Suckers Sprouting from Apothecary Rose
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Katrina Mestancik
Posted on: March 10, 2008

Last spring, I planted my apothecary rose in it’s most probable permanent home. Late last year and already this year, I noticed that the original planting has most definitely expanded. What I mean by this is that it would seem that this rose is a bit of a runner. I wasn’t aware that roses did this. And then, while I was getting all the technical information about my species of rose from your website, I read the little blurb above the various cultivars about how all your roses are grafted. This would lead me to believe that when I planted it, I planted it too deep and covered the original graft. My question now is, what can I do about this? I assume that the runners won’t come true to type. Have I destroyed my apothecary rose? Please help! It is desperately needed as my apothecary is one of my favourites in my yard -- it somehow reminds me of simpler times -- and I would hate to have lost it.

We asked professional rose grower, Joel Schraven, to comment on what happened and what you should do. Here is his answer:

"She hasn’t "lost" her rose if she planted it deep. It’s better to plant nice and deep. Apothecary rose isn’t a rampant grower-spreader, even on its own root. It makes and remains a fairly contained bush. She likely has some suckers coming from the root stock. We use Rosa laxa (grown from seed) as understock for the gallicas. We have found that when gallicas are budded on multiflora they can be brittle and their growth habit gets a bit lanky, spoiling their appearance. Apothecary rose is a fairly slow growing variety on its own root and the R. laxa allows it to retain its natural growth habit.

"I would advise her to dig and remove the suckers as close to the original plant as possible, at the root preferably. Eventually the apothecary rose will develop its own root system and the buried understock will die.

"As an aside, the R. laxa is a fairly attractive low shrub. It has 2" single pale pink blooms with blue-green foliage, if she’s inclined to attempt to save any of the suckers."

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