has a bud, but I think I'm going to cut it, so that the plant can put the energy towards new growth.


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Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I got them on May 2, as you can see. Yesterday, there were numerous fat buds on Tess and Rose du Rescht. No need to keep them in pots. They were substantial enough to put in the ground right away. The are branched.

My Heirlooms from last year are still single stemmed. No buds in sight.

I'm giving serious thought to placing another order from RU this week.

This message was edited May 19, 2013 5:43 AM

Warrenton, VA

Congratulations to all who buy own-root roses! I admit, with 25% OFF coupon in hand, I went to a local nursery today to paw the roses. They even had David Austins! No sale, no grafting, EVER, for me. I tipped the containers and saw those matter how impulsive I want to be, I just can't buy grafted roses.

Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

Donna, I'm glad your new roses are doing well. Don't give up on the other ones, they may surprise you.

Grayce, thanks to DG, I now know about own root roses. I don't believe we have any nurseries that grow them here in GA. If I'm succesful with them this year, I'll be moving in the same direction. I've not had any problems with the grafted roses in the past till last year when the root stock on one started growing, making me crazy, LOL. I have to stay on top of it so that it doesn't take over my August Renoir.

Warrenton, VA

A confession. Still on the mission to get some more roses (but not needing them in any way), and keeping to my philosophy of being OPEN to new ideas, I went onto eBay. Found a small businessperson, a grower in Texas, that sells own root roses. They seemed like such a good deal, and also the reviews of over 1000 rose purchases made me bite. I bought Madame Cecile Brunner (1880), Golden Fairy Tale (1995), Don Juan Climbing (1958), and Aloha Climbing (1949). Yes, totally carried away!
With shipping (and the grower packed them nicely), $107.00. For some reason, the Golden Fairy Tale was $$$ as everyone bid on it. It was $31.00, but another was $8.95...I like to buy from the same source.
They came yesterday. Unbelievable. HUGE, 1 gallon (two-handed) root system in soil (all organic!), some had bloomed already and some have buds on them! Fat stems, robust, alot of leaves. The grower included planting instructions that involve doggone earthworm castings. Never bought this, but I did last night!
Just want you to know that there are other options for your rose fix.
And just want you to know that I am looking HARD at some other roses by this grower.

Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

Congrats on your new purchase Gracye. Be sure to post pictures of your new plants, I would love to see them. I'm glad you've found a new, reliable source for own root roses.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)


The Heirloom roses are still single stemmed, and between the three of them they have produced one flower. I have trouble spotting them in the yard. The Roses Unlimited roses are all multi-stemmed - and blooming. The Chamblees rose is actually approaching the size of mature Glamis at home.

It is far too late for the Heirloom roses to "surprise me". They are now off my list.

Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

Wow! You all have quite a rose haul this year. I'm just getting back from vacation and getting caught up at work. So I'm just now logging back on to Dave's.

I didn't buy so much this year as in years past as I am trying to get all the weeds out of the beds I have now (yeah, right!), and then I need to get some companion plants going. I did get a humongous Wollerton Old Hall (bare root--not own root) from Austin's this year. I just can't find my camera, darn it! I always have to buy something from their "new this year" list every year. I just can't help myself =8~) I also got Radio Times, Coverdale, and Anne-Ayemone Giscard d'Extaing from Heirloom. They are due in this afternoon sometime. Must find that camera. Symphony should be shipped sometime in June.

I'll probably be down in Tyler sometime in the next few weeks so I'll be stopping by Chamblee's to see what they have. Since my climber/rambler bed is looking the best, I'll probably get onto High Country Roses in a few weeks and decide what to get to fill in a couple of blanks. Maybe Mr Nash or Paul's Scarlet Climber or Wenlock.....I'll probably decide on something completely different when the time comes. And probably won't be able to resist another Rugosa.

And so it goes....

Have fun, you all, with your new babies.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

A second Heritage and Rose Marie are coming from Roses Unlimited on the 28th. Rose Marie (which I'll bet you all know) is the white sport of Heritage. At this time RU is the only U.S. supplier of this wonderful rose that I have wanted for years.

The other roses I am thinking about are The Dark Lady, Madame Hardy and Dublin Bay (I had a spectacular specimens of the last two at my house), and Martine Guillot, a favorite of Peter Schneider's that is also available domestically only at RU.

He extols its virtues in his book, Right Rose, Right Place. All of them are available at Roses Unlimited so I am trying to restrain myself until next year.

And if I could find room, other roses I had: Gruss an Aachen, Morden Blush and Enfant du France.

I had 23 roses at my old house. I am rather stunned to find that, in 16 months here, with these deliveries, I will have 13.

Alba, TX(Zone 8a)

Oh. Allow me to enable you in regards to Morden Blush. I had it at my old house up north. Five actually. I really liked it. And very little maintenance. Totally worth any wait you might have to endure!

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Giving comfort to the addicted. I had three. I dug up one quite roughly, tearing lots of roots, and moved it to a new location in my old yard. He came out like gangbusters. I needed a rose for a highly visible location. One that would not fail. One gorgeous in bud and bloom. One blooming all season. One getting nicely through winter.

This is the ticket.

OOOOoooh - five! I understand!

This message was edited Jun 25, 2013 1:07 PM

Easton, PA(Zone 6b)

I am moving and digging out my monster own root roses. I don't have any from heirloom. Mine are from friends, Melva and Chamblees. If I can grow little sticks in the z6a Pocono Mountains rocks and clay, you can do it in Georgia!

Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

Here's an update of the 3 own root roses that I planted in April. El Catala is blooming for the second time, as small as it is, it is still the smallest of the 3 plants. Falstaff has tripled in size, and William Shakespeare has bloomed once and more than doubled in size.

I finally received Variegata di Bologna this week, that was ordered at the same time as the other 3 plants, and have to figure where I should plant it. I want to convince the DH to let me take out more grass and put it along the fence on the driveway. That way, it's the first thing we see when we arrive home. I would center it on the fence, behind the basketball goal. I can't wait for this plant to mature so that I can see the blooms.

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Richmond, TX

I think a rose behind the basketball goal would look stunning!

Navarre, FL(Zone 8b)

Annette, I love your roses...something about black wrought iron fences with roses along them, just looks so pretty together, don't know why but I love the effect!!

Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

Thanks porkpal and PamelaQ for your comments. I'm working on the DH to see if I can take out more grass and put in the new rose. I'm thrilled with the growth of
the roses planted in April.

Warrenton, VA

Cem, I KNEW IT I KNEW IT I KNEW IT! I KNEW that you would really appreciate your roses from Heirloom.
My latest adventure in buying own-root roses from a gardener off EBay, has been spectacular. All four have bloomed, but I have a problem. How in THE WORLD can I tell Hubby that the precious, button-hole rose that I bought (Cecile Brunner) will reach to 30 feet or more? LOL! He swears that there never was a softer rose petal...I am just standing back, you all...the plant is about two feet tall now, but next year...oh I will be standing WWWWaaaaayyyy back!

Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

Congrats on your plants doing well Grayce. Be gentle with him, but tell him he may need a ladder to enjoy the blooms on CB next year ;~) 30 ft is a serious WOW!


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