Rootstock Suppliers

Hello all,

Does anyone know a source for virus-free rootstocks i.e. Canina, Dr. Huey, etc. which sell small quantities? This is for use in Southern New England. I have used Steve Singer’s multiflora in the past, and this is exactly what I’m looking for, but it has been brought to my attention that multiflora is illegal in some states, including my neighboring state, Connecticut.


I’m thinking you should try Canadian suppliers to make sure you get seedlings that are hardy. J.C. Bakker sells multiflora seedlings. That doesn’t address your concerns about multiflora.



If you are not allowing your stock plants to set seed, then you shouldn’t stop using it, IMO. If you switch to Dr. Huey, you have to be VERY sure you are acquiring VID stock to avoid contaminating your roses with one or more viruses. Frankly, I dislike Dr. Huey for its habit of inevitably sending up shoots from below the soil. Once they start doing it, its impossible to stop and you have to start over with a new plant.

Alternatively, I could send you a few sticks of Ralph Moore’s Pink Clouds understock to try. Its a R. multiflora hybrid that roots like a weed and accepts almost anything you bud onto it. Its one downside is that it doesn’t “push” the scion as hard as some more vigorous rootstocks might, but I don’t generally find that to be an issue.


Multiflora is illegal in CT?! If they ever make it illegal here they’ll have to dig up half the state!

‘Pink Clouds’ was a dog in my area probably due to the sandiness and or alkaline conditions. Multiflora isn’t generally good here either, at least in the ground. Either will thrive in a container. I suppose either would thrive in the ground if one amended enough.

Multiflora should be your rootstock of choice. It loves the soils of southern New England (and I don’t see it talked about as being a coastal habitat problem, but it is a coastal plant that can even tolerate some salt…see the coastal area around Mystic Seaport.)

Being illegal may mean that one is no longer allowed to buy multiflora in bundles of ten to a hundred to plant as an alternative to barbed wire fencing. But for use as a rootstock, I don’t think I’ve seen rules forbidding that.


I agree that I should be using multiflora for Rhode Island. I have been using it for a few years, and it seems to be working just fine. The issue is that I’m starting a new project, where some of the plants I create could very easily end up in Connecticut, and Connecticut has a $100.00 per plant fine - see I don’t want/need any unwanted problems from the state of Connecticut.

I have located a souce for virus free Dr. Huey cuttings from the University of California Davis Foundation Plant Services -, but I am not a licensed nursery, so I don’t think if I will be able to get the cuttings from them. Also, my success rate at rooting cuttings is pretty bad.



If it was me then I would be using a multiflora hybrid or I would germinate my own multiflora hybrid seeds… Veilchenblau is an example of a multiflora hybrid that was used as an understock as well. It might be illegal to have straight multiflora but not one of its hybrids.

It might be illegal to have straight multiflora but not one of its hybrids.

IMHO the law reads as such. It’s one of those cases were good intentions have led to a bad law. What’s needed is repeal but I’d settle for having the legislature carve out an exception for rootstocks and hybrids, just to be on the safe side.

It shouldn’t be a problem getting them to do so as there are dozens of rare multiflora hybrids growing in our state’s premier rose garden - and no doubt millions of roses growing on multiflora rootstock throughout the state.


As I said in my previous post, I can get you some rooted sticks of Moore’s Pink Clouds if you want. Its the easiest rose in the world to root from cuttings and you can bud almost anything onto it. (I have often had sticks rooted and ready to bud onto in as little as ten days!) Its a R. multiflora HYBRID and as such shouldn’t be an issue as far as legal matters are concerned. It rarely sets seed anyway.


When and how much stock do you need? It’s getting late to stick plants for next season. It sounds like seedlings or hardwood sticks are your best shot for size and timing.

I’d try a call the Connecticut Agricultural Extension to ask if Multiflora rootstock is covered by the ban. You have nothing to lose. I agree that Hybrid Multiflora is almost certainly not covered. The statute describes species, not hybrids.

You don’t have to be a nursery to get bundles of hardwood rootstock sticks from the UC Davis Foundation Plant Service. The cost is very reasonable, even if you have to buy a whole bundle of sticks. The problem is that the order cutoff date of October 15 for November-early December delivery. Call them. With the lousy economy, there’s a chance they have stock available. The usual cuttings won’t produce large enough plants for budding in 2009. You need hardwood the size of my ring finger.

I promise that anyone can root a hardwood rootstock stick. The hardest part is debudding the sticks to remove all budeyes except the top two. Even I can do it after 30 seconds instruction. If you can bud, you can debud hardwood sticks. The most likely error is sticking them upside down (honest). I stick hardwood outside in the veggie garden. Virtually everything strikes.



Thank you for contacting Connecticut Department of Agriculture for me. I’m curious as to what their interpretation of the law is regarding this matter. I am trying to ask questions first, then act. Paul is also sending me some Pink Clouds (thank you Paul) when the weather warms up a little.

This is a project which I am trying to take very slowly. I will be needing some rootstock for this year, but only 20-25 pieces in 2009. I can use multiflora for the time being, but it would be better if I do bud all of the roses on something that Connecticut doesn’t have a problem with. Also, getting virus-free rootstock is very important. The bulk of the work of the project will be in 2010 and beyond.

I didn’t realize that UC Davis Foundation Plant Service allowed individuals to purchase rootstock from them. I will probably pursue that avenue as well this summer. I’m not set up right now to deal with them, if I were to get some. Do you know they sell budwood of named cultivars to individuals as well?


Andy - I have used Steve Singers (Wisconsin Roses) for years and the quality is great. He sells Virus Free Multiflora Rootstock - 25 count for $2o.00 shank diameter of 1/4 ". I live in northern Illinois where cold winters exist. Our budded roses fare very well on Steve rootstock. I was not aware of any laws regarding the sale of Multiflora.

Milford Clausen

I was not aware of any laws regarding the sale of Multiflora.

Connecticut is not unique. It is illegal to grow or sell in Illinois, too.


A list of places multiflora is regulated is maintained by the USDA.

Alabama: Class C noxious weed

Connecticut: Invasive, banned

Indiana: Permit required

Iowa: Secondary noxious weed -exception for rootstock

Kentucky: Noxious weed

Massachusetts: Prohibited

Missouri: Noxious weed - exception for rootstock

New Hampshire: Prohibited invasive Species

Pennsylvania: Noxious weed

South Dakota: Regulated non-native plant species

West Virginia: Noxious weed

Wisconsin: Nuisance weed

The list is out of date, as evidenced by the fact that Illinois is missing.


Massachusetts: Prohibited

New Hampshire: Prohibited invasive Species


I didn’t realize that Massachusetts and New Hampshire were on the prohibited list as well. That makes matters three times as bad. Do they have fines associated with the bans?



I don’t know if there are fines. The various state DEP websites would be the place to check.

The irony of all this is that the states and the federal government are responsible for multiflora becoming a pest in the first place. They heavily promoted its use as a soil stabilizer and windbreak in the 1930s.