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Need help with a newly ordered rose that looks like RRD

Hi folks

I appreciate your help talking me down from the ledges recently on roses bought locally that looked suspicious. I freely admit that I am leery of RRD and seeing it in places I wouldn't think to look, so your wisdom is welcome. At this point I'm no longer objective so I need better eyes than mine.

I got the following rose in the mail last night and opened up the boxes but didn't look at them closely till today. The first rose in particular just looks wrong to me. I know that rose canes can get twisted in transit but the bent cane is soft and rubbery and twisted at least 90 degrees around from straight almost going flat in the middle of the curve of the cane.

I tried to capture the twist a little better here but the cane is behind another cane at this angle - it's the fuzzy looking image that's the pale green cane.

Here's the whole plant

I don't mind it being defoliated - it has been crowded in a hot box for several days. It's the twist and the rubbery cane and the unnatural curl that worries me.

Of course one I looked at that one, then I looked at the rest. At least 2 other roses look iffy, with a similar pattern. This one has an unnaturally curled cane that can't be from being crunched in a box since the upper canes are fine. Not only is the cane curled in an S shape, the leaves are bright red. Yes, I know that new growth is red and it's fine usually, but the bright red against the yellow cane looks just icky. Presumably the new growth is a basal cane and if it grew and was trapped in the box longer than a few days it could be yellow because of no sunlight. Still, I don't like the shape and the floppiness.

Here's the whole plant - a mini if you believe it, fully 3 feet tall and as high as my grill.

One last plant caught my eye once I started looking. It has that same weird curled cane that doesn't look like from the packing process. Normally this wouldn't worry me but I can't recall seeing things like this on mail order roses (these are from a good and familiar vendor) and I've ordered LOTS of roses over the years.

The whole plant

I realize this may just be a reaction to the shipping and packing but I'm needing to be extra cautious now that I have roses back in my yard. These three are staying quarantined from each other and the rest of my pot ghetto until I'm satisfied they're OK. If they're not OK, I wonder about the other roses closely packed with them since I have no idea which roses were in which box.

Thanks for your input folks! I promise not to post too often on these subjects but this needed opinions from wiser eyes than mine.


Comments (6)

  • 29 days ago
    last modified: 29 days ago

    Beloved friend Cynthia,

    Come down off the ledge! Get some Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, snack away, find a cool spot and just daydream a bit about your favorite things.

    Those roses had a rough shipment in 90-100°F weather. Even though their soil may be moist, the tops got zapped by intense heat and in darkness too. The fresh newer growth was the most victimized by shipping conditions.

    You know your grower is 100% reliable (I think I know who it is.). They would rather shave their heads, fast a whole week without food or water, and wear sackcloth than ship RRV infected bushes.

    You are experiencing the same kind of angst I have concerning the dreaded Midge Fly. I am obsessed about spraying ON SCHEDULE because this is the first year out of the last four that the tides have turned in my favor in my battle against my, 'Moby Dick.'

    Those roses show no intense spination, congested stem growth, nor that sick translucent red glow. The stems in question are just over stressed. Those bushes, under your care, will thrive and bring you years of joy. God love you my friend, and give you peace.


    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked Moses, Pitt PA, cold W & hot-humid S, z5
  • 29 days ago

    I have zero experience of RRD since we have so far escaped it in Europe, but I would agree totally with Moses that they are just stressed plants, most evident in the newest growth. Those flattened, twisted, ridged canes I have seen before in potted roses through the mail, and it 100% couldn’t have been RRD with mine. Those canes tend to die off because the cell walls are basically giving up, so I would just prune back to plump, healthy growth and nurture them as you would normally.

    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked NollieSpainZ9
  • 29 days ago

    Your concern was well expressed. I don’t see the specifics of it addressed by the responses so far. It would be nice if saying it’s not rrd would make it so.

    Continue each rose’s quarantine with twice daily assessment. No pruning for now. That’s the most prudent course.

    Since you are here: Thank you for your recommendation of Garden Delight several years back. I got one based on it. The rose, a BR on multiflora, went sideways for a few years. It even came down with florid witches broom on a single cane 22 months ago, with no stigmata elsewhere. I cut that cane, and have been watching it closely since then. No recurrence. This spring it finally developed into the bush you described. The blooms are beautiful and very long lasting.

    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked rifis (zone 6b-7a NJ)
  • 29 days ago

    This looks like soft new growth that got twisted due to tight confines - quite possibly in the nursery itself and not during shipping given the amount of growth - and is further stressed due to the hot weather we are having. Apart from the growth being rubbery (which is normal for stressed new growth) none of the key RRD markers are there that I can see.

    For peace of mind a quarantine in a shady spot can’t hurt while they sort themselves out but I would not worry unduely unless you see other RRD markers over the coming days.

    nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska thanked Heather RR (PNW 8b)
  • 29 days ago

    Thank you all for your insights and opinions! None of us have the ability to absolutely state what this is or isn't, but knowing that this kind of pattern is within the scope of normal growth and stress from travel eases my mind considerably. You're right Moses that this has become my white whale and I'm having to adjust my usual approach to gardening. I'm an optimist by nature and by choice, so I spent at least 3-4 years in my yard going "it will be fine" to increasingly disturbing growth that was indeed RRD. At least 70 roses shriveled into a twisted wreck and another 70 were showing all the classic symptoms before I finally stopped being optimistic and realized I'd let it infect my whole yard. So I have to counteract my usual optimism. I can't quite manage pessimism, but I am resolving to maintain a skepticism that I hope is a healthy balance. Friends like all of you help with that balance and support!

    Nollie, I'm so glad RRD hasn't made it to Spain and I hope it never will. It really helped to hear that the twisted growth can be a response to travel and heat stress from your experience.

    Heather, thanks for checking the other signs of RRD and chiming in about your own mail order experiences. I agree with you and Rifls that a quarantine can't hurt and I have a convenient way to do so until I'm satisfied they're OK. I've been planting roses like mad since late March so a little breather is a good thing, particularly since it's going to be over 100 tomorrow.

    Rifls, I appreciate your healthy skepticism and reminders to check the roses' progress. Glad the information was clear even if the photos weren't necessarily. I'm so glad that Garden Delight worked out well for you! I absolutely love that rose and am waiting with baited breath for Palatine to offer it again (along with Ascot, Augusta Louise, Acropolis and dozens of others). It's great that it shook off any disturbing symptoms and has grown into the glorious bloomer it can be. That was sadly one of my roses that had unmistakable symptoms all over and it seemed to hit my strongest and highest growing roses first. Makes sense if it drops from higher surfaces like trees in the mites carried on the wind.

    And Moses, dear Moses, you are always the best encourager. Don't have any Reece's Peanut Butter Cups, but I did already have a Reece's Take Five mini that was calling my name so I hope that suffices. I knew that the vendor is highly ethical about their roses so it wasn't about them, it was about easing my own anxieties. I like the list of abnormal characteristics that remind me of the really bad stuff to watch out for. And sympathies on the midge! We don't have much if any of that, so I count my blessings. Way fewer Japanese beetle grubs in the soil than usual too so it may be a light year that way too.

    BTW Moses, what on earth were you doing awake at 3 am your time? I'm a night owl but that's late even for me. I hope with all the procedures you've been through you're able to sleep soundly. Bless you for your help and concern and do get some rest too.

    Thank you everyone! Back to a usual level of vigilance and some judicious quarantine for observation.