At $4.57, what's the harm in picking up a few of these babies?
Almost all of these are lovely older varieties ... ones that our mothers and grandmothers grew. Tempting, so tempting.
The canes on these look pretty good. Most of them are green and firm. I see a little bit of canker and a few dead canes, but not many. If they stay outside in the sunshine for much longer, this situation will deteriorate really quickly.
The main problem with these roses is the way they were grown and the way they were handled prior to their arrival in the store. These canes that you see have very little root in those tiny bags to support any sort of vigorous growth. In a bare root rose, root mass should AT LEAST equal the mass of the top canes ... and more roots than that are even better.
Careless handling during digging and packaging leads to mix-ups. Way too many of these labels are meaningless, because the rose in the bag may not be the one on the label. If this happens, there's no one to contact for a replacement. (Don't even get me started on how they were displayed out in the open, in the sunshine, at the store. This is a recipe for failure, and a clear disregard for the quality of their product.)
In this display, there was also a section of roses in larger pots. Just say no to these, too. Though the canes on these were a little bit larger than the ones in the bags, I'll bet they also have tiny, hacked off roots lurking in those pots. The label says the pot is plantable and bio-degradable ... a great way for the packaging to conceal the truth in the pot.
Those of you who have been around here for a while know that I do this every year, trying my best to save all of you some money and some heartache. Here's my best advice, if you have a weak moment and cannot resist the siren song of these roses ... you get what you pay for. If you buy these expecting to have a high-quality rose garden for very little money, you will probably be disappointed. If you want to buy one or two just to see what happens, this is a better attitude. If you walk away shaking your head, I have done my job.
If you have any questions, I will be happy to answer them via comments or email.