Roses: Climbers and ramblers FAQs

How should I train a climbing or rambling rose?

Use climbers rather than ramblers on walls: lack of air circulation there will encourage mildew on ramblers, which are more prone to this disease than climbers. Tie in your climber to horizontal wires about 450 mm (18 in) apart that are stretched between vine eyes driven into the brickwork; the wires should be about 75 mm (3 in) away from the wall surface. Train the shoots along the wires (never straight upwards); this will encourage flowering shoots to form low down and along their entire length, not just at the ends. When growing a rambler or a climber on a pillar, again do not take the shoots straight up, but bend them around the pillar in a spiral before tying them in; this, too, will encourage side shoots.

How can I make a rambler or climber grow up a tree?

This is one of the loveliest ways of growing them, but you must choose a variety with really long shoots. Plant the rose at least 1-1.2 m (3-4 ft) away from the trunk: the farther away the better, since there will be less competition for food from the tree roots and the soil will be less dry. Train the rose canes towards the tree along poles or strong canes. Once it reaches the lower branches the rose will hook its thorns into and over them and ramble upwards with very little further help. Plant on the windward side of the tree if possible: the long shoots will then be blown into, rather than away from, the tree. Suitably vigorous are ‘Alberic Barbier’, ‘Albertine’, ‘Felicite et Perpetue’, The Garland’ and ‘Wedding Day’ among the ramblers; and ‘Climbing Cecile Brunner’, ‘Lawrence Johnston’, and ‘Paul’s Scarlet Climber’ among the climbers.

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