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Roses, pots, and Buffalo winters

This is a discussion on Roses, pots, and Buffalo winters within the The Jungle forums, part of the Land Plants category; Two years ago, I bought two roses to grow in containers, a Double Delight and ...

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  1. #1
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    Default Roses, pots, and Buffalo winters

    Two years ago, I bought two roses to grow in containers, a Double Delight and a Blue Girl. The first year, they were little, but they each made flowers. Last year, they each came back, but I did basically nothing in my porch garden (which is what I have; I live in an apartment building). I was in and out of town all through our prep/planting season and by the time I was here, everything was weeds and moss. The roses looked bad -- yellow, off-color leaves, didn't grow much. I kept thinking I should water them with some water that had a little Physan in it and see if that helped but never did. Too many ugly things were going on. We're just now past our danger of frost and I'm wondering what I might best do.

    This winter was rough even for us and I wonder whether they made it -- it looks like my lavender isn't coming back, which is fairly hardy. I want to see if the roses I have are still alive. I don't know how to check other than waiting for them to start putting out new leaves, though, and I could be growing new, healthy plants.

    If I get new ones, I'm wondering what I ought to do to improve the potting situation. Everything on my porch was covered in moss all last year; I put in some lily bulbs and did one pot of new perennials yesterday and most my pots are still covered with moss. I don't mind it in itself at all, and in fact, it's very pretty moss, but I think it does mean that somehow I'm managing to have pots, which should run dry, staying very wet all the time. I imagine whatever attacked the roses last year was due to the same conditions. The year before last, things were fine, though, and even got really dry, as one would expect, in July and August. It's often pretty rainy here through the spring and summer, but a breezy 3rd-floor balcony seems like. . . it shouldn't be growing moss in quantity, anyway.

    The pots are big, deep ones, and should have adequate drainage, but I'm thinking I might put them on some of those plant feet things?

    Anyway -- advice on those specific issues -- how to tell if possibly dormant roses are dormant or dead, how best to manage the water situation in the containers, whether Physan might have helped -- and general advice on roses grown in containers, please!

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    I don't grow roses (with the exception of two mini roses I planted in my parents' yard upstate) -- too high maintenance. So for the nitty-gritty on roses, someone else will be better able to advise. But on general fronts:

    Physan will kill the moss but the moss isn't hurting anything and killing the moss will not change your overall conditions or issues. And while I truly understand your surprise at the moss's quantity, the reality is that many mosses actually require a good amount of sun and enjoy good air circulation. And because mosses reproduce by spores, the winds carry them everywhere.

    I would concur that it sounds like your pots may be staying too moist -- but again not being a rose grower, what do I know? -- and so you may be better off switching to a grittier, more free draining media. Of course this in turn means you will likely have to water more often.

    Mostly I'm amazed your roses came back even the first time. Your winters, like mine, are generally quite harsh. Pots on a balcony freeze solid which generally kills most plants -- even the winter hardy ones.

    For those who will be chiming in with more advice, if you could provide more information on your growing conditions (how much direct sun and at what time of day; typical spring, summer, fall, and winter temps; type of media currently used; etc) that would be helpful I'm sure.

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    I was surprised they came back after one year, too! I kind of think that if I had kept them in better shape their second summer, they might even have made it through this last winter. Also thought about bringing them inside and putting them in the basement, but I thought they might need to have water of some kind over the winter & that wouldn't have happened.

    The Physan wasn't anti-moss but for whatever was making the roses sick, which I figure was something fungal.

    And yes, you are right, if other people tell me what their conditions are & how they work with them, I should be able to turn that around to mine. That is the question I needed to ask but didn't, so thank you.

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    Your welcome. But do include your conditions in that current location so folks know what you have to work with.

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    Oh, hurp, *my* conditions. Right. Except that I don't know what they are, really, in terms of numbers. Our last frost date is around mid-April; summers are fairly cool, temps rarely getting above 85 or so til the last bit of July, very wet but also very breezy. I used to live in Louisiana and it's honestly nearly as wet here as there, but windier and of course with a much shorter growing season. Winters are extremely snowy but not as cold as you'd think because Lake Erie moderates our temps -- we're on the warmer side of Zone 5. Prior to this winter, lavender and salvia came back for me after every winter, and this year the salvia made it but the lavender didn't. My balcony is unshaded because I'm on the top floor, so I have full sun.

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    Hi! I'm no rose expert, but I do grow about 150 of various kinds in the ground. Roses require at least 6 hrs. of sun, which you have, 1 inch of water a week, that is in the ground, in a pot I would think you would have to water much more often, but they also require good drainage. They also get black spot which is a fungus, I try to spray with an antifungal about once a week. Double delight is prone to black spot. They also like to be fed about once a month in the ground, but probably more often if you water more often in a pot. If the drainage in your pots was not good, that is probably the culprit. I hope I helped, you probably could get better information by going to the American Rose Society. Good Luck!

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