Climbing Roses

Lewiston, ME(Zone 5a)

I'm new to perennial gardening. Almost accidentally, I built a raised bed in my small urban yard this summer. By accidentally, I mean I didn't set out to build one, it just kind of happened as I putzed around the yard doing this and that. So, with a new raised bed that cost a lot of sweat and back aches, I had to fill it. I have what I hope will be a nice plot next year. Next spring I would like to make a climbing rose the center of the bed, but rose growing seems intimidating. I have an area plotted out that's 4 feet wide along an 8' fence. Any suggestions on whether this is enough space and climbing rose varieties that are novice-friendly? It'll be flanked by irises. The soil is well-amended with compost and loam. It get's clay-ey about a foot down but drains well. The area gets about 6-10 hours of hard sun a day depending on the time of year. I'm in Zone 5

Thank you very much

(Zone 7a)

Roses are more forgiving than you'd think. I have several I adore. Golden Showers is a lovely yellow climber. I also have Betty Boop, red with white centers, and a miniature, Barbie.

What colors do you like or would like there?

This message was edited Oct 10, 2011 8:22 PM

Chardon, OH

Hi future rosarian,

I too live in zone 5 and have grown exhibition tea roses for years. You have ideal conditions for roses.

You can go to your local Extension office and ask a Master Gardener Volunteer for info on growing roses is your area. They will have a local university research website where you can get reliable info.

Look for varieties that are continuous bloomers or rebloomers, otherwise they will only get a single flush of flowers in June then quit for the year. Also it is very important to get varieties that are rust and black spot resistant. These are soil viruses you can't get rid of but can make a plant defoliate and even die.

Make sure the roses are zone 5 or 4, grown in Canada. Research the varieties -don't depend on what is in the garden centers as best for your area. Only 1-2" from graft to roots. If more than 2" roots will be too deep. Plant with the graft 2" below the soil. Try Weeks (brand) Roses.

Buy "Roses for Dummies" - good basic beginners book. Will also suggest fool proof varieties.


Lewiston, ME(Zone 5a)

Thanks for your answers. I originally leaned toward a traditional deep red, but the fence they'll be against is stained redwood, so deep red might not be such a good choice. It's easier to decide what colors I don't care for: solid white and yellows. Any other color is in play. Rather than color, I'm interested in a climbing rose that's forgiving.

Is it wise to buy from a reputable mail-order dealer, or should I stick to local greenhouses? And what is the best time to plant roses in Zone 5?

Again, thanks.

(Zone 7a)

I try to stick to local growers. That way you know where they come from and that they'll be hardy for your area.

This message was edited Oct 12, 2011 9:45 PM

Marshalltown, IA(Zone 5a)

I too, am in zone 5. I also am new to for my first climbing rose, I chose John Davis. It is a beautiful soft pink. It is supposed to be very winter hardy, and disease resistant.... so we will see. I planted it in the last part of May.

I bought the rose on line....and did notice that while it did not bloom this year, there was quite a bit of growth, and I have started gently training it to the fence using old panty hose. I have heard that it can take 2-3 years for some climber to bloom.

I plan on mulching it well when we get our first hard freeze, so we will see what happens come spring....good luck.

KC Metro area, MO(Zone 6a)

A couple good online places to buy roses are Palatines and Pickering. Both are in Canada but ship to the U.S.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

I agree with Kwanjin entirely, Roses are NOT as complicated as people new to the think they are, they are like any other plant / shrub, you need to learn what there needs are.
Once you prepare your soil with lots of manure, compost, bought plant feed or whatever your type of soil requires added to it, then you just set about choosing the rose, and for climbing you make the frame etc for it to be tied to and trained right from the start.
if the Rose is planted in the middle of bed, make sure you have a stepping stone beside it so you can stand with ease and prune, deadhead or spray, whatever the plant needs, I have seen some poor sights of Roses that can't be reached, therefore they are sorely neglected, so preparation is best done before you put your plants into the soil.
As mentioned, there are more types of Roses as there are hot dinners so you need to order some catalogs of Rose growers to show you the different types there are available for your area, what the needs are and the treatment if any, colour, perpetual flowering, once a year flower, then there is type of flower like double, single, colour of foliage, disease resistant, what size you want as in how tall you want the rose to grow to.
but thats about the same kind of question you should be asking with almost ALL climbing plants. All the catalogs should tell you when and how to prune and with good pair of snippers that are sharp, you cant go wrong, you can enjoy your Rose for many years to come, I know people who have had their climbers planted when their kids were born and they are onto grand-kids now, so it cant be difficult and if it was, I would not be growing them as I like things that almost look out for themselves with a little help from me.
Just go for it Ajhall, after several months you will soon know if things are going wrong and you have time to fix it. Enjoy and good luck. WeeNel.

Decatur, MS(Zone 7b)

The biggest problem I have had with roses is buying the plant and it ending up being a completely different rose that it was labeled to be. I am a novice gardener and have had success with all of the fifteen bushes I have planted in the last few years. They are much more forgiving than people think they are. I am in zone 7, but most of my plants bloom from March-November each year. I love having something in my beds that's green in the winter.

Athens, PA

All the roses I have purchased have been through Pickering Nurseries. I think the fact they are located in Canada is an extra bonus for people in our cooler zones. I have had great luck with their roses and if I were to buy more, they would be my go to rose nursery.

AJ - one thing - in our zone, make sure you cover the bud union with soil for the winter. This is imperative for our zone.

Let us know what you choose.

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