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Training a climbing rose

puschkiniapuschkinia BrightonPosts: 155
Hi everyone

I'm new to gardening so apologies if this is a silly question!

I recently planted a climbing rose (Meg) by some trellis, but I'm a bit lost as to how to train it. The branches aren't growing towards the trellis, so from what I understand I need to gently bend them towards the trellis and tie in. The problem is that the plant isn't tall enough to reach the trellis yet (I've attached a photo to show what I mean). Does anyone have advice on what to do?

Thanks :)

ps. I feel the rose looks pretty miserable too. I'd planted it wrong - the bud union was above-ground - so I re-planted it yesterday. Hopefully it'll perk up a bit.


  • Hi. Given the rose is still so newly planted, I'm afraid you will have to be patient and wait for it to grow some new canes that you can tie in to the trellis! The rose will start to go dormant soon, and so won't show signs of growth until spring. At that time, you could give it some slow release feed to encourage it. As far as I can tell, climbers can take longer to establish than bush roses.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,154
    Not a silly question at all @puschkinia, so don't worry  :)
    If it's only recently planted, it'll take a while to establish the roots, and then it'll grow 'up top'.
    As @Plantminded says - we're now at the dormancy stage for most plants, so new growth will be minimal until spring. Some single canes pushed in  [clear of the roots ] and leaning towards the trellis will give you supports to tie into should there be any decent growth in the meantime. Alternatively, and possibly much better, would be to attach a wire horizontally about half way between the ground level and the trellis, to bridge the gap. A few vine eyes, or even just screws, would be adequate for the wire.  :)

    It looks a bit near the wall/fence, so you may need to keep an eye on it re watering. That can be a very dry spot for many plants. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • puschkiniapuschkinia BrightonPosts: 155
    Thanks @Pianoplayer & @Fairygirl! Adding some canes is a great idea - I'll start with that and look into wire as well. I'm hearing mixed things about feeding roses in autumn - is it a good idea for newly planted roses or is it too late in the year now?

    I realised that I made yet more mistakes replanting yesterday! (1) I forgot to add the mycorrhizal fungi yesterday (2) The rootball didn't quite fit in the planting hole (our soil is *really* shallow) so I added soil to the top and squidged down as best I could. Apparently one solution is to just make a cut through the bottom 1/3 and spread them out. If I've also planted too close to the fence (it's ~30cm away, though the perspective is a bit funny in the pic) then do you think it's worth replanting again today and shifting it forward a bit?

    Thanks so much for the help :)

  • Hi - I wouldn't feed now. Wait until spring. As well as slow-release, you could also think about some diluted liquid seaweed, as that is good for encouraging roots - but, again, spring not now!

    I think the decision on whether to replant depends on whether it was potted or bare root. If bare root, it won't have done anything yet, so could be replanted with the microrrhizal fungus. Not sure it is really worth it though! If it was potted, then it won't really need the MF. Just keep on top of the watering, as Fairygirl says.

    I am more worried about the shallow soil - Meg is a big rose, so is there enough depth to support it?
  • TopbirdTopbird Mid SuffolkPosts: 7,214
    edited October 2021
    @puschkinia If you're new to growing climbing roses you may find it useful to watch some of the many You Tube videos about training and pruning them. 

    This one gives some good basic information about climbing roses and is particularly good at explaining the difference between main canes and lateral stems and the different pruning / training regimes to use for each of them.
    It is also very good for letting you see just how much you need to prune away from mature roses.

    The You Tube videos I found most useful were by a chap called Paul Zimmerman. He's a bit irritating to watch but explains the basics very well. Several of his videos show you how to grow a climber up a fairly narrow trellis or a pillar while still retaining the basic principle of maintaining near horizontal main canes. Definitely worth watching...

    Here's one of his trellis ones:

    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • puschkiniapuschkinia BrightonPosts: 155
    @Pianoplayer, Ok great, thanks again, I'll wait until Spring to feed, water lots and leave the MF. Yeah I'm a little worried about the depth of the soil as well (I'd guesstimate 40m deep then rock solid chalk - gross), but so many houses around me are growing beautiful roses so fingers crossed it'll be ok. 

    @Topbird thank you! I actually found and watched that one earlier today but his trellis started near ground-level so I was still stuck. But it was definitely really helpful hearing about how to train (I would have never thought about going horizontal/zigzagging, or about how to balance where the flowers will appear). I didn't know he had more videos - I'll definitely take a look

  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 5,952
    He is a bit irritating isn’t he @Topbird? That trellis video is really good at explaining how to wind the main canes of a climbing rose to induce more flowering laterals though.

    Puschkinia, with climbing roses it is a just matter of time and a lot of patience! The growth you have there is just lateral growth from the thicker main canes that have been cut down for transport purposes. Hopefully next year it will grow some new main canes from the base and those are what you want to train up and along as horizontally as possible (or wind back and forth). It will take a few years before you have enough material to cover your trellis as it takes a lot of energy and time for a new climbing rose to put down roots and develop those main canes.

    I think 30cm is OK from the wall, they say 45cm from a wall is best, but so long as you keep it well fed and watered, as in several buckets of water a week during the growing season, it should be fine. Always water deeply, not just sprinkle, to encourage the roots to go down not up near the surface. Whether you want to install a wire lower down to train canes along is also a matter of choice. Usually you want the lowest canes fanned out about 45cm up from soil level, but you can start higher, especially if you plan to plant perennials in front. 50cm depth is recommended for roses, but my soil is thin and rocky clay, so even with slightly raised beds, 40cm is roughly what I have. The roses still grow 😊 
  • puschkiniapuschkinia BrightonPosts: 155
    @Noellie, ahh ok, great to know. This afternoon I did what @Fairygirl suggested and tied into some bamboo canes I put in, but I started fanning them as low as I could. I'll redo them tomorrow starting a little higher. The poor rose is being subjected to so much trial and error :joy: I'll be sure to water it lots! 

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