Own-Root Roses

A gardener seeks advice on own-root roses.

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Q. I have noticed that many nurseries promote that fact that they sell "own-root" roses. What are the advantages of these roses, if any?

A. Own-root roses seem to be the way of the future with shrub roses. Own-root means that the roses are not grafted onto a different rose rootstock. They are usually very hardy, and they don't produce suckers. If the rose dies back to the ground in a hard winter, it will come back true-to-type when it resprouts. A rose that has been grafted onto another rootstock will often come back as only the rootstock if it dies back in the winter, and rootstocks are not usually desirable roses. In other words, if you can order a rose on its own roots, you'll have a better plant. Also, keep in mind that hybrid teas don't come on their own roots just because of their nature and lack of natural hardiness.

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