Peninsular Rose Club

Climbing Roses

by Orma Longphee

Did I hear you say that you have no room for one more rose?

Have you considered a climber? Now, the name is incorrect, for they do not climb – they GROW – from 6 feet to over 30 feet depending on the variety.

Roses don’t twine or put out tendrils like vines and ivys. So they require some form of support – up a pole, on a trellis, along a wire, up a tree, or along a fence – and some tying-in to get them started. It is preferable to encourage the plant to grow horizontally, for that position aid the production of laterals and therefore more blooms, as it is that laterals that produce the blooms.

It has been said that one good climber can produce more blooms than four good Hybrid Teas, so there are many advantages for growing a climbing rose.

The planting is that of any rose, except that if it is placed in front of a solid wall. The soil is probably poor along a wall, so will require some improvement first. The rose should be planted 24 inches away from the wall, and some form of support should be placed on the wall first – your choice of wire, trellis, string – just make sure it is strong enough to support a full-grown rose.

Do not prune the rose for approximately 2 – 3 years or until it begins to produce laterals. After that you prune each spring to 3 or 4 bud axils. You choose the direction you wish the new cane to grow – for some climbers can produce laterals as much as 4 – 5 feet – you must anticipate the possible spread.

Also, remember that every time you cut a rose, you are pruning – where will it grow next? Fun!

Now water it, feed it and enjoy!

In case you ask, some of my favourite climbing roses are:

Alberic Barbier – a very vigorous rambler – evergreen!
Compassion – Orange-pink, good perfume
High Hopes – light pink with perfect, long buds
Dublin Bay – a good red, long lasting when cut
Royal Sunset – apricot and very vigorous when grown horizontally

Happy Gardening, Orma

(Click on photo to see a larger version)

Alberic Barbier (photo © 2001 T.Inkpen)

Compassion (photo © 2003 J. Lee)

High Hopes (photo © 2001 T.Inkpen)

Dublin Bay, pegged over to horizontal (photo © 2003 T.Inkpen) Royal Sunset (photo © 2003 J. Lee) Royal Sunset (photo © 2003 J. Lee)


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