How do I get an old climbing rose bush to bloom?

kathy5370March 28, 2009

Over a year ago, we moved my husband's grandmother's climbing rose bush to our home. We have no idea how old it is or what the name is. The bush has not bloomed in years. Any suggestions on what we need to do to get it to bloom?

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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

If you have been cutting it back sharply in spring or fall, that would be the reason. With many roses, the canes need to go through winter before they can bloom.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2009 at 6:27PM
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We got this rose last Spring (2008) but don't believe it has ever been cut back...has had little to no care for many years. I did cut back only the very tops of the rose canes last Fall. It did not bloom last Summer and no one remembers if or when it has ever bloomed. Perhaps this will be the year

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 2:42PM
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Not knowing about roses, I had moved in this house last Nov. I had pruned 3 rose bushes back in the Spring, one being a climbing rose. 2 bushes bloomed, but the climer never did, didn't last year either. It's not climbing on anything, just lying over. I want to put a trellis up for it to climb on. Do I prune it back again and start over again?

    Bookmark   September 20, 2009 at 12:04PM
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diane_nj 6b/7a

It sounds as if the rose is a once bloomer, which means that it sets buds on the previous year's growth ("old wood"). So, don't prune it again until after it blooms next spring (hopefully). By pruning it in the spring, you cut off the canes where the buds were going to form. Before you go through the trouble of putting up a trellis, you might want to see what the blooms look like and determine if you want to keep it.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2009 at 7:54PM
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Hi Kathy

Could you post a picture? Canes, leafs and growth can tell a lot about a rose. You can safely prune out old dead wood, and old canes you don't want to keep, but the ones you keep must not be shortened by more than a 1/4, perhaps a 1/3 of the length. When once bloomers get very old and old canes have not regularly been pruned out, they might not take very well to pruning at all.

Another thing than can inhibits a rose from forming buds is lack of sunlight. Trees and bushes might have grown too tall or dense over the years, and the rose has ended up in full shade all day.

An old neglected rose will all ways respond well to good care, and if you don't do anything else, clean up all weeds around the rose and give it generous amounts of fertilizer. There a lots of brands to choose from, even especially made for roses.

If it looks like it needs something extra to get it going, the organic liquid types with seaweed and other good stuff are really good. Give it a few buckets of fertilizer dissolved in water and apply in a fairly large radius, about as far as the roots spread.

Moving a rose will set the plant back for a time, and it will probably do much better next year.

Good luck with your rose, it probably just needs a bit of care :-)

    Bookmark   October 7, 2009 at 9:40PM
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You need to cut it back some to offset the root pruning from the transplant. Take out up to 1/3, and be sure to cut off the growing tips of each of the canes. Find one of the most flexible canes and gently bend it horizontally, and tie it into that position. Climbers tend to bloom only on the tips of canes and on the horizontal branches. Then see what happens in the spring.


    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 9:36PM
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