Encouraging Second Bloom on Old Roses - Knowledgebase Question

Norfolk, VA
Question by kabney
November 6, 1997
I have an old-fashoned climbing rose that has likely been growing in my yard since before I was born. It is very vigorous and has huge canes at the base. I am not sure of the variety, but it is a very pale pink with a nice fragrance.

I understand that many old rose varieties will rebloom in the fall -- in addition to their usual spring or early summer bloom period. Is there anything I can do to encourage mine to bloom twice? I have been deadheading; should I also be pruning in any special way?


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Answer from NGA
November 6, 1997

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There are several types of climbing roses with various bloom patterns. Some older types of climbing roses -- the "ramblers" -- produce a profusion of relatively small blooms all at once, usually starting in early summer. This show might last amonth or so, then blooming is over for the season.

Another group of roses is the large-flowered climbers. These generally have flowers over 2" in diameter, and bloom for a longer period but much less profusely than the ramblers. Some varieties of large-flowered climbers bloom continuously over the growing season; others bloom once in early summer and have a second flowering later in the season.

There are also climbing hybrid teas, climbing floribundas, and pillar roses. Generally, genetics determines whether a rose bush will bloom just once or will repeat bloom in the fall. Removing hips will help encourage a repeat bloomer to put more energy into the second bloom, but it won't force a one-time bloomer to put out more flowers.

Keep your bush adequately pruned and fertilized, and it will fall into its natural blooming pattern.

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