Training Climbing Roses: Thank you for the ideas on training roses.

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Training Climbing Roses

By zuzu
May 23, 2013

Climbing roses produce colorful vertical accents in your gardening landscape, create a frame for the fenced portions of your garden, and are particularly valuable to space-challenged gardeners, producing a huge impact while taking up only a little room on the ground.

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Name: Caroline Scott
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CarolineScott
May 22, 2013 6:13 PM CST
I never knew there were these different ways of training roses.
Thank you for a clear description and pictures of different ways of doing this.
I learned something!
Name: Sharon
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Sharon
May 22, 2013 6:46 PM CST
Beautiful and very well written article, Zuzu.
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Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
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Joannabanana
May 22, 2013 7:23 PM CST
Great article Zuzu!! I really enjoyed it and now know some new terminology.
Name: Porkpal
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porkpal
May 22, 2013 8:12 PM CST
Great article and photos, Zuzu. It is inspiring me to get some of my climbers under control.
Porkpal
Name: Zuzu
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zuzu
May 23, 2013 12:38 AM CST

Plants Admin

Thanks, everyone, for the kind words. Smiling

Porkpal, I'm working on getting some of mine under control this week. Some of my pillar roses need to be wrapped more tightly. We've been having some windy weather and the canes are flailing in all directions.
Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
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goldfinch4
May 23, 2013 1:43 AM CST
Great information and beautiful pictures. Love the fence with the pretty glass piece in the second picture!
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Name: Stephanie
Salem, OR (Zone 8b)
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kosk0025
May 23, 2013 2:51 AM CST
Great article! Thanks, Zuzu! All photos are gorgeous.

I studied the last picture---from Creative Commons---trying to figure out the growth along the very top of that tall fence. It's so lush and thick up there---there almost looks like there are two planters up there at the top also planted with the roses to help get the growth so lush along the top? How many total roses do you think are used to achieve this look? At least 7 at the base, and (maybe?) two in planters at the very top? Trying to figure it out---it's so amazing and must have taken years to achieve!
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[Last edited by kosk0025 - May 23, 2013 2:52 AM (+)]
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Name: Stephanie
Salem, OR (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Garden Ideas: Level 1
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kosk0025
May 23, 2013 2:55 AM CST
The more I look at it, the less I think there are planters at the top. Just very long climbers. I am trying to train a rose along a very, very tall double wide arbor (built tall so that a truck could drive under it, almost like a ranch entrance). I'm concerned my rose will never get that tall (zephirine drouhin). Any tips on coaxing height rather than lushness at the base? Thanks
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Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
May 23, 2013 7:33 AM CST
Very interesting article, Zuzu! I've admired some climbing roses, but was never sure just how to manage them. I could get in trouble with this...... Whistling
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Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
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Joannabanana
May 23, 2013 7:53 AM CST
One year I looped the canes of my John Cabot rose. It certainly produced a different look when it bloomed. I will look for a photo of it looped in early spring, before it leafed out
[Last edited by Joannabanana - May 23, 2013 11:40 AM (+)]
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Name: Denice
Kwajalein, Marshall Islands
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valleysdaughter
May 23, 2013 9:13 AM CST
Thanks for this article. You have been a valuable resource for my Lady Banks roses. The pictures are before and after retrellising mine with the help of valleylynn Hurray!
In these befores you can see that they had placed the trellis in front of the roses and the wire was too small so you couldn't get in there to prune or train the vines so they were totally out of control
Thumb of 2013-05-23/valleysdaughter/98fd5d
Thumb of 2013-05-23/valleysdaughter/78e0af
this is our after. We put in stock fence trellis and radically trimmed them as a lot of old wood hadn't been cut properly and the canes were not trimmed correctly either. Now they can be properly trained. I will try to post some after photos as they fill in.
Thumb of 2013-05-23/valleysdaughter/139dd6
Thumb of 2013-05-23/valleysdaughter/ba531f
Thanks for all the great information Thumbs up
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
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chelle
May 23, 2013 3:09 PM CST
Great article, Zuzu! Thumbs up Thank you!



Here's my first attempt.

Thumb of 2013-05-23/chelle/ffa06e Thumb of 2013-05-23/chelle/78973b

I can definitely see how the horizontal positioning produces more flowering shoots. I'm still confused about what I've read elsewhere about the necessity of removing old canes. My question is: will I eventually need to remove the main vertical structural canes, or can they remain forever? If I wrap new canes around the old ones they'll have to stay, won't they?



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Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
May 23, 2013 4:11 PM CST

Plants Admin

I only remove dead wood, Chelle. Everything else gets to live. Smiling I love that arbor (or pergola?)!

Denice, that's such an ambitious project. I've never even tried to control my Lady Banks roses. I just let them grow across the garage roof and up the tall trees.

I love the idea of looping canes, Joanne. It could make such an impressive architectural statement. If you find the photo, please post it in this thread.

Stephanie, I can see at least four or five main trunks at the bottom. Nothing extra at the top. I suspect that rose is a rambler, which wouldn't need much coaxing to climb very high and would tend to bloom at the bottom even without any horizontal growth. I used to have lots of ramblers, but all of them suffered from powdery mildew and were unsightly for months on end every year, so I've now replaced all but one with more modern roses.

As for your question about coaxing height rather than lushness at the base, I guess you could just disregard everything I say in this article. Hilarious! Seriously, though, I've never found Zephirine Drouhin to be a very tall rose. I have two and they've never climbed above 10-12 feet. I guess if I wanted to encourage only vertical growth, I'd secure all of the canes to the arbor and cut away any canes that are stubbornly determined to grow outward. I'd deadhead the blooms at the top, but I wouldn't prune the top.

Thanks, Chris. I love my fence too. I have a lot of stained glass in my garden. The fence in front has the iris panels and the fence in back has stained glass cat panels. The side fences have a variety of stained glass designs.
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
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chelle
May 23, 2013 4:41 PM CST
Thanks a bunch, Zuzu! Whew, that advice makes me feel very relieved indeed!


OT, but today I was tickled to see a robin's nest up there amongst the blooms. Big Grin
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Name: Becky
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beckygardener
May 25, 2013 8:02 AM CST
ZuZu - I received my weekly email update. The minute I saw the article about climbing roses, I had to check out your article. Training roses seems like an art form to me.

I have two arbors which I have climbing roses growing on. I have several issues currently. First let me tell you that I have the roses growing in small containers. (10-15 gallon plastic containers.) I do that for 2 reasons: 1) Because of a root knot nematode situation in my ground soil. 2) To try to keep these climbers in bounds.

My first climber is on a wooden arbor. The name of the those 2 climbers is "Climbing Cramoisi Superieur". I have one on each side in 10 gallon containers. I believe it is an Asian rose cultivar. I have Rosemoor Clematis also growing in the container and it grows and blooms every year as it climbs up the rose stalks. I do realize I have too much growing in a very confined container. But so far they have survived for several years. I imagine this rose cultivar would be huge if not in the containers. The main problem I have with this climber is that often the blooms don't fully open in summer. They bloom beautifully during the cooler months including Winter. I suspect it is the heat of summer and the container soil not able to stay moist enough which causes the blooms to wilt before they ever open. Any suggestions? Should I put something in front of each container to shade it? I also like the idea of training some branches horizontal. I have the white picket fence that I could do that on for this cultivar. I only have lower horizontal branches on one plant. How do I encourage branches to sprout on the main stems of the other rose climber?

Climbing Cramoisi Superieur (which I have to prune several times a year at the top):

Thumb of 2013-05-25/beckygardener/d72ff2

Lower horizontal branches on the south climber. The green leaves you see at the bottom are clematis leaves.:

Thumb of 2013-05-25/beckygardener/34ad22

No lower branches on the north climber. Green leaves at the bottom of this plant are also clematis leaves.:

Thumb of 2013-05-25/beckygardener/c822aa

The other arbor is a cattle panel arbor that I have 2 "Old Blush" Climbing roses growing up. They are each in 15 gallon containers. They also do better during the cooler months, including winter! This one seems to have topped off before actually meeting at the top. I don't know if I need to prune it at the top to encourage more growth or what. I use cut up nylon stockings to tie the branches to the arbors.

Climbing Old Blush:

Thumb of 2013-05-25/beckygardener/68e3bc

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
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[Last edited by beckygardener - May 25, 2013 8:13 AM (+)]
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Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
May 25, 2013 12:35 PM CST

Plants Admin

Hi, Becky. I know about Florida's root knot nematode problem. You're smart to grow these in containers. They might not last long in the ground.

Both of these climbers are China roses, which are tolerant of humidity, but Cramoisi Superieur has globular blooms and they might not open all the way during prolonged periods of heat and humidity. If the Clematis isn't suffering, the soil in the container is moist enough, so the frequency of watering isn't the problem. I think you just have to resign yourself to a less attractive summer flush on the Cramoisie climber because of the bloom shape.

Instead of pruning the long canes at the top, you could pull some of them over and secure them to the picket fence. That would encourage blooming at the bottom of the roses.

As for the two Old Blush climbers, they look very close to meeting at the top. Another year or two could be all that they need. I wouldn't prune them at the top, but I would secure those canes to the top of the arch instead of letting them grow upward. If you do prune the top, do it with a very light hand, taking off no more than an inch or two. Otherwise, you'll stimulate bushier growth below instead of vertical growth.
Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
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zuzu
May 25, 2013 12:40 PM CST

Plants Admin

I forgot to say what a lovely scene you've captured in the Old Blush photo. Everything in it looks wonderful -- the house, the plants, and the hardscape. Everything's in perfect harmony.
Name: Stephanie
Salem, OR (Zone 8b)
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kosk0025
May 25, 2013 9:34 PM CST
Thank you, zuzu!!!!
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Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
May 25, 2013 10:39 PM CST
ZuZu - It hadn't occurred to me that the CC roses were globular shaped blooms. Many petals, too. That makes sense! Thank you for your insight and advice. The stalks are very rigid and hard to bend once they get a certain thickness. I don't know if I can bend any of the ones on the right side down along the fence. I'll have to check the different stems and see if any are flexible enough to try that. It would look nice to have them growing along the picket fence. I decided to check the pots today and noticed that the CC rose containers won't move now. I am wondering if some feeder roots have grown through the drain holes at the bottom of the containers.

How does the bushiness at the top of the white wooden arbor look? Should I prune the CC rose differently? As they grow, they tend to drape down and will get quite long. I have to prune them back to keep from getting snagged by the thorns as I walk close to the arbor.

I will take your advice and tie the Old Blush stems/branches down at the top of the arbor.

One last question ... what do you suggest I fertilize them with since they are growing in the containers instead of the ground?

Thanks so much for your great advice! You wrote a wonderful article that I am sure has been very helpful to anyone who loves to grow climbing roses!
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Name: Zuzu
Northern California (Zone 9a)
Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Region: California Cat Lover Roses
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zuzu
May 26, 2013 12:12 PM CST

Plants Admin

New growth on the Cramoisi Superieur should be quite flexible, so if worse comes to worst and you can't bend any of the canes, you could try cutting a few down to a point below fence level and training the new growth horizontally along the fence.

If the roots have gone through the drain holes, you're facing a couple of possible hazards. One is that the nematodes could start attacking those roots. As far as I know, there's no way to fight the nematodes other than planting roses grafted onto Fortuniana rootstock, which doesn't appeal to them or is immune to them. Another danger is that the roots could plug up those drain holes and water could collect in the containers. If this happens, you'll have to drill some holes in the sides of the containers, close to the bottom.

I'm an advocate of little or no pruning, but canes that attack people certainly should be pruned. Smiling

As for the fertilizer, I think you should ask that question in the Rose Forum. I've never fertilized my roses. I've never had the time to do it and I fortunately have soil that's good enough not to demand it.

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