How To Care For
An Old Climbing Rose

by Dawn Bennet

QUESTION: Hello! Thank you for making this contact available.

We have an old white climbing rose that originated in Baltimore MD roughly 70 years ago.

My mother in law took a cutting of this rose and grew it in MD.

I am embarassed to say that my care for this rose has been intermittent since my mother in law's passing in 2001.

The old rose has 2 main canes that look like they are dying, yet 5 smaller canes are growing out of various places on the canes.

There is one part of one cane that has grown up and died.

How and when should I prune this rose and do you have any suggestions of what I can do to revive this rose that is a true survivor.

We live in West Central Florida in zone 7 (I think) and we have fed the rose intermittently.

I am such a novice I would apprieciate any advice you could provide.

Lastly, should I attempt to start another plant from a cutting of this rose, and could I do that in a pot or directly in the ground.

Thank you in advance for your time, I really want to take care of this rose.
Dawn Bennett

ANSWER: Hi Dawn,
I am sorry for this belated reply to your question. But Iha a family emergency.

The reason the old climbing rose isn't doing well now, is beacuse the older canes have stopped producing flowers.

In order to encourage new canes to grow and be productive, you need to remove the 2 old canes at the base, using a pruning saw.

This will stimulate new long canes from which the short lateral flowering shoots will grow.

The long canes should be trained as horizontally as possible.

After removing the old canes, give it a good soak, and a dose of rose fertilizer.

Put some good compost and mulch around the base of the rose, and start a regular watering and feeding schedule.

All this will most likely revive the rose. It might take a year or two to bring it back real strong and flowering with gusto.

Remember the rose will spend all its energy growing long canes, so don't expect lots of blooms, if any, until those canes are up.
Best Regards,

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