Fragrant climbing roses adorning door and window frames, arbors and fences could be a rather pretty addition to your garden. They remain in bloom throughout the entire summer and some varieties even continue to blossom till late fall. These plants can grow up to 12 feet (3.66 m) in terms of both height and width. With proper care and planting techniques, you can grow fragrant climbing roses in abundance in your garden.
Planting Procedure and Plant Type
Early spring or late winter is an ideal time to plant when the soil has thawed and can now encourage fruition. Gardening experts suggest that planting bareroot plants derives the best result as during this time, they are easier to handle.
Soak the bareroot plants in lukewarm water for an hour before planting them. The stock might contain leaves or damaged roots. Remove them before beginning the planting procedure.
Choose a dry day, one without snow or frost, to plant your roses. The hole you dig must be twice the length and breadth of the root ball. It is also a good idea to prepare the soil with some organic manure before planting. Look for a soil mark on the plant before back filling- ideally, the graft union should be placed right below the soil level. Press the soil lightly around the stem and water well. Make sure that all the branches are upright, and in case some are going in the wrong direction, prune them. You can also support the plant with a short pole.
Fragrant climbing roses grow best in acidic soils with good drainage. Though roses thrive in various soil types, to get the best result, make sure the soil is fertile and loamy. You can achieve this by adding organic matter to your soil such as mulch, compost, and peat moss. The mulch should be spread around at the base of the rose.
Another suggestion would be to not plant the bareroots in a soil already exposed to roses. The soil in this area would most likely lack in all the necessary nutrients and this may discourage further growth. Even if you are planning to plant in an area where a rose plant already existed, do not forget to replace the soil.
Selecting a Site
Select a site that receives a lot of sunlight for at least 4 – 6 hours a day. It will be even better if you can manage to provide your roses 8 hours of sun exposure. Climbing roses require a lot of space to grow without hindrance. So, it is imperative to choose a secluded spot for these plants.
Training Climbing Roses
Like many other climbing plants in the creeper variety, climbing roses cannot twine themselves to a structure until trained with proper support. You might need more than just a pole to support them as they are quite heavy. Also, make sure the roses get enough air ventilation.
They must be secured or woven through something that holds. For example, you can use a trellis to tie the young stems in a weaving pattern and have them grow horizontally. Horizontal training encourages the development of spurs along the stems leading to more blossoms. On the other hand, if you train them to grow horizontally, the flowering will occur only at the top of the plant.
You must continue the training for at least two years following the plantation and lay the foundation for a full-fledged growth. Parallelly, the dead branches must be removed from time to time. New stems that develop in due course must be trained too.
Climbing roses need an adequate amount of water to thrive. But one must also be cautious about over-watering as this might lead to the development of fungal diseases. The soil should retain moisture, but it should not be soggy. The plant must receive enough water in the first year to develop roots. Morning is the best time to water your plants at the base every day.
The best time to prune your fragrant climbing roses is late winter and early spring, two years after planting them, preferably after the first blooming season is over. The primary stems should be left untouched unless they are away from the support. You must be careful while pruning the plant at the base. Remove only the old and small twigs, the woody outgrowths and the canes that look frail. Make sure that the young stems are left untouched. The most you can do is train them to the support.
The lateral canes should be pruned lightly to promote growth. Approximately 10 cm of reduction in the length of the shoot is enough. If your plant supports repeat-blooming, you must remove dead flowers. However, there is no need to prune buds that grow outwards.
Use a fertilizer that is specific to roses, most preferably the one with a balanced formula. Phosphorous encourages flowering and you would need an adequate amount of fertilizer to feed your plant regularly. Do not go for nitrogen-heavy fertilizers because it would produce more leaves than flowers.
It is better to use slow-release fertilizers as they stay longer in the soil by decomposing naturally. On the other hand, quick-release fertilizers may cause burning and are more susceptible to erosion. Fertilizing should be preceded and followed by watering. Apart from that, to encourage the retention of moisture during the summer, layer the base of the plant with an inch of mulch. Add more mulch during the fall to keep the soil warm during winter and remove the extra layer again when spring arrives.
Rose plants, especially the leaves at the base, tend to develop rust. Keep a mulch prepared out of fallen leaves handy. You would need to apply it during the fall to prevent fungal spores and rust.
Pest and Disease Control
Some common diseases of climbing roses include fungus, powdery mildew, and black spots.
You must take preventive measures to stop further decay. For roots affected with dieback, you must water the roots with an anti-rot solution immediately after spotting them.
Spraying lime sulfur cures scales and powdery mildews that appear during the winter.
Black spots can be prevented through the spraying of fungicide. You can spray a mild fungicide or pest oil every fortnight after new growths in the spring. An organic solution of water and cream milk (1/10th of the water) also acts as a great fungicide.
You can also use fungicide sprays and systhane to protect your plant against black spots, powdery mildew and rust.
The dry summer months can affect growth and cause the leaves to discolor. You can use drip irrigation to moisturize the soil from time to time.
Aphids, white flies, and weevils are some insects that attack roses. You can control them by hanging yellow trap cards around the plant, or by keeping other predatory bugs detrimental to rose pests in case you are apprehensive about using pesticides. In fact, pesticides may be harmful to other beneficial insects. However, you can use a non-toxic, non-chemical pesticide and spray it as the first sign of disease.
Spraying a jet of water using a garden pipe also helps in getting rid of these insects. You can carry this out from time to time. Keep the area around the plant base clean to prevent diseases and infection.
Cutting Techniques and New Growths
Semi-ripe cutting is a way to propagate further growth of the plant. This process should be conducted after flowering in the late summer.
You need to cut the mature shoots that grow along the sides up to 10 cm above a bud using secateurs. The cuttings then must be mixed with compost and water and planted in a garden pot with the shoots upright. Cover it with a plastic bag until it develops roots by the following spring. These roots can again be planted for further propagation.