Damaged Roses Sprouting from Roots

roses sprouting roots
If the main stem dies, the rootstock may sprout a different type of rose.

Sue asks, “I planted two roses in memory of my parents. Unfortunately, the tops were killed during our cold winter. This summer, they have begun sprouting again from the roots. Can these roses be saved?

The future of your roses depends on whether or not the roses were grafted. With the exception of some heirloom, shrub, and miniature roses; most rose varieties are not grown with their own roots. Instead, they are grafted onto the rootstock of tougher varieties. Take a look at your roses and see if you can find the graft bud – it will be a lump or scar right above the root ball, indicating where the two stems were fused together. If the roses were properly planted, it should be just above ground level.


If your roses are grafted, and the sprouts are coming from below the graft, then the sprouts aren’t the same type of rose. The most common root stock is from a red climbing rose called ‘Dr. Huey,’ which is likely what you’ll have if you let the sprouts grow. If the sprouts are coming from above the graft (or if your roses aren’t grafted), then your rose may indeed be making a comeback!

Hybrid roses do funny things when stressed, so you may not know exactly what has happened to your rose until it blooms again. You may end up with the rose you started with, or you may find that it has reverted to its parent variety (the one used to create the hybrid), or you may find that the rootstock has sprouted a whole different type of plant. Prepare to be surprised!

Before purchasing roses In the future, check to see if the variety is winter-hardy for your hardiness-and-heat-tolerance-understanding-your-zone/”>planting zone. If you’re worried about cold damage in your area, see our article on How To Winterize Roses.



  1. We had to replant a couple of our rose trees last spring, and since then I’ve been having problems with shooters coming from below ground. How do I fic this?

  2. Hi! I have removed and sealed the obvious sucker canes coming from the knot. Still, small sucker sprouts are growing like mad – and looking like new growth – on the small branches and canes from top to bottom on almost every rose bush. Is this unheard-of? (Hope not!)
    A new landscape company this year, and roses were badly pruned (before I could get to them). Also, I don’t know what fertilizer they are heaping around the roots; could that be a problem??

    • Hi, Paula,
      Gardening questions can be tricky since the rules can change based on the region. You didn’t include the location, so we suggest contacting your local Master Gardeners association.
      Master gardeners train on a range of topics so they can provide advice, at no charge, for people in their area.
      Thanks for your question, and good luck!


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