HA! No such thing. But if you want to make sure you don’t buy something like
and wind up with something like
Be sure the roses you buy are “own root,” which means just what it sounds like it means. If these roses freeze to the ground, any new shoots they send up will be just like the parent plant.
Own root was once the rule, but it hasn’t been for a long time, so unless the tag says otherwise, you can assume that the rose you’re buying is a grafted plant made of two roses: the big flowered beauty you see on top, and a fast growing, hardy, adaptable something else providing the roots underneath.
Frequently, the else underneath is a climber named Dr. Huey, introduced in 1920 and still going strong.
He’s vigorous; he withstands frost; nematodes bother him not. He’s just down there waiting for the prima donna on his head to freeze or falter – or for the gardener to fail to notice that those healthy-looking new shoots do not look quite right.
Given his chance, Dr. Huey makes long thin canes that climb 8 to 10 feet if given support. Unsupported, they arch and tangle into a mounding shrub. The open blooms are a rich dark red to purple red and there are a lot of them – for about 3 weeks in late spring.
To see Dr. Huey in person almost anywhere in America, just look in places where fancy roses may have come to grief: in cemeteries, in older, established neighborhoods with front gardens, near farmhouses that have lost their farms to housing developments.
To avoid seeing Dr. Huey in your own garden, look for roses that have no choice but to be themselves or perish. Even mainstream suppliers like Jackson and Perkins are getting on the own root bandwagon, so own root roses are easier and easier to find.