Transplanted rose

Asked January 1, 2017, 4:20 PM EST

A friend's father died and needed to sell the house.
In August they dug up the rose (an heirloom shrub rose) and carefully transplanted it to a close location in Louisiana.
The rose survived.
Two days ago they dug the rose up and potted it and brought it to Ohio.
The rose still has leaves but is not in bloom.

How should they care for the rose? Note, in this part of Ohio our last freeze is mid May.

I know what they did is not ideal.
Should they water minimally and store in a cool room with light? Should they prune back the plant?

Also, should they try to take cuttings?

Athens County Ohio roses horticulture

1 Response

This is a very interesting question with lots of sub-plots. Let me give you as clear an answer as I can without going overboard.
The best way to handle this rose now is to place it in an unheated garage or some place similar for the winter months. I would make sure it is watered before being placed in its winter space, but little to no watering is then required before spring. Also, wait to do any pruning, because pruning will stimulate new growth and you want the rose to rest for the next couple months. In the unheated garage the temperature should stay above freezing for most times unless we should get some extreme freezing weather and even that should not adversely effect the rose. Also, light should not be an issue in the garage since the rose will be basically dormant. You should see most, if not all the remaining leaves die off and drop over time.
Around the end of February you will probably notice some growth beginning. Usually, if the weather is cooperating and the ground is not frozen, the rose can be planted in its permanent location in early March. Also, that is the time when it should be fertilized and pruned. Prune out any dead canes, crossing canes and try to open up the middle of the plant as much as possible. If it still quite cold, place some mulch around the base of the plant to keep it from heaving out of the ground during late-winter temperature swings.
A couple final points. When identifying the permanent planting location, make sure it is in an open area that gets good air circulation and gets as close to full sun as possible. Last point and maybe the most important: roses, like most perennials do have planting zones that determine their hardiness and survivability. Not knowing the name of the rose, I cannot tell you for sure whether this rose will survive winters this far north or not. If you do not know the name of the rose, which would not be unusual in an older rose bush, I would give it a little TLC for a year or two to help it survive. Basically, you can do that by applying a good layer of mulch around the base of the plant in late fall to help it through the winter, which you remove once the weather stabilizes in spring.
Lastly, you mentioned cuttings. If you want to do that, I would make sure the plant is winter hardy this far north for a couple years and then take cuttings if you still want to do that.
Hopefully, the rose will survive the winter and flourish in our climate. It may take a while getting acclimated or it may take right off and thrive.
Good luck and standard rose care should give it the best chance of thriving in our climate.