In the last few years, Essex has seen relatively mild winters and a lot of rainfall. This year in April we have had early morning frosts and very little rain.
Your bare-root roses in your garden, as well as container-grown roses in our nursery will vary in growth.
We pot the vast majority of our roses in January to be ready for sale in early April, but this year, given the frosts in the last month, while the tops of the plants looked well established, this is not an indication that the root system was well developed and ready to bind with the soil.
Although we supplied some of the plants in early April because of special events and those who visited our nursery, we emphasised keeping them in the pots for a couple of weeks or more. We also advise not to put your roses in a greenhouse.
Some years ago we had late frosts in May, our container area looked in a sorry state with the plants really suffering with the foliage looking damaged. We did an experiment here by cutting half of the plants and leaving the rest as they were. This did not make any difference and they all recovered fine.
Some of you may be concerned that the young foliage droops and some premature buds have fallen off. Do not panic, this again is down to the cold nights we have experienced.
You need to be aware of the local weather and adjust the planting times accordingly and as advised.
Also, if you have newly planted bare-root roses and they are yet to come into growth, do not write them off, give them more time. Once the nights start to become warmer, and hopefully we get some well-needed rain, this will help the growth of the roses.
Remember we are now in container season which runs from April to October, whilst the bare-root season runs from November through to March.
Planting tips and rose care for May
If you have new containerised roses to plant, make sure you water the plant well before tapping the plant out. This is to guard against disturbing the root system. If there is any sign of the soil coming away from the roots, then keep the plant in the container for a week or two.
Bare root roses planted between November 2020 and March 2021, given favourable weather i.e. rain and sun will start to develop.
For all plants, you should by now have started a disease preventative spraying programme. Much better to do this than wait until any blackspot etc. appears. Preventing is much easier than curing! Also, spray against insects if you wish when necessary.