Rose Plant: Is It Dead or Alive?

It can happen in any rose garden: A rose plant appears to be dead, with only brown canes. But is it really dead, or is it alive? It’s not always apparent, but it may serve you well (and save you money) if you hold off on digging up and tossing your rose plant that may still be alive. At the minimum, keep this dead-looking plant watered on its usual schedule, just like any other rose plant, and wait for at least a few months. The roses may simply be resting (or recovering), depending on the time of year or its health. At some gardening centers, if you’re lucky, they sometimes sell at great discount rose plants that not only are no longer flowering but are completely brown. These brown plants may not look like much now, but they may be a great opportunity for you to build a garden at a much-reduced cost.IMG_3275

Check out one of my rose plants, growing in a container. All of the canes are brown but if you look at the base of the plant, just above the blue label (right of center), you’ll see a new sprout of leaves. I’ve been monitoring this plant for a few months so I know these sprout of leaves are not the “last gasp” of growth before the plant dies. It’s new growth. If there are no signs of life still, get pruning shears and cut off a small tip of one of the canes. If you see that the perimeter of the cut cane is green, it’s still alive. Especially if the particular variety of rose is hard to find, patience and a snip of the pruning shears can make a big difference!


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