How to Grow Climbing Roses

Climbing roses
Climbing roses (Image:

Climbing roses are such a beautiful addition to any building or garden. Their greenery and fragrant blossoms are amazingly attractive and the robustness of most vines make them easy to grow. You can train them to grow up and over an arbor, or up a house side trellis. The varieties are seemingly endless and the availability is now worldwide with easy mailing and delivery. You can easily get them started if you know a few things about what roses like.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Support system

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Prepare the soil. Since climbing roses can grow to amazing lengths, the size of the actual plants becomes huge and all the nutrients for the huge plant come from the soil at its base. Roses like firm soil, often found around clay, but need drainage as well. So, the goal is to have rich, solid, well-drained soil in a sunny area.

Provide a good support system. It is best to do this before the plant gets very big or you will be pounding stakes into the roots. There are attractive trellises that can be mounted on the sunny side of your house or arbors that are anchored into the ground with concrete. If you have a steep slope that faces the southern sky, you can encourage roses to climb up the surface.

Prune and train the canes to grow along the support system. You will have to tie them off when they are young so they can bend, otherwise they will become hard and stiff. There are many varieties of climbers and therefore different methods of pruning, but basically, roses will bloom on one-year-old to three-year-old wood. You can either let your plant run rampant, which will shorten its life, or prune it to keep it within boundaries and removing old wood as it grows.

Watch for bugs. Roses are especially liked by aphids, plant lice and June bugs, among others, as well as certain fungi and mildews. If you spray your plant until it is coated with a soap/oil emulsion spray, it will reduce the numbers of the aphids and plant lice. A milk/water spray (1:10) applied over the leaves will prevent powdery mildew and other fungi. Both of these methods will need to be redone after a good rain. Handpick June bugs and apply nematodes to your soil.

Attract birds around your roses to help with insect protection by hanging bird feeders or houses close to your roses. You will not only control bugs but will increase activity around the roses, adding to the interest of your yard.

Fertilize your roses with organic products like cottonseed meal or alfalfa meal. In the spring, spread 1 gallon of the fertilizer on the ground at the base of the plant. Mulch over it to provide a great food source for your climbing rose plant.

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