Consulting Rosarian Tip of the Month – Winter!

Winter (January, February, March) CR Advice from David Ingram, Master Rosarian and part of his article Poor David’s Almanac Volume VIII Winter


“Internet Mail-Order Nurseries – – I have read that over the centuries more than 20,000 rose varieties have been introduced. Many of these have disappeared, but there are still several thousand cultivars available, and if you want, you can buy them all for your garden. Some are hundreds of years old and alive with history; others are brand new;the exciting work of today’s top rose hybridizers. It’s now my happy duty to introduce you to a wonderful and hopeless addiction—endless roses! In this series of articles, you have learned how to plant well-started, # 1 roses from local nurseries in your garden and succeed with them. This will always be your best road to success—that is why local nurseries are there. I prefer to buy roses this way, despite the cost. But local nurseries can only offer the tip of the iceberg of all the varieties out there.


There is a world of internet nurseries offering an amazing variety of roses. I’ve even listed some websites that let you do research. And if nothing else, what follows isa fine source of knowledge. Be aware that most mail order nurseries offer first year rooted(own-root) cuttings for sale, much smaller and more fragile than what you have dealt with this year. These plants are shipped to you in small pots (generally 4” x 4” x 5” deep), often called “bands,” to save shipping costs. The plants average maybe 6” to 8” in height, and they will need a couple of years of attention to reach the size of the roses you have put in this year, and maybe 3 to 5 years to reach full, mature size. Miniatures may arrive in even smaller pots.


But fear not—the same principles you have followed and the skills you have learned from the “Growing Roses in Colorado” book will help you succeed with these young cuttings. Other mail-order nurseries offer larger pots, and a few offer gallon pots (which cost more to ship to you). Be aware that there are entire classes of roses that are not winter hardy in our area. They may grow well in the south or on the west coast, but our winters are too long and cold for them to survive here. Roses rated for USDA cold zones 7 or above will not survive in Colorado. Those rated for zone 5 & 6 can survive with winter protection. Those rated zone 4 or lower do just great, and may suffer minimal winter damage.


Research hardiness before ordering.Most of the nurseries listed below have been around for awhile; but the waves of change may drown some of them—so the old expression of “caveat emptor” is good advice. Several offer discounts to ARS members, another good reason to join the American Rose Society! Explore these sites, and follow their links for a journey full of history and beauty. First up, an index site:—a search site that has cataloged over 44,000 roses, with over 160,000 photos. There are links to plant nurseries, public and private gardens, plant societies, and much more.”


For year round rose gardening information and care advice, click the GROWING ROSES tab on any page on this website and choose from the many topics in the drop down menu. Enjoy!