Bare Roots of Rose BushesYour bare root roses not growing can get you worried especially if you have waited for many weeks. After considering factors such as temperature, disease or even dehydration, you may wonder the exact reason your plant is not growing.

Read this informative article to learn why your roses are not growing and how to fix them.

Why Are My Bare Root Roses Not Growing?

💥 Quick Answer

Common reasons why your bare root roses are not growing are exposure to low temperatures, dehydration, improper storage or transportation, not fertilizing at the proper time, presence of herbicides, soil pH problems and plant diseases. Your bare root rose may also not show signs of growth above the ground because it is still developing its roots.


Let us discuss each of these reasons so that you can find the exact cause of your bare root rose not growing.

– Your Bare Root Roses Are Developing Roots First

When you plant a bare root rose, the first growth that occurs will be in the roots. The roots will grow and spread to anchor firmly in the soil. If your plant is not showing signs of growth above the soil, it may likely be developing its roots first.

When the rose bush root system is properly developed, you should see new leaves growing in your bare root rose. This should not take more than three weeks so long as the temperature and other growing conditions are just right.

– Low Temperatures

If your plant is not growing, the first thing to consider is the temperature. What is the current season? Is the soil warm enough for plants to grow? Plants such as roses that go dormant in the winter season will not start growing until the temperature is warm enough.

Low temperatures act as a growth hormone inhibitor because the cold season also means cold soil and water. This means that if plants such as roses do not go dormant in such seasons, they may absorb very cold water that can damage their roots. This is why low temperatures activate dormancy in plants.

– Dehydration

Dehydration is another common reason why your bare root rose may not be growing. Due to the manner of storage, bare root roses do not get water for several months. This is why they might appear dry.

If you plant your bare root rose without properly hydrating it, the growth hormones will not activate and your plant might rot in the substrate. If your bare root roses look very dry and are not growing, they might be thirsting for water.

– Improper Storage or Transportation

The way and manner in which people and shops store bare root roses before planting can affect their growth in the next season. If you pack a lot of bare root roses together, you might damage their roots. Also, consider climatic factors when storing the plants.

Transportation can also affect your bare root roses. If you do not properly handle the plants, you might get damaged rose roots and they will fail to grow. Bare root roses may look hardy, but their roots are tender.

– Fertilizing Too Soon

Some people mistakenly add fertilizer to the substrate immediately after planting. While this is not bad, it can kill your plants if the amount of salts in the fertilizer is too much. Immediately you plant your bare root roses, they will absorb as much water as they can from the substrate.

If the substrate contains more salts than water, the plant can wilt and die. Too many salts in the substrate can cause your bare root roses to lose the little water in them and thus become more dehydrated. It is not a safe practice to fertilize bare root roses immediately after planting.

– Presence of Herbicides

An active ingredient in herbicides or weed killers, glyphosate is very harmful to plants. Herbicides can kill weeds, but will also kill roses if they are still in the soil. If you apply any herbicidal product in your garden, you should not plant bare root roses for a year so that you do not kill them.

– Planting in the Same Spot Where Another Rose Grew

Did you know that your bare root rose might not grow if you plant it on the same spot where another rose grew? that is why, to control their population, matured roses release some chemicals into the soil that can inhibit the growth of younger roses near them.

If a rose previously grew in the place where you want to plant your new bare root rose, it is best to wait a year or replace the substrate before planting the new rose.

– pH Problems

Roses prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6.5. If you plant your bare root rose in alkaline or very acidic soil, it may not grow and will die in a few days. You must check the soil pH before you plant your bare root roses so that you do not waste them.

– Disease

Diseases can also prevent your bare root roses from growing. Did you plant a rose in that spot previously? If you did, there is a possibility that some soil pathogens such as bacteria and fungi that attacked the plant may also attack your bare root roses.

Now you know many reasons why your bare root rose may not grow. Would you like to learn how to fix your bare root roses so that they can grow? Continue reading.


How To Fix it So They Can Start Growing

You should first know the exact cause of your bare root roses not growing. This is when you can know the best way to fix your plants. Here are some easy ways to fix your bare root roses:

– Confirm if the Bare Root Rose Will Grow or Not

The first thing you should do before trying to fix the bare root rose is to check if it still has signs of life or not. Use your fingers to snip off one to two inches from the branch bud. If the inside looks green and feels moist, it will grow as it may be developing its root region. If it looks brown and feels dry, the plant is wilting and may not grow.

You should patiently wait if your bare root rose has signs of life as it will grow. If, however, it is still taking too long for leaves to grow, you should fix it with the tips below.

– Activate Your Bare Root Rose

One common trick gardeners use to activate their bare root rose is to dip it in tepid water for up to 24 hours. Soak bare root roses for six hours at least. This process can give your bare root roses enough water and also expose the roots to a suitable temperature. It helps to get a rose to root.

The plant should grow quickly after planting it as you have activated it by yourself and do not need to wait for nature to do it for you.

– Plant in Early Spring

Remember that you need to consider the temperature (growth starts then). Even if you dipped the plant in tepid water, the temperature of the soil can still inhibit the growth if it is still cold. You should plant your bare root rose when the soil is getting warmer in early spring. 

Furthermore, you do not have to wait until mid or late spring before planting the bare root rose. Do not plant it in winter or when the soil is still cold.

– Prune off Damaged Roots or Stems

If your bare root rose is not growing, you should gently take it off the substrate and inspect the rooting system. If you can find damaged roots, prune them off as the plant may be losing energy through fighting diseases.

Damaged roots will look brown or darker than other healthy roots. Carefully examine the entire root system. After pruning off damaged roots, rinse the root system with clean and running water.

– Expose Some Parts of the Roots

Sometimes, your bare root rose may have buds below the ground surface. If you can see buds growing below the graft, it means that the plant may be growing suckers. If the bud appears above the graft, it is normal growth.

In this case, expose the parts of the root (above the graft) with buds so that leaves or branches can grow from there.

– Amend the Soil

The best substrate to plant a bare root rose is a substrate that is rich in organic matter such as compost and rotted manure. These materials do not burn plants, instead, they provide necessary nutrients for the plants to grow.

If your soil nutrient is depleted, you should amend it with organic matter two or three weeks before introducing the plant. Do not fertilize the soil with inorganic fertilizer immediately after planting your bare root rose.

After trying out the tips above, your bare root rose should show signs of growth in less than two weeks.


How do I know if my Bare Root Rose is alive?

To check if a Bare Root Rose is alive, look for green healthy stems and buds, and prune any dead parts. Soak the roots in water for 24 hours before planting to rehydrate them.

Will my Bare Root Rose flower in the first year?

It may or may not flower, but make sure to provide proper care such as sunlight, water, and nutrients for the best chance of blooms.

What kind of soil does the Bare Root Rose favor?

Bare Root Roses prefer well-draining soil with plenty of organic matter and a pH level between 6.0-6.5. Amend soil with compost if necessary.


We believe that you are now fully capable of fixing your bare root roses. To help you remember what you have learned, here are some essential points to take home:

  • Low temperature acts as a growth inhibitor in bare root roses, so you should wait until the temperature is warming up before planting your roses.
  • To check if your bare root rose has traces of life or not, snip 1-2 inches off a branch and check its color inside.
  • Use rich organic matter such as compost to amend the soil before planting your bare root rose.
  • To activate your bare root rose to start growing, soak it in tepid water for 6-24 hours.
  • Examine the root system of your bare root roses for damaged roots and prune off every damaged root.

What do you think is the exact reason your bare root rose is not growing? Come back to this article for proper investigation.

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