Here is one of the cuttings I planted last fall. It seems to have sprung pretty healthy roots. Notice the bottom growth and the large bud at the top. Those are pretty sure signs that this rose actually has roots. I can’t tell you how many times I watched green shoots like this stay green for months with no actual root development happening.
Starting the roses directly outside offers many advantages:
1. They grow a healthier root system in their permanent location and they are not subjected to the stress of relocation. If a rose found a specific soil favorable enough to sprout roots, it is much more likely that it will thrive in that location when fully grown.
2. They will be less subject to wilt because they have adapted slowly to the weather changes.
3. They have full sun exposure, which will significantly benefit them throughout their development.
4. You don’t have a sea of potted sticks with plastic covers on every well lit window sill for the entire winter.
5. They don’t mold.
6. They experience the winter dormancy cycle, which is natural for roses and therefore beneficial.
That being said, a few more pointers about new roses.
Don’t prune them the first year. Some people advise removing all the blooms to allow the plant to develop a strong branch, leaf and root structure and not expand energy for flowers. I never had the heart to do it, but I can believe this is good advice.
Give them some extra care the first year, make sure they have enough sunlight and water to stay healthy. Generally speaking own-root roses tend to be healthier and stronger than the grafted ones, but take a little longer to develop. Make sure that they don’t have fast growing annuals towering over them and taking up all the resources. Once they are two or three years old they are tall enough and this ceases to be a problem.
Stop worrying about how hard it is to grow roses, because it is not true. Roses are shrubs and require very little care once established. Of course, some varieties are sturdier than others.