The Q&A Archives: climbing roses

Question: my roses have grown tall. I did not cut them back. If I cut back now, will they become fuller. Can I root the cuttings

Answer: The pruning method depends upon the type of climber you are growing. Once-blooming roses blooms gloriously, but only once a year and they usually bloom on wood from the previous year. Prune these roses right after flowering is finished. If the plant produced many canes, remove several of the oldest and weakest canes to the bud union. If only a few canes were produced, cut them back to several feet above the ground. Train these canes horizontally to your fence, wire or trellis. Winter pruning
of these roses should be kept to only removing suckers coming from below the bud union, twiggy and dead growth, and leaves and rose hips (seed pods). Untie and rearrange canes into as horizontal a position as possible. (You can often tell if a climber blooms only once because many of the once-blooming roses have very flexible canes and small flowers borne in clusters.)

Repeat-blooming climbers that are arranged horizontally on arbors, trellises or fences can bloom for many years on the same older canes. Eventually, if the roses decline in vigor, allow new canes to grow and replace the old ones. Repeat-blooming climbers are pruned in the winter or very early spring when the plants are dormant. Remove all suckers coming from below the bud union. Remove all dead or twiggy growth extending from the bud union. Cut all the flowering laterals that rise from the horizontal growing canes back to 2 or 3 buds. Remove all remaining leaves. Untie canes and reposition them on their support into as horizontal a position as possible.

You can root the cuttings. Here's how: Use regular potting soil and fill each pot to within 1" from the upper rim. Take your cuttings from the top two or three feet of this year?s growth. You can start them anytime. But, if you take them late in the season, you?ll need room inside to keep your plants until they can be set out in the spring.

After taking off the top 2" or 3" of the cane, make 6" to 10" cuttings. Remove the lower leaves from each cutting, leaving only two groups of leaflets on each stem. Dip the bottom of each cutting in the rooting hormone and set the cuttings in mixture so they are covered at least half way up each stem.

Put enough stakes around the outside of the pot, then cover the pots with clear plastic to create a greenhouse effect.

Put the pots in a warm, well-lit place away from direct sunlight. When you notice new growth (usually in one to two months), the roses have formed roots and you can remove the plastic and grow the new roses in a shaded place for at least two to three weeks before transplanting into the garden. Feed your new plants with a water-soluble liquid fertilizer and take care not to let the roots dry out completely.

They should begin to grow vigorously produce new canes during their second season. The next year you will be able to enjoy a wall or fence or doorway covered with blooms that will rival any nursery-grown stock.

« Click to go to the homepage

» Ask a question of your own

Q&A Library Searching Tips

  • When singular and plural spellings differ, as in peony and peonies, try both.
  • Search terms are not case sensitive.

Today's site banner is by ge1836 and is called "Sempervivum Henry Carrevon"