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Is it possible to entice a 4' high repeat flowering shrub rose into becoming a climber?


  • CeresCeres Posts: 2,266

    Depends on the variety. I have a Buff Beauty (no comments please) that has decided it is happier rambling through the hedge rather than being neat and tidy. Other roses can never be persuaded to grow bigger than the recommended height.

  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    Height is determined by rootstock Sue. If it's not on the right rootstock it won't grow much bigger than the stated height.

  • Thanks, both!  I'd forgotten about the rootstock element.  Mine is the Alnwick Rose which just now is 4' tall.  It's not terribly happy in the ground and I wondered if putting it in more appropriate soil alongside our new garden building might encourage it.  Perhaps I'll ask Mr Austin, being as I bought it from him!

  • CeresCeres Posts: 2,266

    Sounds like a sensible course of action. Hope you get the answer you are hoping for.

  • MarlorenaMarlorena Posts: 7,824

    How high do you want it to grow?   I have found with Austin's that are stated to be 4 foot, that if you grow them on an obelisk or some other support, you can get some extra feet out of them, perhaps double,  by training the canes upwards rather than allowing them to splay outwards, but The Alnwick Rose is a narrow upright grower in any case, but I would think you could get another foot or two, and the wall might encourage it further.  Roses like 'Bonica' ..'Ballerina'... 'Graham Thomas'..'Gertrude Jekyll'... will all grow as climbers against walls..

    Climate has a lot to do with growth, as you would see with some Austin roses that grow to greater heights in countries with longer hotter growing seasons, even on their own roots.. Most roses here are produced on the same rootstock.  Also, you do need to give Austin roses 3 seasons of growing before you make a decision on them, they need time to show their best...

    East Anglia, England
  • Thankyou Marlorena, there's lots of interesting info there - I'm greatly encouraged to give it a go!

    My Alnwick Rose (and the other half dozen I was seduced into buying after I fell foul of David Austin's catalogue) all did quite well for the first couple of years but I think the problem lies in my sloping garden and free draining soil. It's my own fault ... 

  • LoganLogan Posts: 2,532

    If you grow it on a obelisk, curl it round not straight up.That way you will get more shoots on the stems and then flowers.image

  • Thanks, all.  

    Austin's have advised me that all their English roses are grown on the same rootstock, but that the height is determined by the breeding process and the Alnwick Rose won't grow much taller than 4 feet. Given its very upright habit (the blooms do rather look as if they've been crammed into a vase that's too narrow!) I might try training it along wires and see what happens.  

    Will report back next year!

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