Introduction to Climbing Rose Bushes:
Climbing roses have long been a staple of most rose lovers' gardens. Not only do they come in a wide variety of colors and fragrances, but you can pretty much choose your variety based on how much space you have to work with. Some climbing roses will only grow as tall as 4 feet or so, while some of the larger varieties can get upwards of 20 to 30 feet tall.
The versatility of climbing rose bushes is probably the biggest draw for most growers. Many varieties are extremely hardy and require little maintenance, which makes them a great option for newer growers just looking to get into rose growing. If you have never grown roses before and are looking to get started, then do a little bit of research on the colors and sizes of the roses you are interested in, then select one that best suits the space you have available. There are few other plants that you will put into your garden that will carry the same allure as a well nurtured rose bush.
Growing Climbing Rose Bushes:
While there are some differences in how you grow certain varieties, for the most part you can follow some basic guidelines that work really well for roses in general. The most important thing you can do for your roses is select the right location. The spot should get ample sun light throughout the day. A good rule of thumb is to give your climbing roses at least 6 to 8 hours a day of direct sun light. If you can provide your rose with more, than that is all the better.
Another big consideration when growing climbing rose bushes is how good the soil is that you have to work with. The soil should drain well and not be packed too hard. If the soil is too thick or holds onto the moisture for too long, your roses will either be starved for nutrients, or you run the risk having mold and rotting problems. You should also try and pick a spot that gets pretty good airflow throughout your garden. Many growers do not consider this but it can be vital to the health of your roses. Air flow through your roses will help keep the leaves drier and help fend of diseases.
Planting Climbing Rose Bushes:
Before you get into digging around your garden, you should take a trip to your local garden center and pick up a bag of a good organic compost. When you dig the hole, put the loose soil in a wheel barrow and mix in the compost at a ratio of 1 part compost for every two parts soil. This is a great mix for roses and they will absolutely love it!
If you ordered your climbing rose bushes from an online company, chances are you received them as a bareroot plant. You should first soak these in a bucket of lukewarm water overnight, prior to planting day, to help rehydrate the roots. You will want to dig a hole that is as wide as the longest roots on the plant, and deep enough to allow you to set the plant atop a mound of soil and keep the bud union an inch or two below the surface.
Once you have your climbing rose in place, backfill the hole about halfway to start, then using a garden hose, water the loose soil heavily until it flows like mud. Go ahead and back fill the hole the rest of the way and give it one more heavy watering, topping off any final settling that may occur. This method should ensure that you air pockets have formed around the roots.
If you got your climbing roses locally, they were most likely already established in containers and these are the easiest to plant. Dig your hole at least twice the diameter of the container, and equally as deep. This gives you plenty of room around the root ball for your new soil mix, while still keeping the bud union at its current depth.
Caring for Climbing Rose Bushes:
Taking care of climbing roses is pretty easy and if you get yourself started on some of the basics, you should be able to have amazing results your first season. The most important thing you need to do is maintain proper moisture levels with your roses without overwatering them. A good rule of thumb for most climates is one deep watering every week. If you live in an unusually hot and arid climate, then you may need to step that up to every 4 to 5 days.
You should also give your roses a dose of an all-purpose granular fertilizer in early spring when the leaves begin to sprout. Many climbing rose bushes are repeat or continuous bloomers also, which means they will benefit greatly from additional feedings throughout the growing season. I will generally give a second feeding after the first big bloom, and then a third feeding around the middle of summer to help encourage my roses to provide additional blooms.
Pruning Climbing Rose Bushes:
You should prune your climbing roses in early spring before the leaves start to open up. This will allow you to better see what you are doing. Begin by cutting away all the dead and discolored wood. Next, start cutting back any canes that overlap one another as these will eventually compete for sun light once the leaves fully open. Lastly you can give your climbing roses a light pruning for shape, and to train the canes to grow a certain direction.
This is also the time to clean up around the base of your climbing rose bushes and get rid of all the dead leaves and debris that has collected there from the previous growing season. Discard this material in the trash along with your cuttings. Never let them lay around your roses and never throw them into the compost bin as some spores can survive the cold winter months only to reinfect your plants the following spring. I always finish up my pruning by giving my roses a fresh layer of mulch to start off the new season.
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