Dia Bettencourt is a Master Gardener who enjoys writing about and practicing the art of gardening.

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Climbing Roses
by Dia Bettencourt       #Flowers   #Pink   #Red   #Roses   #Yellow

Some climbing rose growers cultivate Rosa ‘Dortmund’ for its winter interest
as well as flowers. The hips on this rose are bright orange and plentiful.

Climbing roses create a color impact like no other plant can. When these beauties are in full flower, the colors and fragrances are staggering. It is no wonder that climbing roses rank among the most popular of all of the vining type plants available today.

Climbers are particularly useful growing on arbors, fences, pillars, trellises and espaliered against walls or around windows. Some varieties are exceptionally robust and inclined to be rampant in growth. These more aggressive varieties require ample room and adequate support. When choosing a climbing rose for a small area, select a variety that is not apt to outgrow the location it is planted in.

Unique traits exist amongst each of the climbing rose choices available today. Many bloom profusely but only once a year. Others continue to produce an abundance of blossoms even after their peak has passed. Most climbing roses are extremely hardy.

Flowers of climbing roses may be single, semi-double or fully double and come in a fabulous array of colors and sizes. Climbing roses require full sun, but there are a few that will even flower in mottled sunlight (though not as much as if they were planted in more sun).


Thornless Lady Banks

Yellow Lady Banks (Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’) blooms in early spring for three or four weeks, and puts on a show that is well worth the annual anticipation.

One of the most spectacular climbing roses is Lady Banks. This spectacular rose performs very well in the Southeastern regions of the United States with little care. Although yellow (Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’) and white (R. banksiae ‘Alba Plena’) forms exist, the yellow flowering cultivar is the more beautiful of the two, if you ask me. Both are extremely disease resistant.

Yellow Lady Banks rose grows very large and can be trained up a tree or over a high wall or balcony for a dramatic impact in early spring. For three to four weeks, yellow Lady Banks is blanketed with slightly fragrant flowers. The thornless foliage is willowlike and attractive year round. In more Northern regions, the plant is semi-evergreen. Because it grows fast, it is best to plant Lady Banks in a spot where it will have plenty of room. Long shoots that are easy to train as well as being a thornless rose make Lady Banks queen of the spring garden.

Cut back Lady Banks after blooming to control plant size if necessary or desired. Just know that this plant flowers on second and third year wood, so prune it carefully. Although this rose prefers well-drained soil rich in organic matter, it will actually do quite well in poorer soil or locations with only six hours of sun. In addition to disease resistance, insect pests rarely bother Lady Banks. This plant’s gorgeous and spectacular display of double-clustered yellow blooms makes it well worth planting.


Brilliant Rosa ‘Don Juan’

‘Don Juan’ rose is one of the most popular climbers in our region. Its large, red velvet blooms make excellent cut flowers and it blooms continuously all summer. Excellent as a pillar rose, ‘Don Juan’ is also lovely growing on arbors or against a white fence.

One of the most popular roses in the South is ‘Don Juan’. Large, ruffled, red velvety double flowers cover this repeat blooming cultivar throughout summer. In addition, ‘Don Juan’ has a strong classic rose fragrance. The leathery green leaves are a stunning contrast to the dark red flowers.

Conveniently, ‘Don Juan’ blooms on old and new growth, and makes a nice cut flower. Growing at least 8 feet tall, ‘Don Juan’ is attractive when trained to grow up a pillar or fence. This rose is one of the most dramatic large flowering climbers in existence with brilliant red blooms measuring 4 to 5 inches across. Unfortunately, climbing ‘Don Juan’ is not as cold hardy as Lady Banks, so protect it from drying winter winds if possible. Should it freeze back, you may have to wait a year or so for it to recover and bloom again.


‘Dortmund’ Is Divine

‘Dortmund’ rose hips

Rosa ‘Dortmund’ is yet another of the more popular climbing roses. Though lacking the impact of semi- and fully double flowers, this single blooming cultivar has an innate charm. In addition, this rose will flower continuously throughout the summer.

‘Dortmund’ has medium-sized fragrant flowers that are bright red with a distinctive white eye. The flowers have overlapping petals with a ruffled appearance and occur in spectacular clusters

At least six hours of sunlight is necessary for ‘Dortmund’, although it is quite tolerant of shade as far as roses are concerned. Tolerant of poor soil, this rose is also very disease resistant.

In winter, the hips on this rose are bright orange and plentiful. The added bonus of the colorful hips makes this rose cultivar extra special. Be aware that this rose has sharp, thorns like hooks so don’t plant it in an area with a lot of foot traffic such as along a path. The ‘Dortmund’ rose will no doubt change the minds of gardeners who think they do not like single-flowered roses.


Think Pink With ‘New Dawn’

Climbing ‘New Dawn’ has soft pink flowers, a sweet fragrance and good disease resistance. This rose was introduced in 1930.

If you can only think pink, one of the best roses to consider for your garden is ‘New Dawn.’ The large, cup-shaped pink blossoms on long, thorny canes are also fragrant. Known as an everblooming type of rose, ‘New Dawn’ can grow up to 10 feet tall in a single season, making it extremely useful. This rose is also very disease resistant. Chances are your mother or grandmother grew ‘New Dawn’ since it was introduced in 1930.


Creating A Sight To Behold

Few sights are more beautiful than a climbing rose in full bloom rambling along in a cloud of color. Climbing roses are often key elements in an overall garden plan, and rightly so.

Before you invest the time and space for a climbing rose, it is important to begin with the best rose for your garden. A little research will go a long way when it comes to roses.


5 Helpful Tips

Five important factors to consider when you are selecting climbing roses for your garden:

1. Size: Don’t make the mistake of choosing the rose you like only to have it take gargantuan leaps onto your roof before you know it. Pruning plants to contain their size or keep them “in bounds” will require much more work than simply choosing the right variety for your location in the first place.

2. Disease Resistance: Start out with a healthy, disease-resistant variety. This is especially important if you are planning to grow your climber along a wall, which can reduce air circulation

3. Blooming Period: If you are planning a star attraction in a small garden, then consider a repeat bloomer. However, if you have the room, many of the once bloomers are so beautiful that they are well worth the investment.

4. Light Requirements: Most roses need full sun, but there are a few that will tolerate more shade. The wrong rose in the wrong spot will be a disappointment. It may just refuse to bloom.

5. Color and Fragrance: The most important decision is choosing a rose with traits that you will enjoy for many years to come.



(From State-by-State Gardening April 2005. Photos courtesy of The Antique Rose Emporium & Dia Bettencourt)



Posted: 02/01/12   RSS | Print


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