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Rambling Rose

My husband and I were given a rambling rose as a gift about 3 or 4 years ago. I think it's a Phyllis Bide. We only collected it last year as prior to that we had no garden and very little space, so it was sitting in a smallish pot for quite a while. I planted it in our border in the autumn and gave it a really heavy pruning, which might have been a bit too brutal looking back. It was really difficult to handle so I got the branches out of the way so I wouldn't get too many scratches.

Anyway, come spring when all the other roses started getting leafy this one seemed really delayed. It tried to produce a leaf bud towards the top of the branch on the left but after a couple of months the bud just withered and never came to anything. The original branches emerging from the root ball are purple and wooden looking, so I don't think they're healthy. As you can see there is a branch that's shot out from towards the bottom of the branch on the this healthy or does it look like a sucker to you? How do you tell? It just suddenly shot up and looks a bit silly on its own.

Is there anything I can do to get some more branches and leaves growing? Also, should the top of the root ball be under the soil or not? I'm sure I buried it beneath the soil as that's what the care instructions said but I'm wondering whether I misread it.

I know so little about roses. Any help would be greatly appreciated! image 








  • SalinoSalino Posts: 1,609

    ...I feel sorry for this lovely rambler Alko... this is what I would do if it was mine...

    the long shoot that's sprung up on the right is the rose itself, it's not a sucker... it's the only living stem you've got and you need to keep that going...

    the woody stem going out to the left from the base in the photo can be pruned off... the other two woody stems going upwards, just leave them, they're not going to do anything but will make the rose easier to handle when you replant...

    I would plant that straight away, placing the base of the good shoot a couple of inches below the soil level... some good compost mixed with blood,fish and bone meal will help a lot at this stage... plus before you do any of this, a good soaking in a bucket of water for half an hour will help it along, it must be very dry...

    water in well when finished... you will have to be patient and give this rambler time to develop and grow... you may find that it will send up another shoot in the autumn, but it might sulk and not do much more until next Spring, when it should take off then....also, the good long shoot you've got will be wilting and you should cut that back by half when you plant it... it's only going to wilt in any case, but pruning it back now will give it time to recover...  all this sounds drastic but short of throwing it away and buying a containerised one, this is what you will have to do...

    don't be alarmed... or fret... just get it in the ground...image

  • AlkoAlko Posts: 21

    Thank you so much for your advice Salino, my poor rose shall be receiving plenty of TLC! image

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 82,740

    Great advice there - I'm sure it will be ok, given time and some tlc.  A good mulch with quality farmyard manure in the autumn (not touching the stems) will help it along nicely.  Give it a couple of years and it'll be gorgeous. image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • I planted a rambling rose a couple of autumn's ago, about 8 weeks after planting , we had a storm and my fence the rose was climbing up blow over snapping it , when the guy came came to replace the fence what was left of my rose was trampled on , leaving it looking dead to be honest ! Anyway we left it , the following spring it was so sorry for its self, fortunitly we have a supply of manure from daughters horse so i piled aload on spring and following autumn, this will be the second summer since the disaster and its looking really healthy and is proberly grown to about 5 ft high with lots of bushey growth. So i suppose i'd say loads of muck and patience is my advice image

  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 7,708

    Roses are actually rather tough plants. I have had to severely reduce a couple of climbers in past seasons almost to the ground & (with a little TLC) they have come back stronger than ever.

    All the above advice is very sound. My contribution is to also use some mycchorizal fungi (aka "Rootgrow" - from your local GC). Sprinkle a little directly onto the base of the rootball + some in the bottom of the hole (it has to be in direct contact with the roots). It helps the plant enormously by developing a feeding / drinking root system really quickly. Strongly recommended by Monty Don on GW & the RHS (and me !!).

    Good luck

    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • John HardingJohn Harding Posts: 497
    Absolutely agree with Topbird's advice. Reading through this thread the one most important bit of advice that was missing was to use Rootgrow (Mycorrhizal Fungi). This is extremely beneficial to Roses. Looking at your picture the shoot is well above the graft so it isn't a sucker as Salino points out. I plant my roses in a plentifull supply of John Innes No 3 and incorporate some Fish, Blood and Bone which is a slow release fertiliser. As to quantities, always follow directions, it's easy to overdo it but it doesn't often pay.
  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 7,708

    Hi Alko

    Just another thought after looking at your photos again...

    Is that a fence you are planting against? and what are the plants surrounding the rose? When you re-plant try to give the rose as much clear space as possible - they don't like a lot of competition from other shrubs and plants and you want to give this one every chance. Ramblers cope with competion better than other types of roses (which is why people grow them through trees) so, once it's growing happily, you can start to introduce some pretty bulbs / perennials etc around the base - but for now I'd give it it's own space with no competition.

    Also make sure you plant away from the base of the fence and away from fence posts. The fence will create a 'rain shadow' so that soil at the base of it stays much drier (and roses don't like that). Minimum of 18" away from the fence with the rose tipped slightly toward the fence should see you about right. Try to plant away from any posts simply because the roots need room to grow as quickly as possible and the concrete or concrete sand mix used at the base of posts isn't conducive.


    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • SalinoSalino Posts: 1,609

    ...just to give an alternative opinion on this, I don't mollycoddle roses - I grow them 'hard'... so it's up to the reader/gardener whether they wish to use Mycorrhizal fungi or not, in the planting hole, as an extra expense/fuss - it won't do any harm, it's whether you think it's a necessity...

    I would only use it personally, if planting a rose in an area where roses had been growing before, despite changing the soil... if it's fresh ground, then I wouldn't bother... never used it in my life in fact - and I've planted roses in a condition much like the one above..which admittedly, is in a bit of a state and might need all the help it gets...however...I think it's something that t.v. gardeners like to emphasise to make us feel it's something we really need - when most of the time, we don't...

    ..if this rose above is 'Phyllis Bide' -  a very pretty shorter rambler with a long season,  then you have a plant with Rosa Multiflora in it's breeding - possibly a shorter form of it... but nevertheless, tough as old boots, grow anywhere... that one...image

  • AlkoAlko Posts: 21

    Oh wow, brilliant, thank you for the additional advice everyone. The Phyllis is still going...well, I would say 'strong', but it's not dead yet anyway! What little growth there is and nice and green, there's just not enough of it for my liking.

    I've particularly taken your advice on board, Topbird, about planting near the fence. I suspect it may be a bit too close. I'll clear the plants around it a bit while it's still getting established. The one on the left is a massive catmint and I run the risk of my stupid cat getting high on it and snapping my precious branch if I'm not careful! image

  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 7,708

    Cats...the other week mine nipped the tops off all my nepeta seedlings which had just grown to a nice size for planting out & were hardening off beside the potting shed. Then he snapped off one of the 3 stems of my newly planted Roserie de la Haie whilst digging nearby for Australia...

    Was he being a little b... or was he a gardener in a previous life doing a bit of judicial pruning? The nepeta looks better for having the tips pinched out....

    Good luck with your rose.

    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
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