One of the best ways to add vertical interest and color to your landscape is by planting and growing climbing roses – especially when you can keep them blooming strong and bright all summer long!
When it comes to climbing plants, it’s hard to beat the elegance of a climbing rose. Whether gracefully growing up an arbor, trailing along a fence line or meandering up a trellis, the perennial can certainly fill a space with beauty.
That is especially true when it fills its foliage with a mass of colorful blooms. In fact, a climbing rose in full bloom is simply stunning to behold!
But the real question for many gardeners is how to get those blooms to last as long as possible. After all, even though the rose’s foliage might be attractive, it is the blooms that are the star of the show.
With that in mind, here is a look at a few simple secrets to keep your climbers blooming strong all summer long!
How To Keep Climbing Roses Blooming
Unlike many traditional rose bush varieties, a climbing rose bush can repeat its bloom cycle several times throughout the growing season. Not only will they bloom on old growth, but new growth that has emerged during the season as well.
Although it will depend a bit on the variety you are growing, most climbers can bloom several times throughout a season. Climbing varieties such as Honeymoon Climbing Rose and Don Juan Climbing Rose, can both bloom almost constantly through the season with minimal care.
There are three very important tasks a gardener can perform to help keep roses flowering – deadheading, pruning and fertilizing. Deadheading and pruning both help to revitalize the plant, forcing it to bloom again and again.
Meanwhile, fertilizing can help provide the nutrients your roses need most. Especially when you provide them at the right time.
Here is the good news – if all three above are done properly, it can have your climbing rose bushes blooming over and over from late spring right into late fall.
The Importance Of Deadheading – How To Keep Climbing Roses Blooming
Just as with most perennial and annual flowers, removing spent blooms is vital to keep climbers blooming. The longer a decaying flower remains on the plant, the more issues it will cause.
When an old bloom is left on a plant to decay, it continues to draw resources from the plant. Nearly all plants naturally try to fix or heal any living part that grows from their roots. The same goes for climbing rose bushes.
But by regularly deadheading or removing spent blooms, you can help the plant put its resources where it counts the most. And that means using the energy for producing new growth and blooms.
To keep your climber blooming longer and stronger, take a bit of time every few days to snip off old blooms. The more you can clear from its branches, the more power it will have to use to create more. And don’t just toss those blooms into the trash, they happen to be a perfect addition to your compost pile!
Pruning – How To Keep Climbing Roses Blooming
In addition to deadheading, light pruning in season can also help conserve plant energy for better blooming.
As you remove spent blooms, take time to cut back wild-growing shoots. Long runners and rogue growth branches consume a tremendous amount of the plant’s energy. Especially when you consider these types of off-shoots rarely produce many blooms. It is far better to cut these back quickly to keep growth manageable.
In addition, always remove any and all broken limbs or ones that show signs of disease or other damage. Just as with keeping old blooms on the plant, when any damage occurs to a plant, it will use available resources to attempt to heal the issue.
Fertilizing – How To Keep Climbing Roses Blooming
One thing is for sure, blooming requires energy. Not just a little, but a lot of it! Over time, perennial plants like climbing roses can deplete the soil where they grow of the nutrients they need most for blooming. And that is exactly where fertilizing can pick up the slack!
When it comes to climbing roses, the key for helping them bloom stronger is to supply the nutrients they need at just the right time. In the case of a climbing rose, that means just as they are heading into a new bloom cycle.
In the early spring, just as the first buds begin to form, it is time for fertilizing. For climbing roses, use a fertilizer with an NPK ratio of near 4-6-4. The Nitrogen (N) and Potassium (P) levels should be near equal, with slightly more Phosphorous (P) for better blooming.
You should also fertilize your climbing rose again each time during the season after a major deadheading. The major deadheading will spur on a bloom set, and the fertilizer will help power it.
As a general rule of thumb, most climbing rose bushes will have a major bloom in late spring, followed by two to three more average bloom sets about every 4 to 6 weeks of the season if properly managed.
Long-Term Maintenance – How To Keep Climbing Roses Blooming
There are a couple of other helpful tips for getting the most from your climbers. At season’s end, mulch your climbing rose with a healthy dose of compost before winter settles in. (See : How To Create Compost Fast)
The compost will not only help to act as a protective mulch, it will also slowly recharge the nutrients in the soil for the following spring. This, just as with fertilizing, can help power early growth and a faster set of blooms.
Using compost in the fall is the best way to give them power for next year. You should never fertilize your roses in mid to late fall. This type of power can spur on new growth that can then leave the plant vulnerable to winter damage.
In addition, take care to keep trailing branches secured to whatever support structure your rose is climbing. The more secure the branches and stems, the less likely damage will occur during inclement weather.
Here is to growing climbing roses – and to getting them to bloom again and again all summer long!
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