Climbing thornless continual bloom rose?

mylab123(z5NW)September 24, 2012

After several people I know off line recommended "Zephirine Drouhin" as a good thornless climber, I put in 2 three years ago and have been extremely disappointed.

I was replacing two areas of gorgeous climbing rose bushes - both William Baffin - because I seem to have developed something that makes it very easy for thorn scratches to become easily infected - this is a new thing. Both would also cover the 2 outdoor water spigots, so I was getting badly scratched often, even when not dead heading or triming as I'm using the water spigots all the time in summer -

- I was having to go on oral antibiotics too often due to infections that got out of hand despite quick washing, disinfecting and covering with topical antibiotics under bandaids, so with *great* regret I dug them out, gave the away and then I was told that I should be happy with the Zephirines, which I ordered.

I am not happy in the least.

When they do put out blooms, there are only two or three at a time, although the flowers themselves are so lovely, they don't last but a very few days and then die off.

I wouldn't care if the bloom life was short lived, but I only get a very few about twice a year. I've tried to be patient with the bushes, letting them mature - but they have had their chance and I'm ripping them out very soon now.

The locations and conditions are great for climbing roses but because I need thornless, Im somewhat limited in selection.

I want them to be as fully continuously in bloom as possible - as my William Baffins were. If such a pink/red thornless climber like that even exists.

Because of the surrounding planted areas and the outdoor colors of my home, it needs to bloom deep pink to deep red, rather than the light pink of the Ziphirine.

If that color of paler pink is the best I can do, I'll settle, but no other completely different color.

I don't care about fragrance, I grow other roses for fragrance, this is for looks only to fill up an expanse of wall on the east and east side of my house.

Thornless is a must. Heat tolerance is a must, they both get a good 7-9 hours of hot sun a day in summertime.

Water is no problem, I have very little problem with disease since the area is very nearly desert with low humidity. I'm in zone 5-6, I tend to stick to zone 5 to be sure that if we have things a bit colder than normal I won't so quickly lose a plant and thus far it has worked out well.

I have other roses in my garden area - Iceburg being one of them, several Princess Alexandria of Kents, some no-named roses which does very well. A row of ten knockout rose bushes under my kitchen window, which my husband cuts down for me so they don't get out of hand. Thorns, yes - but we keep them small and contained so the scratches are never that bad.

I would appreciate if anyone can steer me to a named climber -


*heavy continual bloom like the William Baffins - or at least *heavy* repeat blooming at least four times from spring through the first frost

*deep pink to red in color, will settle for lighter pink if that's all that is left to me.

*hardy to zone 5 at least

*the shorter in height the climber is - topping out at about 6 feet? the better - although I will settle for any height at this point. I have not had a pretty rose climber against the wall of my house for four years now, my patience is depeleted.

* of course, a climber

*fragrance is not an issue, no fragrance would actually be preferred.

Besides a name, if anyone could also recommend me a good rose places online where I can find and buy them I would appreciate it very much.

I have two very nice nurseries available to me, but they take what the truck brings in, they won't order a specific rose for customers.

If this would do better in antique rose forum please let me know - I didn't know where best to post so just went with a general rose forum.

Thank you very much, in advance, for any and all help you can give me.

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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

You might need to wait longer for Zepphie to bloom better. 3 years is nothing for a climber especially in zone 5. A climbing rose takes a lot longer to mature than a shrub.

It may be 6 or more years before you get the productivity ZD is really capable of. I have several climbers that only really began producing to their potential at age 7+, and I am in zone 9b.

No rose suggestion for you, but you could add a Clematis or two to the rose and get more flowers that way. No thorns on Clemmies!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 6:29PM
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Here are a couple of sources:

I'm looking for a thornless climber, too, so maybe someone will have suggestions for both of us!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 8:51PM
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jerijen(Zone 10)

I understand mylab's specific situation -- but for myself, the idea of a thornless climber seems ... odd.

OTOH, I have one to suggest, at least for eahamel -- Ralph Moore's 'Renae'.

I never check to see whether a rose has prickles, because I just expect them to -- but I HAVE seen Renae is a number of circumstances, and I know it to be a real beauty. The effect isn't far removed from that of Cl. Cecile Brunner, but Renae, I think, repeats, and in CA at least it has magnificent disease-resistance.

I can also recommend 'Super Jane,' which is if not thornless, pretty near thornless ... The blooms are (to me) really superior, and it again is a disease-free, remontant climber. (Also, the "Super Jane" for which the rose was named is a really super person.)

Both of these, I think, are availaable from Burlington Rose Nursery. Again, I don't know about their tolerance for Z5 cold. (I think that may be a hard nut to crack.)

The photo here is of 'Super Jane.'


    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 9:38PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Though it's lighter than requested, John Davis does a decent job of filling the requirements. To repeat well it needs a lot of water. It also gets off to a much faster start grafted. Pickering sells it grafted onto Laxa, I believe, which should do well most anywhere.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 10:12PM
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Super Jane is proving herself to be rather variable, Jeri. Jim has the large plant of it, the "original" named plant. While taking bud wood from his to send to The Netherlands, I found some shoots have the traditional dense bristles found on many hybrid multiflora roses. Some had actual hooked, climbing prickles and some were completely prickle free. I've altered the description on HMF to reflect what I've recently discovered.

Annie Laurie McDowell fits the request better than Super Jane. Renae is the other perfect alternative. Annie's flowers last longer than Renae's because they are substantially more double. Renae is fertile, she sets many hips and could require dead heading to be kept "tidy". Annie is seed sterile. She never sets hips and can be dead headed with a strong stream of hose water or simply shaking the canes. I've used both methods quite successfully. Kim

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 11:30PM
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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

I will be getting Annie Laurie McDowell, which seems to be a fantastic rose, this spring from Burlington Roses. You need to contact Burling and get your name on her waiting list for this rose. It is fragrant, and is a lighter pink than you seem to prefer, but is a very lovely rose, which is said to bloom almost constantly during the blooming season. And, it's completely thornless! You can find the picture of this rose on the Helpmefind roses site.


    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 2:27PM
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Thanks, Ingrid, well, more "constantly" the larger and more established she gets. The easiest way to halt her flowering is to let her dry out. The large one on HMF stops flowering when the irrigation isn't adjusted to keep up with the transpiration rate and weather. As long as the water is enough to keep the rest of the yard green, she keeps pushing new shoots and flowers. Kim

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 2:36PM
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nccmama(z8 TX)

The Antique Rose Emporium has lists of roses on their website grouped by characteristics. One of the lists is for thornless/nearly thornless roses, including climbers. They are out of Texas, but they ship everywhere, and in my experience they have been really helpful when I have called to get advice on a recommendation for a specific rose.

Here is a link that might be useful: Antique Rose Emporium

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 3:34PM
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Thank you all so very much for your advice.

I do have a few questions, if you have the patience for them?

The climbers I have which have not bloomed yet - will the Annie Laurie or the Renae also possibly take up to seven years before putting out the continual bountiful blooms? That came as a *shock* to me - the climbers (William Baffin, with thorns) I had before which were gorgeous and bloomed well and almost continuously the first year, were fully mature by the third year, the only drawback being the thorns which I finally had to do away with.

If it's going to take a full seven years for blooms, should I perhaps stick with what I already have? They are huge this year, but so few blooms that the blooms were hardly worth mentioning. So very disappointing.

I would be more than happy to provide more water, it's easy for me to do - I assumed incorrectly perhaps that since I was giving these climbers the same conditions that the Baffins got:

- once a week deep slow watering and then the automatic sprinklers that hit it at the base every single early morning - I would get the results as advertised. I have never heard of the possible seven year wait.

So, would any of you be willing to tell me what you would do in my shoes - get pull and give away the Z.D's and go for the Annie which would possibly give me faster results - or just stick with theZ.D. and hope for good results next year? I was lured in by the Z.D. by the picture in the advertisment. Not a smart move? ;)

Thanks for any advice, I so appreciate the time to help me with this. If I might be happier by switching, I'm ready to commit tomorrow and get right on a waiting list!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 1:06AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

I did not mean to imply many years is set in stone for a great blooming climber. But some of mine have taken that long. Others have not. There's so much variation to account for--even the same variety planted within a few dozen yards of each other can vary widely in performance. Have you tried a local rose club for advice? Nothing better than to know what grows best in your immediate area.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 1:16AM
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If your William Baffin was budded, it would have performed faster than either Renae or Annie Laurie McDowell as neither of them are available budded, and both of them flower at the expense of growth. That is a price you pay for climbing roses which possess their ability to cover themselves with bloom, repeatedly.

You're also in a significantly colder climate than I have personally grown either in (or seen them being grown) which slows down the speed at which any rose can and will grow. You have less light, less heat for a shorter duration and longer, deeper cold. Kim

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 1:27AM
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poorbutroserich(Nashville 7a)

Could you extend the location of your spigots? I have a spigot that I connect to a hose and then the hose connects to a "hose holder" thing that has an on/off.
That way I leave the main spigot on and only have to walk 1/2 the distance to turn the hose on and off.
I'm sorry about your experience with thorns. I am learning (painfully) how brutal they can be.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 9:48PM
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What about sharing the place with another rose? I had a zephie which spring bloomed for me in my warm climate. It took a while for her to even do that. In the meantime, I planted another rose and a clematis to give some more color. It was a happy little zoo on that wall. We eventually gave the area to a trellised grape because my sister really wanted a a grape vine and they take space. Zephie went to the neighbor who admired her and I get to see her blooms every spring over the wall. This is the only rose she has because, like you, she cannot tolerate thorns.

I would keep Zephie and get on the list for something else and then grow them together side by side and let them combine. I had a pretty australian honeysuckle and Joseph's Coat combination once. You have to frequently go in and make sure one plant does not overtake the other. My Zephie flowered best with plenty of horse manure and water soluble fertilizer but only in the spring with a few here and there after summer.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 1:07AM
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I happened to be looking at the High Country website and noticed a thornless shrub/climber called 'Victorian Memory'/'Isabella Skinner' - it is varying shades of pink, but thornless, hardy to 2b and supposedly has "recurrent bloom through the season." Since you are in zone 5, I don't know that your hot spot is going to be as hot as say a similar location in southern California or Phoenix. I bet it's not really a problem at all, but that's me just guessing.

Another you might like is the rugosa hybrid shrub, 'Linda Campbell.' It is about 6 feet, thornless and supposedly blooms all season. Red!

Good luck with your search. I don't know either of these roses, but they seem to fit your criteria. Both also are available at High Country Roses but see also their entries on as well for more information. Gean

Here is a link that might be useful: high country roses

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 4:01PM
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hey, I based my comment on the thornlessness of Linda Campbell on the description of it at helpmefind. Here's the link - note comment on thornlessness.

If anyone knows differently, would they inform the original poster here and change the entry on helpmefind? I was just passing on what I read!

Thanks, Gean

Here is a link that might be useful: is Linda Campbell thornless?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 6:47PM
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Thanks, the description has been changed to note its actual thorniness. Gean

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 7:21PM
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Linda Campbell's prickles can vary greatly from one cane to the next. She has really neat "fuzzy" wood, some of which can show absolutely no prickles, while other canes can be quite thorny. Here are a few shots from my two plants out back. I've grown this rose since it was a test seedling, long before Sequoia introduced it. I admire and respect it and consider it Ralph Moore's masterpiece. He did, too.

But, compared to Magseed, Linda's sister seedling, she IS "thornless". Kim

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 8:12PM
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Kim, that's great information. Thanks for the pictures and updating hmf. Gean

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 9:47PM
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You're welcome Gean. Glad I could help clear it up. Kim

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 11:30PM
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Mylab123, I realize this is an old thread, but how is your Zepphie now? Did you end up keeping this climber?

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 1:45AM
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