Climbing roses almost always look stunning, whether they’re clambering wildly up a tree, fence, side of the house or tamed nicely onto a trellis. When buying a climbing rose, you might have a certain vision in mind for it. Some find the idea of selecting the right trellis and training their rose quite daunting.
To help you relax and enjoy your climbing rose, read on for some tips and tricks when it comes to selecting a trellis for roses that climb and how to train them.
Selecting a trellis for climbing roses
Selecting a trellis for your rose can be quite fun. There is no rule that says you need only that one specific trellis, so get a bit creative. Trellises come in many shapes in sizes to suit your every need but there are a few things you should keep in mind…
Things to consider:
The size of your trellis will depend on the size of your climbing rose. If you intend to keep it quite small, then you don’t need to buy a wall-sized trellis. If you plan on covering a whole side of your house, however, your trellis will need to be the right size for the job.
Climbing roses can be trained to grow on just about any trellis. Keep in mind that if you do grow them on an arch, you will most likely only see flowers on the side facing the sun. Here are a few trellis shapes to consider for your garden:
Arch trellises suit almost any garden. You will need to decide on placement and if this is part of your vision for your garden. They are usually made from treated wood, but it is possible to find metal or plastic versions that are better at withstanding the elements.
Wall or flat trellises
These trellises are usually used for growing a climbing rose or similar plant against a house or for creating a privacy screen. The trellis will protect your walls from damage and give the rose something to hold on to.
Pea sticks are usually used for pea plants in Britain, hence the name. They do, however, work brilliantly for climbing roses as well. Just make sure the sticks are treated and quite sturdy to support your climber long term.
Fencing and verandah
It is possible to use existing fences and even the verandah railing and bannisters for your rose to climb on. This is a very inexpensive idea since you won’t need to invest in a trellis.
Cages, tripods, obelisk or teepees
These three options create a structure around your plant for it to grab onto and use as support. Cages tend to be wire around the plant where tripods, obelisks and teepees create a triangular structure for your rose to climb on. Using these options allows your rose to grow a bit more wildly.
Ladders are small flat trellises that can be supported against other structures. They allow a climbing rose to grow up against them while giving support. Ladders usually resemble the tool we use to reach high places.
It is very important that the trellis you choose is strong enough to support the weight of your fully grown climbing rose. You will also need your structure to be strong enough to withstand the elements, especially strong wind.
The material your trellis is made of will also play a role. If the trellis is wood, you will need to make sure the wood is treated against rot. Wood also doesn’t last as long as some of the other materials especially if exposed to rain and sun.
Some trellises are made of metal. These are great if you’re planning to use the structure for a long time like in the case of climbing roses. Just make sure the metal is treated against rust or made from a rust-free metal.
Plastic is another option for a trellis material, but not one that is that widely used. Plastic often becomes damaged by the sun.
Before getting your trellis, you will need to decide why you want one.
If it’s for decorating a wall, then a flat trellis will most likely work best. If you want to decorate your garden with some fancy arches, then the flat trellis won’t work that well, but the arch is a great choice.
What you want to do with your rose will play a big role in which trellis you should invest in.
Positioning your trellis
It is very important to position your trellis properly if you want your climbing rose to thrive. Climbing roses tend to grow towards the sun, so facing your trellis towards the sun should allow your plant to thrive. You will also notice more blooms on the sun-facing part of the plant.
Another factor to consider is keeping your rose a few inches away from buildings and other structures. That’s where a wall trellis comes in handy.
At some point, you might want to repaint or do maintenance on the building. If your rose was allowed to climb on the building, you will need to hack at it and damage it to get to what you need to do.
When grown on a trellis, you can simply detach the trellis from the wall, do what you need to do and then reattach it without damaging your rose. Your plant will also be easier to maintain and won’t damage the structure.
Training your climbing rose
If you want your rose to create a lot of blooms, there are a few things you can do to help.
Firstly, never weave the canes through the trellis. Doing so will damage these sensitive structures and make your climber harder to control. Rather tie your rose to the trellis with plant ties or elastic string.
Secondly, if you want lots of blooms, train your rose to climb sideways instead of straight up.
By training the canes to grow horizontally across the trellis you inhibit the hormone that prevents multiple blooms on one cane from being circulated. The hormone will stay trapped at the base of the plant while your canes produce multiple beautiful blooms.
By keeping your rose on only one side of the trellis, it is also much easier to prune away any dead or unruly canes. This will promote the overall health and beauty of your climbing rose.
Do climbing roses need a trellis?
Climbing roses don’t need a fancy trellis to do their thing. They will very happily grow along the ground or even climb on other structures in their immediate vicinity like trees and fences. Using a trellis just makes it easier to control this plant and it looks great.
How long does it take for a climbing rose to grow?
It takes a climbing rose about two to three years to become well established. Correctly training and pruning your rose during this time will help new shoots to form and promote future flowering.
What is the best time to plant a climbing rose plant?
If you’ll be keeping your rose in a pot, you can plant at any time of the year. If you’ll be transplanting into your garden, late winter or early spring is best as long as the ground isn’t frozen. This allows the roots of your rose to become established before the demands of the growing season.