We moved into our home in December (NJ - zone 7a). The old owners planted a lot of flowering bushes in our backyard. There are also 3 kordana rose bushes planted in 7” pots. They look pretty dead to me (brown stems, brown dried up leaves) but when I bend a piece of the stem it bends, doesn’t snap off. Does this mean the plant is still alive? Will it grow back if it wasn’t cared for and left out all winter? I’m just wondering if I should give it more time or plant something else in the pots. Thanks :) Also, I will probably have a lot more questions since this is my very first house and I’ve never planted or grown anything in my life!
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
The Kordana roses are hardy miniature rosebushes. Many times they are given as gifts in 6 inch or smaller pots from florists and grocery stores. There can be up to 6 of the rosebushes crammed into one 6 inch pot, which is done for the effect of fullness and awesome blooms coverage. However once done blooming I recommend separating the bushes into larger pots and perhaps two to a pot. From your photo, it looks like the bushes have been re-potted, which is good. They are remarkably hardy, so if the canes bend or flex but do not snap off, then there is hope that they are still alive. I would lightly prune them just to shape them up a bit. This gives them the message that it is time to start growing. Then water them with some water that has both a product called Super Thrive and some root stimulator in the same water. The super thrive helps them with any forms of shock they may be experiencing and the root stimulator helps get the root system going well. You can use the same mix for watering in all new and transplanted plantings as well. I would also recommend buying a moisture meter with a nice long probe end on it. Then you can push it down into the dirt in the pots and tell for sure when they are dry and need watering. Also, any pots for plantings need to have drain holes in the bottoms so that water does not build up and rot the roots. Feel free to ask questions, we enjoy helping you enjoy your gardening. :)
Prune off all dead wood as low as you can. The pith or inside of the canes should be slightly off white, not tan or brown. A visible thin green ring just under the bark indicates life! Be careful while you work as new canes sometimes emerge from the underside, right at the base of what appears to be a dead cane. Another strategy is to remove the plant from the pot and look at the roots. Healthy roots are firm yet pliable. What I don't know is whether Kordana is grafted or grown on its own roots. If grafted and only roots show signs of life, it may sprout entirely different canes and flowers. Plants in pots need to be protected from freezing and thawing cycles in winter. They also need to be watered enough to keep roots from drying out. Ceramic planters are subject to cracking from freeze and thaw cycles.