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 All started with a tiny Succulent! 

Hello, I'm Jian and I live in North Carolina, but I'm originally from China. In 2017, I started a love affair with plants. It began innocently enough with a few succulents sitting on the windowsill. By the end of the year, I had three shelves completely full of succulents. After collecting succulents for two years, I began collecting mums. In total I collected about 80 different mum varieties. However, I felt they were too short-lived and didn't have a scent. I fell in love with roses after that. It's so dangerous! My husband has called me a "plant addict." I think I might be one. I find myself not buying clothes or make-up anymore, but spending tons of money on roses, pots, soil, fertilizer, and medications.


I started a rose lover group where we talk about roses, buy roses together, learn how to care for them, how to classify them, how to graft, how to propagate.


Besides Roses, I also love Hydrangea, especially Japanese Hydrangeas. They have lovely double petals which I adore. Clematis, Eucalyptus, bougainvillea, tree peonies, lotus, water lilies... the list goes on.....

Over the past few years, my back yard has looked more and more like a nursery. I started selling extra plants on Facebook to make some money to buy fertilizer. After a couple sales, I realized that I really enjoyed it. I have made tons of plant friends online and we chat about plants very often.

In 2021, we registered our nursery "My Black Thumb". As you can guess, I killed tons of plants because I did not know how to take care of them at the beginning. This name reminds me of the moment when I started loving plants and never give up.


At the moment, I am the only one doing everything. My husband has been very helpful in digging holes, carrying soil, moving pots, building trellises, and designing the rose garden with me. My website, I typed it with one hand (my right hand was injured at the time). I will try my best to add more information as I learn more about website design.


Your support for this small family business newbie is greatly appreciated, and I am open to suggestions.



What is a Rose Sucker and how to remove them?


Roses are one of the most beautiful and beloved flowers in the world. They are often used to adorn gardens and landscapes, as well as to express love and affection. However, caring for roses can be a bit complicated, especially when it comes to dealing with rose suckers. In this article, we’ll explore what a rose sucker is, what a grafted rose bush is, the three types of rose suckers, why you should remove rose suckers, and the correct and incorrect ways of removing rose suckers.


What is a rose sucker?

A rose sucker is shoot that grows from the rootstock of a grafted rose bush. These shoots are often vigorous and fast-growing, but they do not produce the same type of flowers as the desired plant. Instead, they produce flowers that are smaller, less fragrant, and of lower quality. Additionally, rose suckers can weaken the grafted plant, causing it to be less healthy and more susceptible to diseases, and in the worst case, death.


What is a grafted rose bush?

A grafted rose bush is created by taking a cutting from one rose plant and grafting it into the rootstock of another rose plant. The rootstock is usually a hardy and disease-resistant plant that can provide the necessary nutrients and support for the desired rose plant to grow. The resulting grafted plant combines the desirable qualities of the cutting with the rootstock’s hardiness and disease resistance.


Rose suckers can be classified into three main types: off-root suckers, above-ground suckers, and below-ground suckers:

  1. Off-root suckers, also known as basal or crown suckers, emerge from the base of the rose plant, where the stem meets the rootstock. These suckers grow directly from the rootstock and are the most common type of sucker. They can appear quite far away from the main plant and can be quite vigorous, growing quickly and taking over the entire plant if left uncontrolled. Off-root suckers are the easiest type of sucker to remove, and it is recommended to remove them as soon as they appear.

  2. Above-ground suckers, also known as stem or trunk suckers, grow from the stem of the rose plant. These suckers can be found growing directly from the stem or from the branches of the plant. Above-ground suckers are often thicker and harder to remove than off-root suckers, and if left unchecked, they can develop into large woody stems that can weaken the plant. To remove above-ground suckers, it is recommended to cut them off as close to the stem or branch as possible.

  3. Below-ground suckers, also known as root suckers, emerge from the root system of the rose plant. These suckers can be found growing underground or just below the surface of the soil. Below-ground suckers can be difficult to detect as they can emerge some distance away from the main plant. These suckers are the most challenging to remove as they require digging up the soil around the plant to access the root system. It is essential to remove below-ground suckers as they can develop into a new plant an eventually take over the main plant.


Why should you remove rose suckers?

As mentioned earlier, rose suckers can weaken the grafted plant, cause it to be less healthy, and produce lower-quality blooms. Additionally, if left unchecked, suckers can take over the entire plant and eventually kill it. Removing suckers can also improve the overall appearance of the plant and help it to produce larger and more vibrant flowers.


How do you remove rose suckers?

The incorrect way to remove a rose sucker is to simply snap it off or cut it off above the point of origin. This can leave a small piece of the sucker behind, which can then grow back into a new sucker. Removing rose suckers correctly is essential to ensure the health and vitality over your rose bush. Here are the steps for correctly removing rose suckers:

  1. Identify the sucker: Before removing the sucker, you need to make sure that you have correctly identified it. Look for shoots that are growing from the base of the plant, stem, or branches that are not part of the desired rose plant.

  2. Trace the sucker: Once you have identified the sucker, carefully trace it back to its point of origin. It is essential to remove the entire sucker, including the part that is growing from the rootstock, to prevent it from growing back.

  3. Use sharp tools: Using sharp tools such as pruning shears or a sharp knife, make a clean cut as close to the rootstock as possible. Avoid using dull tools as they can damage the plant tissue and make it more susceptible to disease. You may also twist and pull to remove the sucker using gardening gloves.

  4. Remove the sucker completely: After making the cut, remove the sucker entirely from the plant. Do not leave any part of the sucker behind, as it can grow back into a new sucker. You may have to seal the wound using a tree wound sealer to prevent disease.

  5. Dispose of the sucker: It is essential to dispose of the sucker properly to prevent it from growing elsewhere. Do not compost rose suckers, as they can still produce roots and grow into new plants.

  6. Monitor the plant: After removing the sucker, monitor the plant for new growth. If you notice any new suckers, remove them promptly using the same technique.


By following these steps, you can effectively remove rose suckers and help your rose bush grow healthily. Rose suckers can be a nuisance for rose growers, but they can be managed with the right techniques. Understanding what a rose sucker is, what a grafted rose bush is, and the three types of rose suckers is crucial for effective sucker removal. Removing rose suckers correctly will help your rose bushes to be healthier, produce better flowers, and have a longer lifespan.

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Happy Gardening! 

I have to admit that I don't like handling the business part of My Black Thumb Nursery, but I do enjoy propagating and garden work. I also enjoy chatting with other plant lovers. When customers share picture to me showing off their "babies" growing new leaves, flower buds, and roots, it makes me feel so happy! 

Rose on the Left: Neptune King Terrazza Climbing Rose. It will be available in Spring, 2024.

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