Climbing roses


Climbing roses reaching across an arbor or creeping up a wall can be eye-catchers, making climbing roses an excellent focal point in the garden. Roses are susceptible to disease so when choosing climbers for your garden, look for disease resistant varieties. 

Victorian beginning

Climbing roses were very popular back in the Victorian era. The roses bedecked arbors, fences, pergolas and were trained to wrap around wire pillars. Unlike flowering vines with their tendrils that grasp to a trellis or side of a house, climbing roses have to be secured to structures with strong cord or wire. The cane of some climbing roses, like Westland, may grow as little as seven feet, while climbing roses like, Climbing Cecile Brunner, can reach lengths of 20 to 30 feet. 

Uses for climbing roses

Climbing roses can be grown up, down and across a fence to add beauty and scent, and to deter people from climbing the fence. A vertical or horizontal trellis secured to the house, garage or shed and covered with climbing roses provides a beautiful focal point. An arbor heavily laden with blooming roses beckons visitors to pass through its archway. Climbing roses trained to grow over a pergola will provide shade. Privacy can be achieved on an open porch by growing roses on lattice installed on the side of the porch facing the neighbors or vehicle and foot traffic.

Growing climbers

Plant climbing roses in an area where they will get full sun or least five hours of sunshine. Follow the planting directions on the bareroot, or bagged or potted plant that you purchase. As climbing roses grow, the base of the cane near the ground will become woody, with little to no leaves. By planting low to mid-height plants in front of the rose, you can hide the bare cane. For the healthiest roses, fertilize two to three times from early spring to late summer. In the spring, you can either prune the cane back to about three feet above ground or just thin out cane that is dead, damaged or growing the wrong direction. 

Climbing roses will need winter protection if planted in northern states where the winter temperature remains below zero for more than two weeks. In those frigid areas, the cane needs to be removed from the structure, laid on the ground and covered with six inches of soil and two inches of mulch. Most areas of the Unitized States, however, do not have to take this extreme measure.

Rose diseases

Two common diseases of roses, both a fungus, are black spot and powdery mildew. Black spot shows literally as small black spots on the leaves of roses. Caused by hours of continuous moisture, black spot may be avoided by giving the rose more airflow through removal of tall or wide nearby plants or relocating the rose to another location. Powdery mildew is a grayish-white fungus that can affect leaves or buds of roses. Powdery mildew can be caused by humidity, particularly high humidity at night.

Disease resistant climbing roses

Not wanting to deal with fungal infections of roses has led gardeners to buy disease resistant climbing roses. Disease resistant roses are less likely to contract fungal infection and if they do, the damage will not be as overwhelming (fewer leaves will fall for example) as a fungal disease infection on other roses. 

Some varieties of disease resistant climbing roses include Aloha, America, Darlow’s Enigma (rambler), Portlandia and William Baffin.

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Rose photo from sxc.hu.