Wednesday, April 26, 2017

i guess this is not the best climate for roses

This year, many of my roses look miserable. We had a warm spell in February and the roses started to leaf out. Then we had a cold spell and the roses didn't look so bad, but then after a month of warmer weather (70-80's for the highs, 40's for the lows) I realized that many of the bushes had dropped all of their buds (the ones that had them) and just were not interested in growing. I tried to understand why: moist soil? Check. Nutrition? Check. Sunlight? Check, check.

My cutting of Madame Alfred Carriere was the worst. After growing well as a cutting alongside my orchids, I put it out to go dormant for the winter. In February, it started to leaf out, then the tiny leaves, perhaps 3 mm long dried up. This went for a few cycles of tiny leaves which dried up. I tried more sun, less sun, more water. Some fertilizer, checking for bugs. Then some branches started dying back. It was freaking me out.

This is what it looked like:

In desperation, I brought it into the house, into the orchidarium. Within 24 hours, there seemed to be some growth. In disbelief, I waited.
Here it is, 3 days later:

Compare to the top photo which is the same tip, and you can see the dried up tiny leaves now with some growth. 
 ...and compare the second photo with this, at the fork. Remember this is only 3 DAYS later.

...and compare the third photo for the same place on the stem. Mystery solved.

Conclusion: it is climate. Madame just didn't like the weather. After all, same pot, same mix, different climate. So not a good climate for many roses, particularly Madame Alfred Carriere. I find this to be very sad, since Madame has such good fragrance. I know now, that if a rose doesn't do well, it may just be that this climate is not good for it. Maybe it's time to take out the roses. I know I should plant natives. I know!


  1. Sorry to see your roses are not doing well. NM is a very challenging climate for all but the toughest plants. Have they been in the ground for a while? Sometimes it takes a few years for a rose to get going.

    1. I think this is the third year for Bishop's Castle. It's so depressing to see, especially when I take a cutting to my mother's in California, and in a year it is bigger than my 3 year old plants!

  2. Hmmm, Peter...I've rarely seen better roses without all the disease problems or need to wrap in winter (except the 20 or 40 year winters like 2011!), than in places like ABQ or here. I never rule out the variety like you are saying, let alone soil type, disease, or insects.

    With the up-down temperature swings every few weeks I've noticed you've been getting since before I moved, compared to us missing most of those, natives may be a better bet overall. But I'd sure like the contrast of roses in limited areas, too.

    1. True, there aren't a lot of diseases, but as with most plants that aren't native here, they look very sad compared to the ones at my mother's house in California.