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Rose query

jamesharcourtjamesharcourt Posts: 465
We have a very old rose the variety of which I have no idea.

I guess it’s a “climber” but has a very long straight stalk that looks about 20 years old and puts out lots of growth every year.

It has been neglected and hasn’t flowered much for years… it was growing all in amongst a mature Oleaster tree and was choked out by ivy and Passion flower on the trellis and fence for the last few years.

Anyway last year and this year I have been tidying things up which involved pruning this back quite a lot - along with taking out a lot of ivy and hard pruning the Oleaster tree ...

Happily this year I have noticed more normal looking stems that have flower buds on the end ... but also some of the “usual” growth of the last years which is basically thicker stems that are very straight and grow fast, straight up high from various points and they just produce more and more leaves.

My question is about this “leaves-only” growth… this year I’ve actually cut some of these off when they have reached about 1-2’ long ... it seems to have purple leaves on the end at the start… Should I be doing this? 

Some pics below just to make it clearer.

The “fatter” fast growing straight stems that never seem to have flower buds:

... and the shorter, thinner less straight stems that produce flower buds:



  • edhelkaedhelka Posts: 2,350
    Can you provide a photo of the whole plant, including the base, and the non-flowering stalk from a larger distance?
  • OmoriOmori Posts: 1,673
    I wonder if you could provide a photo further back to see the entire plant in situ?

    If this is a climbing rose, it should be growing on some kind of support. The type of support will determine how you train it (eg, obelisk, wall/fence, arbor etc), but basically you try to get the main framework of canes as near to horizontal as you can, because this causes the rose to grow lateral shoots off of the main canes, which will then flower. Otherwise they tend to just flower on the tops of the canes. You only need to prune these lateral shoots and not the main canes, unless they outgrow your support.  

  • MarlorenaMarlorena Posts: 8,644
    James... put your secateurs away and allow your rose to grow... so the answer to your question is 'NO'.. don't keep cutting off those stems...
    A rose needs all its leaves to produce blooms... if you keep removing healthy leaves, it means less flowers for you..  and as for the top picture I hope you haven't removed those beautiful stems.. I can see a fat bud forming on the right one and let me say that what a fantastic rose you have... do show us photos of the blooms later on, because to a rose aficionado like myself you have something wonderful there in the stipules on your rose..
    In case you don't know what they are, looking at your top photo, you see the stems with the purple leaves on top?  further down you see green leafy bits and each side you will see what looks like very long false eyelashes going down in a line right and left... we covet these types of stipules, they tell us something of the ancestry of your rose... it's not often I see a rose with long 'eyelashes' like those... fantastic !!!

    East Anglia, England
  • jamesharcourtjamesharcourt Posts: 465
    All those pictures are still there ... I haven’t really cut much from it this year other than two of those long, stuff stems
    which seem to have just grown right back.

    In previous years I haven’t pruned a thing and let those long stems straight grow unchecked… what they tend to do is grow 2 to 3m in the air and produce nothing but leaves … this is the first year for a while I’ve seen flower buds but I did hard prune in winter and removed lots of ivy that was overtaking it.

    I’ll try to take some more pics tomorrow.  There are some other very old (20+ years old) roses here - some of which have been revealed by cutting back overgrown plants that had all but swamped them out. 

    I’d love to identify some of them too.
  • MarlorenaMarlorena Posts: 8,644're doing just great James, looking forward to some more pictures later on..  no rush... 
    East Anglia, England
  • jamesharcourtjamesharcourt Posts: 465
    Here are some pics of the area.  Maybe there is more than one rose here, it’s hard to know without removing ivy and other plants which I’d rather leave.  You’ll see the mature passiflora and ivy plants in there too.

  • MarlorenaMarlorena Posts: 8,644
    ...that's been there a long time..  big thick canes on that... you should really try and clear the ivy away from the base and cut out that bit of dark brown deadwood there, but with a rose like this one it's really not that important because it has such vigour anyway..   have you seen this rose flower?  does it have single pink flowers held in large clusters,  with a white centre by any chance?...
    East Anglia, England
  • jamesharcourtjamesharcourt Posts: 465
    @Marlorena it hasn’t flowered for a while but I do have an old pic which I’ll try to grab a close-up of.  But yeah they are pink and I think single .... thanks for your expertise here btw :-). Will post a flower pic next ...
  • jamesharcourtjamesharcourt Posts: 465
    edited May 2020
    @Marlorena - I have so many photos but finding one of this area with blooms was impossible.  I only found one and as you can see there might be multiple plants there ... here's a pic of the flowers anyway and some others of the same area when you can see the passion flower overrunning things.  I didn't plant that passiflora but the blooms are fantastic and what I'm trying to achieve is a way to have the rose and the passion flower co-exist.

    From August 2018 ... you can see passion flower is winning here - this is in September
    A picture from September 2011 from the other side of that gate ... on a lovely late summer day - showing some of the blooms but I can't honestly be sure whether it's the same plant, I guess so ... but so much has grown there since.  

  • MarlorenaMarlorena Posts: 8,644
    I can't tell from those pictures James.. they don't look like rose flowers  but maybe some vine you've had growing through there?..
    If it's the rose I think it is, what you can do is, after it's finished flowering this June, you can cut back as much as you want... I would cut it back by about half [getting rid of wastage can be a problem at the moment]... but when it grows back with long canes in the summer, you need to leave those on, as they will give flowers for the following can shorten them a little if too long but you should also leave on that nice new shoot coming up from the base with purple leaves on the top... this will give blooms for next year...
    If you have been pruning your rose this Spring, you may have cut off a number of flowering buds, which means you won't see so many blooms...   it's a rose that can be pruned hard after it has finished it's main flush of blooms, this would be about late June/early July time..  you then leave it be after that just tying it in as it grows, otherwise it becomes enormous and out of control...
    East Anglia, England
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