Introduction to Miniature Climbing Roses:
Many growers love climbing roses because of how big and beautiful they can get. Not every garden is suited for a rose bush however that can grow anywhere from 10 feet to 30 feet tall. Not surprisingly many rose lovers try to find miniature versions of climbing roses so they can have the best of both worlds. Many climbers are repeat bloomers and will continue to bloom all season long if properly cared for.
Miniature climbing roses are almost always bred for specific traits that growers and breeders find attractive, so you will find a huge variety to choose from with just about every trait you can think of. Miniature versions on the other hand are considerably more difficult to find so you will have to do some research if you are looking for specifics. Keep in mind that while some climbing roses are bred to be short, many varieties will do just fine if you prune them down to the desired size you are looking for.
Breeding Miniature Climbing Roses:
If you have gotten into breeding roses, or have been considering venturing into this side of the hobby, miniatures are really an enjoyable way to get started. You will find a lot of growers out there have the misconception that miniatures are difficult to breed from seeds. This is not the case. While it is true that miniature roses are not the best choice for seed roses, it is not terribly difficult to pull off.
The gene in roses that causes plants to be smaller is actually a dominant gene in breeding, in fact many growers say 90% of the offspring between a miniature rose and another variety tend to end up being miniatures themselves. This makes miniature roses excellent candidates to be pollenators! You would be amazed at the kinds of varieties you could produce by crossing miniature roses with other various types. If you are looking for miniature climbing roses, cross your favorite miniature rose with your favorite climbing rose, and see what you end up with. One of the great things about using miniature roses in breeding is you usually can get flowers in just the first year! It takes as long as 2 to 3 years to see blooms with other larger types of roses.
Planting Miniature Climbing Roses:
One great tip on planting roses is to keep a bag of organic compost handy before digging your hole. What I like to do is put the freshly dug soil into a wheel barrow and mix it with the compost at a ratio of 2 parts soil to 1 part compost. If you are planting a bareroot rose, mound up some of your soil mix in the center of the hole making sure that the bud union is about an inch or two below the surface. Back fill the hole only about halfway to start, and water it thoroughly until it becomes like mud. Then fill the hole the rest of the way and water it once more. This method will help ensure that no air pockets have formed and that the roots are covered completely.
If you bought you roses locally in a container, then I will usually dig a hole that is twice the diameter of the container and equally as deep, to keep the bud union at the proper depth. Then back fill with your soil mix as well.
Pruning Miniature Climbing Roses:
Pruning your miniatures is more or less the same as pruning other types of roses, just on a much smaller scale, so you have less to cut back. As with all climbing roses, the first thing you need to decide is how big you want the overall plant to be and start there. Chances are your miniature climber isn't going to exceed your height requirements by very much, so you can spend more time worrying about training and shaping your plant.
The goal with pruning miniature roses is to try and keep the branches open so that as many leaves as possible can get sunlight and are not shading one another. You also want to keep branches from crossing one another where possible and you absolutely need to remove any dead or diseased branches from the plant. Pruning time is also a good time to train the branches to grow in the directions you want them to grow, or train them to follow whatever supports you have in place.
Growing Miniature Climbing Roses:
For the most part growing miniature climbing roses is not all that much different than growing any other kind of rose. They all love full sunlight, however you will find some varieties that are agreeable to partial shade. What you are looking for is a location that gets a minimum of 6 hours each day of direct sun light, however more is always better if you enjoy plentiful blooms on your roses, and who doesn't? They all need soil that has good drainage so make sure you don't choose a location that stays damp for long periods of time.
It's never a bad idea to give them an occasional feeding because roses are hungry plants. It takes a lot of energy to produce all those beautiful blooms so don't be afraid to help them along. Typically the first feeding is given in early spring to help give them a good start, and all of your miniature climbing roses will be perfectly happy if you want to stop there.
There are plenty of varieties however that are repeat bloomers and can benefit from additional feedings throughout the growing season. You will want to give them the second feeding generally just as the first big bloom is starting to develop. You can also give them a 3rd feeding sometime around mid-July or so. Just follow the directions on whatever fertilizer you use and make sure you don't over-do it! Generally speaking you want to leave about 4 weeks in between feedings. If you over fertilize you may find your roses seem to grow rampant, but they will have fewer blooms and that becomes counter-productive.
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