Most man-made hybrid roses can be wonderful plants to own whether you just want to enjoy them in your own garden or you are an avid exhibitor.  However, they lack one very important characteristic.  On their own, they don’t produce strong, viable root systems and their natural roots are susceptible to disease and pests. Without a robust root system, a plant can't absorb the nutrients and water it needs to produce food for “growing”. The bigger and more vigorous the root system is, the more food it can transfer to the plant - the more food and water the plant gets, the faster it will grow.

Since the 19th century, rose growers have
known that the solution to the weak root system of the rose is to graft roses onto a sturdy root system. This supplies better nutrition to the rose bush so it can grow to its full potential. The preferred rootstock of most commercial producers has long been a variety called "Dr. Huey." It is chosen for its ease of grafting and because it thrives in Southern California where the large, commercial US rose producers raise their product.

However, in much of the South, roses will not grow well on Dr. Huey rootstock and within a few years, bushes so grafted start to decline. This is why Walt Disney World, Epcot, Bush Gardens, Sea World, Cypress Gardens and many others in the South use Fortuniana rootstock roses. The Fortuniana Rose is a natural hybrid apparently developed from the two species roses, Rosa Laevigata ,"The Cherokee Rose" and Rosa Banksia, "Lady Bank's Rose." Both of these varieties, as well as Fortuniana, thrive in the southern climate and sandy soils. Fortuniana rootstock not only allows the rose to grow faster, it will also greatly increases the plant’s vigor and the size of its blooms.

Because of these attributes of greater vigor and production, roses grafted onto Fortuniana rootstock have become "the Exhibitor's Choice" to produce more competitive exhibition specimens. Seeing the success of roses on this rootstock in the South, many exhibitors from all parts of the country are now using Fortuniana grafted bushes to give them the competitive edge. While Fortuniana is not as cold hardy as Dr. Huey, it has proven viable with protection as far north as Pennsylvania. If serious rose gardening is your interest, start with Fortuniana rootstock roses, water and fertilize on schedule, and spray weekly. The Fortuniana rootstock will do the rest of the work by giving you huge bushes and an abundance of spectacular blooms year round.

 

NOTE:

After extensive testing of many varieties of roses for their performance as a rootstock, researchers at the University of Florida concluded that Fortuniana is more resistant to Gall, Nematodes, and stem dieback.  Fortuniana is also more resistant to root diseases such as Pythium, Phytophtora and Rhyzoctonia. In fact, no other rootstock, whether a natural hybrid or one created in the lab, can compare to the qualities found in the Fortuniana rootstock.

Fortuniana rootstock not only produces more disease and insect resistant plants, but also much bigger bushes and flowers. It will also live and produce years longer than any other rootstock. In fact, the University Of Florida does not even recommend a second choice in comparison to Fortuniana!  Enough said!

 


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