Searching for the perfect climbing rose...

jenjoieApril 2, 2014

Hello, all!

I have an ugly, past-its-prime crepe myrtle that I think I may use as a support for a climbing rose. The crepe myrtle is about 12 feet tall and narrow; the branches grow either upwards or are curved slightly in, giving it the appearance of a powder brush or one of those wire head massagers.
When we moved into the house a couple of years ago, the tree was infested with ants. We cleared up the infestation, but the tree was damaged to the point that it will not bloom. It is alive and produces leaves, but several of the branches feel hollow.
I feel like I need a rose that is going to be somewhat mannerly and not overtake the tree; due to the damage, I don't know that it will support an overly large or heavy plant. Not a miniature, necessarily, just not a monster.
Does anyone have a suggestions? I would prefer something colorful (any color) that is at least a semi-repeat bloomer (although I know I won't get much from it in the summer heat), that climbs easily but does not get too large or bushy.
I live in South Mississippi, zone 8b. Parts of our yard have clay-like soil, although I have yet to dig in the particular area where this rose would be. I was able to easily grow a hybrid tea with no soil amendments, fertilizers or sprays last year. The area will be full sun and from what I can tell stay fairly moist year-round.


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I would recommend Rosette Delizy, a tea rose from 1922 (not a Hybrid Tea). You can see pics of it by looking it up on Help Me Find/roses. It has gorgeous blooms, and is good for zones 7-9, so it should do well in your garden.

HMF says it gets up to 6 feet tall, but that is incorrect. In my garden (where it is standing alone among a bunch of other bushes) it is at least 9 feet tall, and I think would go taller if it had something to climb on. It is a very "vertical" tea rose, most of which are much more spreading.

Here is a pic of the top half of mine, which by the way I do not spray, and which has always been quite healthy.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 2:04PM
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On the Crepe, you can prune it back pretty heavily to cause it to grow back. If it has hollow trunks you need to remove them. Not aware of any damage that should cause it not to bloom. It should be shooting up shoots like crazy.

My advise would be Lady Hillingdon Cl. Its a tea rose. May grow a little bigger then you want depending on the overall size of the crepe. Don Juan might also work well for you. If you want , you could go with Rosarium Utersen or maybe to take a chance on rebloom with Zepheren Drouhin, I just got both of these and don't have a lot of experience, but here on the Upper Texas Gulf Coast I have seen some beautiful examples of them as climbers.

I know it doesn't repeat bloom, but as far as growing on trees, I have always thought Wisteria was much prettier in a tree then a rose.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 2:05PM
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nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska

Given your login name, I have to recommend Jeanne LaJoie - it's a mini climber but it grows at least 12 feet for me in zone 5 and is virtually constantly blooming. The blooms are smallish, hence the mini title - maybe half dollar size, but it's a pretty prolific bloom and should continue to be a good bloomer under the conditions you describe in zone 8. It's a nice medium pink that plays nicely with other colors.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 2:39PM
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If you can cut the crepe back to rejuvenate it, I would do it. Most ramblers/climbers that do well in your zone will eat a crepe and swallow it in a few years. I would not trust a diseased plant, if the crepe died from disease, to destroy a nice rose and give it fungus, etc.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 3:08PM
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Galway Bay (Hortico)

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 4:54PM
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    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 5:17PM
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Thanks for the input, everyone.

I think the Jeanne LaJoie is exactly what I have been looking for! This project was actually inspired by a tree at a relative's farmhouse that is covered in roses. Looking at some photos, I think they may be Jeanne LaJoie. The flowers are small and pink, and absolutely covering the tree. Sadly there is no one alive that could tell me firsthand what was planted, but the Jeanne LaJoie is the closest I've seen.

Besides the ant damage, I think the crepe is suffering more from neglect and old age than anything. It doesn't look sick it just looks...tired and worn out. No shoots, nothing, but I would guess it hasn't been pruned properly in 5 years due to the previous owner being disabled. I probably could nurse back to decent shape, but if I'm going to be completely honest I just don't care to. Crepe myrtles are a dime a dozen around here (we have two others in our yard), and I would just as soon 'sacrifice' it as a trellis.

I have considered putting in some wisteria, as well. I love the stuff, and it grows pretty much wild around here. We have a nice space in the back corner of the lot, along the fence, where I think one would do nicely!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 11:11PM
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vasue(7A Charlottesville)

Might also look at Viking Queen, Pinkie, Climbing and Renae. Reports all grow 10+ feet tall.

Here is a link that might be useful: Viking Queen

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 3:22PM
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bart_2010(8/9 Italy)

I still think it would be a good idea to clean the crepe myrtle up a bit before putting in a rose.It would be so messy if the tree dies and gets knocked down once the rose is nice and big and mature. I think I'd prune and fertilize it ,not so much with the idea of nursing it back into shape for it's own sake, but with the concept that I'd want to create a valid support for my rose. Just my 2 cents....bart

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 4:46AM
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I second Viking queen
I have a ten year old one that I keep around ten feet tall.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 1:27PM
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