Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Thorny Surprise March 1, 2010

Filed under: oddities,pruning — greenwalks @ 12:42 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Conventional wisdom has it that we should prune back rose canes around the time daffodils bloom, right? Well, spring came early to Seattle this year and I am way behind the earth’s pushed-forward clock already. Finally got around to pruning back my sad neglected roses last week even though at least some daffodils have been doing their thing for a while now.

While I was hacking away, I found this one really weird cane that was covered in a huge profusion of deep-red thorns. The rest of the canes were nothing like this.

Freaky rose cane covered with thorns

Does anyone know what would cause the plant to produce something so odd? I almost left it, but it was 5′ tall and right in front of our living room windows, so I reluctantly chopped it down and put it in the yard waste with the rest of the clippings. Ah, the wacky and wonderful world of plants!


16 Responses to “Thorny Surprise”

  1. Who knows? But it does look like one of those things that pops up now and then, is deemed desirable, and some enterprising soul breeds for it. I find it oddly wonderful, and just think! it might have been named for you!

  2. Bonnie Story Says:

    Hi!! My guess is that the root stock has got a sprout up – as opposed to the fancier blooming part of the rose, which is grafted on to the tougher root stock. Root stock usually tends to bloom as just a single (flat) rose in red color. So maybe that’s what it was – I think you did the right thing. Root stock sprouts just take energy away from the more desirable grafted top part.

    Thanks so much for being in touch about Sagbutt!! I had the highest hopes of coming out for that, but a dear friend here in Quilcene was very seriously injured and a group of us have banded together to care for her, and that has been my heart’s focus of late. Good news is she’s doing really well.

    This spring is looking like a great one already – hopefully the slugs won’t take advantage of us this year with so few hard freezes. I need to stock up on Sluggo!

    Thanks again Karen, I really appreciate it and look forward to meeting you!!! Cheers, Bonnie

  3. Jane Says:

    I have seen this occasionally, and like Bonny, I assumed it was the root stock sprouting. But often, root stock canes look weedy and weak and quite obviously not the grafted rose. That cane looks amazingly robust. I think I would have been tempted to only cut it to the height of the other canes so as to see whether it brought forth the specimen rose!

  4. Catherine Says:

    I guess that’s why they use it as rootstock and not for the actual flowering part. It’s scary! 🙂
    Our Spring chores are coming at us quickly this year aren’t they?!

  5. mothernaturesgarden Says:

    It is from the rootstock if below the graft.

  6. If all Roses had thorns like that I might actually grow them!

  7. The thorns are strangely beautiful; aren’t they? But my first thought was “root stock.” And it’s good you pruned it away, if so, because those bits do take away from the loveliness of what you intended to plant there…

  8. Grace Says:

    Yes, I would agree with your others that it is likely a sprout from the root stock. If you’re really curious you could find out by digging down to where the sprout attaches to the root. If it’s below the bud graft, the pudgy thing, then you know it’s root stock. If it is above the graft then you’ve got a real anomaly. It looks like the thorny Rosa rugosa.

    It is refreshing to have an early spring for a change isn’t it? It seems like it’s been years.

  9. Megan Says:

    I like the big thorns! I sort of hope they take over the whole plant.

  10. Darla Says:

    It’s a beautiful cane for sure! We normally prune our roses on or around Valentines day.

  11. Georgia Says:

    Looks like a Dr. Seuss plant.

  12. jean Says:

    Wow. I love it!

  13. I am clueless when it comes to roses, so I’m afraid I can’t help you. I think it looks kind of cool, though.

  14. Melanthia Says:

    Nice job on the photo, btw! Looks like you got your answer (I wouldn’t have known that. But I agree it’s a very cool shot.

  15. Matron Says:

    Sucker!!! not being rude.. but it’s a sucker. Shoots growing up from the rootstock sometimes revert to their wild form. It is lovely but it has more vigour than your scion , so chop it off!

  16. Hi Karen, I wonder why the consciousness of the root stock sprouts would be so thorny… it is it’s nature I guess. I am always fascinated by how plants morph into different shapes… thorns are for protection so this fellow was only trying to protect itself… worked against it though. Plants are amazingly interesting! ;>) Carol

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