Are Blaze climbers really suited for zone 5?

sdroneMay 18, 2009

I'm been working on getting roses to grow for a several years now. The first 2 I planted were Blaze climbers.

Now, I know my planting has been kind of random. The next 2 I planted were Abraham Lincoln and something like "Chrysler Imperial" that I got at Walmart for $2. Then I planted a Don Juan, which grows nicely and I'm hoping it will bloom now in it's 2nd year. And I know that the past 2 winters here in Chicagoland have been colder than normal.

1. I've had to cut the Blaze roses back almost to the ground just about ever year. This is the 2nd year that I've had to cut the 2nd rose to the ground to get rid of dead growth.

2. They don't really put out lots of growth. The first one will often grow 1 long stem and a few others that are 3' long. The 2nd one rarely gets 3 feet high.

3. I may have planted them wrong - i.e. the bulb may be too high for the temps here.

4. I've worked hard the last 2 years on proper fertilization and watering. It has slightly helped the first rose, but hasn't helped the 2nd one at all.

So my questions are...

Are Blaze climbers suited to Chicagoland weather?

I was browsing a Jung Seeds catalog and saw a page or 2 of "roses from Canada" with several types that I see mentioned a few times here in the forums. I'm curious about "pillar type roses" I see there. Would something like that be better suited for my area?

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I'd be interested in hearing what other experienced rose growers think as well. I just purchased 2 Blaze Improved climbers for my trellis I'm building. I havn't planted them yet, but they are easily already 3.5 feet tall each and have buds and blooms all over on them. I saw some sites list them as hardy to zone 3..........although that's on the high end. I would bet no more than 5 looking at Ohio's winters. Then again, I have the Blaze Improved, and not just the Blaze regular.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 2:04PM
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I've never been impressed with Blaze even though I've had it a long time. It is a puny bad performer and I ought to get rid of it. For Chicagoland where I used to live (I went to Northwestern) I would definitely not recommend Blaze although I can't say anything about improved Blaze because I don't know how they improved it. Don Juan has a nice bloom but it is also definitely not hardy enough for Z5.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 2:25PM
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I'm tempted to throw up a "Canada rose" and see how it does. Of course, that's more work. haha. I think I read here in the forums that they aren't scented, but oh well.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 2:41PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)


The red climber considered best for hardiness and disease resistance is Quadra, a hardy Canadian rose, which you can order for next year from Pickering Nurseries. We've also had good reports on Ramblin' Red from the Chicago area. It might be locally available. Illusion is also considered good for the Midwest.

Garden centers carry Blaze and Don Juan because people have heard of them and because the patent has expired, not because they are suited to your area. Don Juan is hard to grow even here, and I've seen winter damage on Blaze after only a -5 winter.

According to previous discussions here, there is no perceptible difference between Blaze and Improved Blaze.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 3:10PM
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dan_keil_cr Keil(Illinois z5)

So saying that I am the Chairman of the Consulting Rosarians for the Illinois/Indiana District, I will chime in!
In a regular winter Blaze will bloom after winter. The last few winters we've had have been hard on all roses. I'm 175 miles south of you in Decatur. My ht's are very small right now, and I have shows in one week!
You said you planted the graft high. In our area all bud unions are planted 6" below the soil line. To make sure you climber gets thru the winter, dig a trench along side the climber in the fall. Then take it down from the trellis and put the canes into the trench and cover it up!.
You might try some of the Canadian climbing roses cause they are cane hardy!
The difference between Blaze and Improved Blaze is zero! It's the same plant. There is a climber called Paul's Scarlett Climber. It bloomed only for about 4 weeks and it was thru for ther year. So someone crossed PSC with another climber that had everblooming traits in it. Thus Improved Blaze was bred. It looks a lot like PSC, but it blooms all year.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 3:44PM
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predfern(z5 Chicago)

If you are in the Chicagoland area, visit The Growing Place. They have climbing roses, including Quadra, Ramblin' Red, Tahitian Moon, Westerland, John Cabot, John Davis, Cape Diamond, etc.

Old Heirloom Roses recommends:
Awakening, Aloha, Dortmund, Leverkusen, New Dawn, Prairie Princess, Parkdirektor Riggers, Super Excelsa and Ramblin' Red.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 12:08AM
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veilchen(5b southern Maine)

I grew Blaze Improved for a couple years and it didn't amount to anything at all, it never grew more than 2' tall max. And I don't remember any flowers.

Mr. Lincoln, Chrysler Imperial, and Don Juan are hybrid teas that you will struggle with to keep alive in your climate.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 6:32AM
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jim_w_ny(Zone 5a)

Climbers are a real challenge in our zone. I've tried many and practically none manage to get up to my arbor. And then it is likely to take a long time. Illusion for example is hardy but took 7 years to get going. For such a great rose it is hardly available here. Need to go to Canada, Hortico or Pickering.

I've had good luck with the Rambler, Baltimore Belle. Although a once bloomer it is so prolific, hardy and fragrant it it such a joy when it does bloom. For such an old rose, 1843, it is sold by a number of nurseries. Says something about it. Oh by the way it is huge so if you get it give it lots of room. Tip hardy.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 7:01AM
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My new dawn got beat up this winter in the chgo burbs.I lost 3 of the old canes that were over 8 ft long trained along a brick wall. Don Juan died too. I will not replace it. The only reliable climbers I have are the canadians and an heirloom rose I planted so many years ago I dont remember its name, its a monster.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 8:02AM
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Well this is all good info. I didn't think to ask stuff like this a few years ago, of course!

I don't need a massive climber; 6 or 8 feet with blooms would make me happy. It sounds like what I should do is check out some of the Canadian roses. I might make some calls this week to see who has stock let.

Thanks everyone for the input; this is really helpful.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 11:45AM
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I grew up in Chicago - near Division/Milwaukee in the West Town area. My mom had a Blaze rose that actually did really well for her. When I moved to the 'burbs, I bought one, as well. Unfortunately, it didn't do well - few blooms, a lot of dieback, etc. I SP'd it. I now only grow the Canadian Explorers and Ramblin' Red. I have Quadra - just moved it this year to a new spot. I've had great success with William Baffin, John Davis and John Cabot. I just planted this year, Capt. Samuel Holland and Louise Jolliet, both of which are Canadian Explorers. My Ramblin' Red is a year old and yes, it had some dieback, but not much. Make sure you check out these roses - they are beautiful, hardy, and disease free - at least in my yard! I'm 60 miles NW of Chicago.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 2:53PM
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I had my Blaze for 8 years. The first 7 years I was so busy it got neglected. Rarely pruned or fertilized. But everyone loved it. Bloomed non stop all summer. Well last year. It got the attention it had been lacking for years. Only to award me with dying over the winter. I should have just left it alone. I did notice about 6 inches from the rose it is sending up new shoots. No Doubt Dr Huey or whatever graft was used. I'll give it some time to see what happens but it will most likely get the shovel. The less I mess with a rose the better it does.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 8:24AM
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thorngrower sw. ont. z5

I have Illusion and Quadra growing side by side. What a great way to compare two roses. The first season Illusion out preformed Quadra, both made it threw the 1st winter undamaged and bloomed nicely the 2nd season, again Illusion put out more growth. This winter was a different story. It was much colder here in southern ontario.Illusion really suffered badly. Quadra on the other had made it threw with no damage and is putting out 3rd year growth like crazy. Its getting ready to bloom. Illusion appeared at 1st to have made it threw the winter. I left the canes unpruned only to find more damage than originally thought. Its a very vigorus grower already threwing up 7 or 8 new canes. But Qudra will be a true climber where as Illusion only a shrub.At least here. I also grow John Cacot and it too is very hardy a hudge shrub or climber. After 10 yrs. I'm considering removing it because of it size. HUDGE...


    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 2:28PM
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