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How to Support Climbing Roses

a rose image by alri from

Climbing roses are different than climbing vines in that they do not have tendrils that attach the canes to supports. Climbing or rambling roses are not true climbers, however, they carry the name because they grow very long canes; some ramblers will grow branches that are 20 feet long. These canes can be attached to supports or allowed to grow as a ground cover. The most common supports for these roses are arbors and trellises, but they can also be grown up a wall or attached to a fence.

Install supports before planting the rose plant to avoid damaging the roots. Allow the rose canes to grow long enough to attach to the support. Do not prune the canes for the first two years.

Tie the can to an arbor or trellis with cotton string or strips of fabric about 8 to 10 inches long. Tie the string tightly around the support, then wrap around the rose cane and tie loosely to the support.

Attach a trellis or metal pegs to a wall or privacy fence with a 3-inch gap between the support and the wall or fence. This will give the plant enough ventilation to prevent damage or disease. Then tie the canes to the trellis or pegs.

Place one cane to the left of the support, one to the right and another straight up to keep them from crossing. As each new cane grows long enough to reach the support, tie it in a vacant area.

Prune re-blooming climbers in the winter or very early spring to shape the plant or keep it in bounds. Cut back plants that only bloom once a season right after the roses die off. Cut off dead, damaged or diseased canes anytime.

Care Of Climbing Roses

Climbing roses are a great way to add new dimension--and height--to your yard or garden. Although some of their requirements are similar, many things are different. In general, lighter colored climbing roses will be more tolerant to shade the darker-colored roses. Amend clay and sandy soils with compost, manure, mulch or peat moss. Apply about 1/2-cup to the soil. During the summer, apply a foliar spray of diluted liquid fertilizer (50 percent strength) every 3 to 4 weeks up until 6 weeks before the first frost is expected. Support climbing roses by tying the canes to a trellis, frame or similar structure. Tie them loosely with string, soft cloth or plastic. If possible, allow your roses to grow horizontally, than vertically, as they will produce more flowers. Protect climbing roses in the winter if you live in an area where temperatures frequently get and stay below freezing.

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