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Fortuniana Rootstock Preferred for Lowcountry Gardens

By Mary Beth Martin

Over the past 10 years, serious rose gardeners across the Southeast have found that roses grafted onto Fortuniana rootstock are ideal for our sandy soil and mild climate.

The long fibrous root system of Fortuniana is quite vigorous, and as a result, it can transfer more nutrients to the plant. The more food the rose receives, the faster it grows. The size of the blooms is also increased.

According to a 1996 article published in The American Rose, Fortuniana is highly resistant to nematodes and also to gall, stem dieback and root diseases such as pythium, phophtora and rhysoctonia.

Jim Mills, owner of K&M Nursery, is one of the largest producers of roses on Fortuniana. He offers these tips for planting roses on Fortuniana roots:

  • Plant fortuniana roses the same depth as they are in the pot.
  • Stake and tie the rose to prevent it from rocking in the wind.
  • Do not prune the bushes as severely as you do other grafted HTs and floribundas.
  • Water the bushes more frequently as they have a larger root system than other grafted rootstocks.

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P.O. Box 31893, Charleston, SC 29417-1893