Seeking thornless, fragrant & disease resistant climber...

petsitterbarb(Zone 6, N.E. OK)August 19, 2009

I'm trying to find a climber rose for a 4' fence that is between our yard and a great neighbor. It MUST be prickle free, as I don't want to cause any problems for our neighbor! I've always been "spray free", so looking for as healthy as possible. Fragrance...a MUST for this location. So far, the closest I've found to this illusive "wonder climber" is Laurie Annie McDowell, but I want to explore any other options before adding her to my Spring order. I adore pink, but would consider anything other than red or orange.

I greatly prefer pastels! Any suggestions GREATLY appreciated! Thanks!


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jim_w_ny(Zone 5a)

Maybe you need to plant something besides roses. After all nearly all roses have thorns. Even the so called thornless ones have tiny things that can hurt. Fragrance is a little easier but here again many roses are not fragrant. Finally disease resistance. Black spot seems to be endemic to roses.

My conclusion get an other plant! There I'm at sea as I don't know a lot about other climbing plants.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 7:46AM
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Cindy Ehrenreich

Try Zepherine Drouin. It is thornless & very fragrant. Its disease resistant is better than most.

1 Like    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 7:56AM
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Zephirine Drouhin is not such a good choice as it often is a mildew magnet.
Patte de velours is healthy and thornless and climbing, but has no fragrance.
I agree with Jim: completely thornless, climbing, (very) frangrant and healthy, then go for something different than roses. I do not think there is a rose that really has all these features at the same time.
Maybe an evergreen lonicera or a trachelospermum jasminoides would be fine for you, to name two of the most common frangrant climbers to be seen here.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 8:07AM
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Mme. Alfred Carriere. In my garden it is completely disease free. The flowers are white & fragrant. And I haven't noticed any thorns at all.
It's very vigorous.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 8:57AM
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I would still recommend checking out how Zephirnie Drouhin does in your area. True, this rose can blackspot and mildew, but it doesn't for all. Reine des Violettes is also thornless, but the same goes for this one, it can blackspot. My Reine des Violettes is healthy still now in August about to have a second round of bloom. When feed and given care, Zephirine is a continuous bloomer. There are no thorns or hooks on these two roses.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 9:04AM
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See link and comments

Here is a link that might be useful: 'Pinkie, Cl.' Description

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 10:28AM
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Maryl zone 7a

Did anyone notice the 4 foot fence part? That's awful short for our warm growing climate and will take alot of maintenance keeping any rose in bounds. I have experience with this on a 5 foot fence. Roses are no respecters of property lines. Here's what could happen unless the rose is vigilantly maintained with complete access to your neighbors yard. Long canes scratching their eyes out as they try to mow their yard. Basils/suckers popping up inside their yard. New neighbors moving in who have no desire for YOU or YOUR rose in their yard. Or, and this happened to a friend of mine, new neighbors move in with their unfriendly Pit Bull in the back yard. I'm not saying it can't be done, but just be aware of the problems. A shrub rose planted a distance away from the common fence (so you can work behind it without invading their property) might work out better for you.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 2:31PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

I'd consider 'Heritage,' a shrub that would spread 8' with support but would not get too rambunctious.It is beautiful, very fragrant, and thornless (I guess we should always say "nearly thornless.") It is somewhat resistant to blackspot and should be OK without spray. Another idea is 'Renae,' but I don't know if it would be hardy there.

I say nix on 'Zepherine Drouhin.' It makes stiff 8' canes and is fully susceptible to blackspot as well as mildew. I don't know why it would be called resistant except by comparison to the other long-caned bourbons that are absolute fungal swamps.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 3:18PM
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Random guess: Fortune's Double Yellow?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 3:34PM
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Um... Maybe you should try some kind of jasmine.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 6:24PM
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petsitterbarb(Zone 6, N.E. OK)

I know...I was wishing for a "miracle rose" to appear. I've spent hours on HelpMeFind, and the top "finds" have been Climbing Pinkie, Moonlight, Reve d' Or (may be less hardy than I need),Crepuscule, Annie Laurie McDowell, and Mme. Alfred Carriere. I already have a "Zeffy" and she's totally healthy and gorgeous...but HUGE, and a once bloomer. I had a Cl. Pinkie, but it has died. I think it had too much shade. I have Heritage, but it gets terrible blackspot here. Was hoping for a small, manageable, gentle, healthy little climbing rose, and being able to visit with my neighbor over the fence, as we both snip blooms off for bouquets. Guess I've seen too many Disney movies, right?!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 8:41PM
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Maryl zone 7a

There are no vicious pit bulls in Disney movies-LOL.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 8:48PM
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Hmm, Zepherine is probably not the best, but if the Zepherine you have is a once-bloomer something is wrong. In good years mine was blooming not stop all summer way into fall. All the climbers you mention will grow just as large this one if not larger.

I was thinking of Mrs John Laing. It's far from being a climber, but will reach 4 feet, very good fragrance and mine has no thorns at all. Mine is a young plant, but has grown very straight canes 3 feet tall. I can see traces of something prickly on older wood at the base, but not at all on the new growth.

Reine des Violettes is not too big, at least with pruning in spring, and is rather good when it thrives. No thorns. If you don't want to prune much, canes are flexible and cane be trained along the fence very easily.

Baron Girod de l'Ain would do well up against a fence, and will do well even with just a few hours of sun. Best fragrance, and will not grow too tall if pruned in spring and lightly after first flush. However it has thorns, very few, but they are there. I just picked two flowers of my plant, and there are no thorns on the stems or any thing prickly.

I used to grow The Pilgrim, if I remember correctly it is thornless and manageable against a 4 feet fence. It might only reach 3 feet if it freezes to the ground.

Sweet Peas are very nice too.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 9:15PM
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There are few vicious pit bulls in real life, either. I work with dogs -- it is my job. I would far rather handle a pit bull than a Lhasa Apso, Chihuahua, or mini Dachshund.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 12:50AM
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petsitterbarb(Zone 6, N.E. OK)

After HOURS on the internet, I have finally made a decision. Forum comments and photos are an incredible help!
I want to thank everyone that responded to my post, and I greatly appreciate your input. Since I ADORE the old garden rose look, with a definite preference to pink or purple...and MUST have thornless (gotta keep hubby happy!!), fragrance, and as good disease resistance as I could find with those attributes, I have a winner! Special thanks to taoseeker for reminding me of her...Reine des Violettes! I just ordered two of them from Antique Rose Emporium.
Also...I just have to comment about the mention of the pit bulls. After all, I have worked for a vet, am a certified trainer and professional pet sitter, as well as a dog show judge. Dogs are my "thing"! We've bred over 30 AKC champions before my heart turned to rescuing. We now have six little pooches that just needed a good home. IMO, we can't generalize any breed any more than we can generalize any race of humans. Different gene pools in the various different family lines produce different temperament tendencies, just as surely as they make a difference in every other detail of the human or beastie. Good and bad in every group...kinda like roses, too, come to think of it! Barb

    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 3:39AM
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petsitterbarb(Zone 6, N.E. OK)

Update! I now have the two Reine des Violettes on the fence I mentioned, and have also purchased a Cl.Clotilde Soupert, Cl. Pinkie, Renae (will take my chances on being okay in this zone), Cl. Annie Laurie McDowell, and my Nahema arrived yesterday. They will be planted in other areas of our gardens. WOW Nahema is gorgeous and SOOO fragrant! It came with two beautiful blooms...a NICE bonus from Roses Unlimited! Additional beauties this year are Lauren...(thanks Burling!!) and Heaven On Earth. Several minis, too! Am looking forward to a rosey 2010!
Great service, packing and healthy roses all...thanks to Chamblee's, Burlington, Antique Rose Emporium and Roses Unlimited.
Cheers! Barb

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 1:15PM
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What about Kathleen Harrop she is thornless and lighter pink the Zephy. Here is mine and love her scent!!Her canes are very flexible too..

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 11:44PM
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kris2001(6a - s.e.PA)

Hi Barb (or others)!

How is ' Reine des Violettes' doing with respect to disease resistance?

I love this but dont want to spray !
Pls advice ...thx

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 6:08PM
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My zephie wasn't a great repeat bloomer here in warm So. CA where we don't get winter weather. If I lived where it was colder, I'd plant it again. I think RdV is a good choice. It can even be pegged out low so I think it's a good choice for a shorter fence.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 10:05PM
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Campanula UK Z8

re.pitbulls v chihuahuas
chihuahuas are not bred to bite and STAY BITING.

After yet another death from vile pack-like staffies and bull-mastiffs (14 year old savaged to death yesterday), I don't want to hear any more defences of these horrid dogs.
I doubt an ankle nip can ever be in the same league as having your face ripped off.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 8:46AM
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I'm giving my Zephs away this winter. Beautiful bloom but in Central Louisiana they are a Blackspot growth medium.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 8:15PM
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AquaEyes 7a New Jersey

If you can't find 'Annie Laurie McDowell', perhaps you can find her parent, 'Renae', which is also a thornless, fragrant climber.



    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 10:52PM
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minflick(9b/7, Boulder Creek, CA)

Dogs are not my 'thing', cats are - BUT - the main problem with the dogs I work with (in a vet clinic) is that their owners are crap... Bad husbandry and raising has ruined more dogs than I can count. Most of the pitties we get in here are nervous nellies, perfectly willing to be nice as long as you don't rush them. Only 1 or 2 are aggressive towards us regardless of the presence of their owners - and for those we DO have big discussions with their owners about how to socialize and train their pets, and how we need to sedate them to be able to do ANYTHING. There are a few we have turned away as too dangerous to work with. We've never had a problem with any of the mastiffs we see (we don't see many over here) other than the risk of working with a giant dog that isn't too sure it wants you do poke and prod it in all those places - and the dog outweighs all stuff other than me. Dogs running loose in packs - that's never a good thing, I know that. Some of those dogs merely need to be kept in their own yard, some of them need to be put down - but again, the problem is their owners for allowing/encouraging such behavior in the first place.

The problem with bad dogs is 99.9% their owners. We have many fewer large problem dogs in our clinic than we do very small problem dogs, and it's NEVER been a large dog that sent me to the urgent care or the ER. It's been a Min Pin, a Pomeranian, and a Chihuahua mix... The problem with ankle biters is that they are not always down at your ankle. I have many very stern discussions with owners about their animals, and their handling of their animals... Not always well received, but too damned bad about that!

I'll step down from my soap box now...

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 3:43PM
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Yeah, soapbox withstanding, I just have to join in. I also am a certified trainer, and I have learned that there is no bad dog, when allowed to be a dog by it's people. It's the owners and other human contact that messes them up, when those people don't understand dogs. Ever been around a horse that never met a human who was kind to him/her? I have. The bigger the animal, the bigger the hurt. Re: Campanula's comments, understandable and even correct, given a less than ideal upbringing for any animal. And, where the damage occurs DOES make a difference.

So. Enough animal on a rose forum. :)

This post was edited by thedogsLL on Fri, Dec 20, 13 at 18:09

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 5:46PM
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I have The Pilgrim. It is the absolute reverse of "thornless". It can't even be considered "lightly prickled". I would rate is as "The Marquis de Sade" level of prickled. I hope you enjoy Lauren. It's a lovely, productive, healthy plant, even if I do say so myself. Annie Laurie McDowell should become significantly more readily available by summer of 2014. Heirloom received a LARGE box of propagating material this fall. Burlington will receive theirs by March, the beginning of the propagation season there. From what I've learned, it hasn't been the propagation that's been the issue as Annie Laurie McDowell roots well and grows well own root, it's been the availability of cuttings. When you constantly cut her back for cuttings, she thumbs her nose at you. She demands a plant under her to perform, so I've attempted to help alleviate that issue by supplying material for propagation. Keeping my fingers crossed! Kim

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 10:39PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

As long as we are making a list, you might as well consider Austin's Mortimer Sackler--light pink, floriferous, good rebloom, very few prickles, very good bs resistance.


    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 1:22PM
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Marquis de Sade? LOLOL

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 11:15PM
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I agree with Roseseek. THE PILGRIM is anything but thornless. If you want a yellow climbing rose with fewer thorns then try its parent GRAHAM THOMAS.

REINE DES VIOLETTES is about as thornless as it gets for a rose. Truthfully I've never noticed any thorns on my plant. Both flowers and foliage are fragrant, which is an added bonus. The growth habit is graceful and mannerly so you won't have to worry about it growing out of bounds. Its one fault is a tendency for Chlorosis (caused by a nutrient deficiency). This cultivar is more susceptible to it than any other rose that I've grown so keep an eye out for yellowed leaves. Solutions include getting a grafted plant on Dr. Huey rootstock or amending your soil. Get your soil tested: pH should be neutral (6.5-7) with plenty of iron for the roots to feed on. Drainage should also be optimal so if you have red clay add some peat moss to fluff it up. I know this sounds like a lot but RdV is one of those roses who is worth the extra effort. A well grown plant in full bloom will stop traffic.

CLOTILDE SOUPERT is a gorgeous climbing polyantha that does very well in USDA Zone 6. It has hardly any thorns and flowers are intensely fragrant. It is prone to balling and powdery mildew, which is really only ever a problem in places like California. With enough summer heat the flowers open just fine in spite of the humidity.

Here is a link that might be useful: Garden Bad Guys - Chlorosis by Nanette Londeree, Consulting Rosarian

    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 8:40AM
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I need some advice, please. I am a newbie and the amount of choices are making me dizzy. Just when I think I know what rose to buy... I see a downside like BS or whatever. Please :) I have an arbor and a pergola that I need to find a climbing rose for. I need one that is disease resistant because I don't want to spray and also that isn't too thorny. I prefer a pink color, but purple would be fine too. Oh, I'm in zone needs to withstand New England weather. Thanks in adavance.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 9:33AM
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See, basically the only time I ever see issues with my zephirine drouhin blackspotting are early on in spring when it's *extremely* wet, otherwise its pretty much disease free. It might get a spot or two or black spot here and there but nothing so absurd that it causes the plant problems.

I think it just likes dry summers, and dislikes humidity.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 1:00AM
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I'm drooling over Eden's Climber. Few thorns beautiful pink, white roses with a touch of green. It is lightly fragrant but I haven't found what it smells like. It tolerates heat too. GL on your search :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Monrovia Eden's Climber

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 7:05AM
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cambel(z6-7a DC)

For a 4' fence I would look more at the mini climbers rather than a full sized one. I had a climbing Angel Face that was wonderful but it's canes were over 6ft tall.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 11:09AM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Eden climber is beautiful, but it will have some BS problems--it's not terrible in that respect, but I would not call it very disease-resistant.

I dont' know anything about climbing Angel Face, but going by my past experience with the floribunda Angel Face, it is one of the worst BSers in existence!

Austin's Wedgewood climber is supposed to be very disease-resistant, but I haven't had mine long enough to know from first-hand experience. A couple of Austin's other newer climbers are also quite disease-resistant.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 1:52PM
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I realize this is quite climate specific, but I agree with you Kate about not calling Eden "disease resistant". While it did appear to resist mildew to a decent extent, black spot was an issue and the thing rusts here like an old iron skillet. At the beach, even the moldy flower petals rusted unless routinely sprayed. It CAN be drop dead gorgeous...if you can find the right climate and situation for it. I haven't found that yet. I've also never encountered one which could even remotely be considered "lower prickle count", much less "thornless". Kim

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 4:29PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Second Kim on the rejection of thornless or lower prickle count as accurate descriptions of Eden, at least as I experienced it here in the Midwest.

I don't have the mildew and rust problems, but anyone with Kim's environment, take note. As far as BS, I'd rank Eden, here in the Midwest, as slightly above average BS-resistance. Not terrible, but not awfully good either.

But those gorgeous blooms!


    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 11:02AM
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