How to: Rescue & repot supermarket roses

by Lala

I’m such a sucker for roses, especially unusual ones that are striped, have different hues or striking colors like purple. I know it is not the best idea to buy supermarket potted roses because they are never named and usually are not meant to last long. However given the proper care you can enjoy supermarket potted roses for years.

The pink rose in the picture was actually purple when I bought it in December 2014, while shopping for Christmas decorations at Checkers. They had dyed the flowers somehow, to be purple. So unethical! It was a bit sickly under the store’s artificial light, and probably had no feeding. I took care of it and it thrived and continued to bloom.

After I bought the rose and enjoyed it indoors for a few weeks, I took it outside because roses need a good 8 hours of sunshine. The reason most of the gifted, potted supermarket roses wither away is that they are kept indoors. Roses are not house plants. But I pretty much neglected the plant after it bloomed indoors. I left it to fend for itself outdoors. Despite a snapped branch and some sunburnt leaves, the little plant kept putting out new growth. There were at least three separate plants in the pot.

Checkers supermarket rose late summer
Above: As you can see, no name to this rose. It cost that much because it came with a pretty ceramic pot.

I hoped for more purple roses, but later in the season they were a deep red. Then in late winter, while the plant was dormant I took the roses out of the original small pot and planted them in a much bigger pot. Two or three had survived.

My growing medium for repotting supermarket roses:
1/2 Potting soil,
1/6 Compost,
1/6 Peat,
1/6 Perlite,

I added a handful of organic Bounce Back fertilizer pellets too. Adding a mulch like pine bark chips is a good idea to conserve water. For the first few days keep the plant well watered to ensure the roots don’t dry out. Some gardeners suggest soaking the roots in water before planting out, but I prefer to keep the root ball and some of the original soil intact. Try not to repot during the heat of the day.

I’ve been rewarded by these striking, deep pink, but sadly unscented blooms. It seems that pink is the natural color and Checkers’ supplier used a dye to make the roses purple as a gimmick. Well it worked on me and others because this was the last one on display.

But I’m happy with the pink beauty it turned into. It is thriving in its new pot and hardly seems like the same plant. The blooms are still minis, about the same diameter as a can of Coke. I really like that it is long stemmed, meaning I can use them in bouquets for the house or my desk at the office.

Repotted Checkers supermarket rose

I fell in love with another potted rose from a supermarket again this year. In August just before Women’s Day here in South Africa (9 August), I came across this striped mini rose in Woolworths. Like Checkers, Woolies does not name these potted roses, although strangely enough they do provide the varietal names of their cut roses. I already have several bushes of striped, full sized Rock n Roll roses (red and white), and a Red Intuition (deep red with deep pink striped). The thought of the smaller version of my striped obsession in the house and later by the pool on our patio was too lovely to resist.

This is the rose when I bought it, in its little (very little) plastic pot, with a hessian bag and raffia bow. When I looked closer and watered it, I discovered no less than five (5!) separate plants in there.

Striped Woolworths woollies rose

Due to work and studies, I left this beauty in its pot much longer than I should have. The plants began to suffer and die back a bit. However one of them gave me hope by putting out a bud last week. I decided this survivor needed a better home, so over the weekend I repotted it the same as I did with the “purple” one. I added pine bark chips as mulch.

Here it is repotted and not looking too good. I repotted it at midday which wasn’t a good idea. It is better to transplant early in the morning or in the late afternoon when it’s cooler. I know in a matter of weeks this plant will have settled in and put out new leaves, with hopefully some buds too.

Striped Woolies roses repotted outdoors

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