Why don’t these old roses bloom? – Orange County Register

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Q. Over the past few months, I have been redoing my garden, amending the soil, planting new plants, etc. There were several old rose bushes that I kept, but two of them are still putting out long, vigorous shoots and the bushes are not flowering. I can’t figure out what’s going on. Could it be because they have been neglected for a while, or were they previously in partial shade but are now in full sun? I don’t want to give up perfectly healthy plants, but I want them to flower if I want to keep them.

Almost all roses are grafted on hardy rootstocks. The scion (upper part) of the shrub produces these pretty flowers, but on their own roots they are fussy little princess plants. Grafting gives them some resistance to soil diseases and pests.

The rootstocks, especially “Dr. Huey” and “Odorata” tend to sucker, sending up long, vigorous branches that look different from the upper branches. “Dr. Huey’ is popular in California, where most roses are produced commercially. If you see long, vigorous branches sticking out from the bottom of your rose bush, especially if they have single-petalled red flowers, remove them before they overgrow the entire bush.

Sometimes the rose bush will die at the transplant and the rootstock will take over, leaving you with lots of happy-looking branches and no or very few flowers. Sometimes over-enthusiastic pruning will yield the same result.

Either way, if your rose bush looks healthy but isn’t producing flowers (or at least not the flowers you wanted), it might be time to dig them up and replace them.

Q. The leaves of my Tibouchina tree, which is only 5 feet tall, suddenly withered. We live in Orlando, Florida. I water it regularly. Ideas?

Tibouchinas are small trees or shrubs that bear beautiful purple flowers. They are popular in South Florida and do not tolerate frost or wind. They also don’t like full sun and prefer a semi-shaded spot. They only reach 15 feet but tend to have a sprawling habit unless pruned into a single trunk shape.

If you’re moving to Florida but miss some of California’s landscape trees, tibouchinas look like a mini version of jacarandas.

Usually, when a plant’s leaves suddenly wilt, it is due to excess water and/or poor drainage. Florida soil is very sandy, so drainage shouldn’t be the issue here.

If the tree is a recent planting, its roots may not have spread far enough to tolerate a particularly hot day or missed watering.

For my Florida readers (many are, no doubt, California transplants), check out the University of Florida Master Gardeners at the Florida Master Gardener Program – UF/IFAS Extension (ufl.edu).


Looking for more gardening tips? Here’s how to contact the Master Gardener program in your area.

Los Angeles County

[email protected]; 626-586-1988; http://celosangeles.ucanr.edu/UC_Master_Gardener_Program/

Orange County

[email protected]; 949-809-9760; http://mgorange.ucanr.edu/

Riverside County

[email protected]; 951-683-6491 ext. 231; https://ucanr.edu/sites/RiversideMG/

San Bernardino County

[email protected]; 909-387-2182; http://mgsb.ucanr.edu/

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