Success with roses begins with a few guidelines for selecting plants:
• Choose healthy plants with a good root mass.
• Whether they're from a local nursery or a mailorder supplier, be sure your plants aren't infected by a virus. Virus-infected plants may have blooms with broken colors or a mosaic pattern of discoloration on the foliage.
• Ask what the supplier's guarantee is. Most will replace a plant within a year under various conditions.
• For bare-root roses, choose dormant, two-year-old, grade #1 roses with at least three vigorous canes.
• For potted roses, buy plants growing in a 2-gallon container or larger. Look for thick, sturdy, healthy canes, good leaf color, freedom from disease and insects, and an even, open plant structure. Check the root mass by gently removing the plant from its pot. Look for healthy, well-proportioned roots with thick, white roots at the ends.