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Bare Root vs. Potted Roses

  1. It’s no wonder that roses have been a classic garden mainstay for thousands of years, known for the depths of their colour and range of beautiful varieties. If you’ve been considering bringing this classic plant into your own garden, then you may be wondering: what are bare rooted roses? And is it better to buy bare root or potted roses?

Novalis Rosfnov 300x300 - Garden Express Australia

What’s the difference between bare root and potted roses? 

The immediate difference between bare root and potted roses is clear: potted roses arrive at your door with a fully-developed root system in a container. Bare root roses are more juvenile and arrive without soil around their less-established roots. 

There are several other key differences between the two options:

Potted Roses

Potted roses are available for shipping all year round and are supplied with potting mix. The plant should also have foliage on the stem already and, if you buy it in the summer months, can already be in bloom when it’s delivered.

All of these factors – their relative maturity, soil and included pot – make potted roses more expensive than bare root roses. They also come with an increased shipping cost, due to their larger size. You’ll also find there are less varieties of roses to choose from compared to bare root roses.

Bare Root Roses

Bare root roses are only available seasonally, as they’re taken from their soil during the plant’s winter dormancy, before it expends energy beginning to spread out its root structure. They’re delivered without foliage, flowers, soil or a pot, which makes them much easier to transport and contributes to them being cheaper overall than potted roses. They also come in a wider range of varieties. 

Bare root roses also travel slightly better than potted roses, remaining fresher during transit, but roses are a tough plant overall and neither potted or bare root roses are significantly more susceptible to damage while being delivered.

Brindabella Raspberry Tiger Rosbrti - Garden Express Australia

Which one is right for your garden?

Before being planted, bare root roses need a little bit of TLC to recover from their travels. Potted roses need to be well watered before planting to reduce transplant stress, and bare root roses need to have their roots soaked in water.

Assuming the varieties are the same or similar, there’s no long-term difference between a rose that was planted from a container or one that was planted with bare roots. The differences are major when they’re first planted, however.

Potted roses can be notoriously difficult to get properly established in your garden. This is because their root system is already fully developed by the time you introduce them to your soil, and the plant is no longer spending its energy on growing its roots and adapting to its environment. Instead, it has turned its focus to flowering. 

This means that potted roses will require considerably more initial care – watering, feeding, monitoring, etc. – to develop into a stable plant than a bare root rose planted at the same time.

This is because bare root roses were pulled from their initial soil before they could develop their root systems, and so all of their growth is directed towards acclimatising to their new surroundings. This does mean you have to wait longer before a bare root rose will flower – they are effectively a younger plant – but that they will establish very quickly in your garden with minimal effort.

The roses experts.

If you’re still having trouble deciding what is better – bare root or potted rosesand which roses are right for your garden, or have any other questions about growing roses, the team at Garden Express are here and happy to help. Give us a call on 1300 606 242, or fill out our online contact form at any time.

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