How to Train a Climbing Rose to a Trellis

I recently bought a climbing rose bush and was curious about how to train it to climb or weave itself onto a trellis.

An important part of gardening is to make the most of all your efforts. If you’re going to all the trouble of growing something, you should give it the support that it needs. And climbing roses definitely need support! It’s not uncommon for the canes of these rampant growers to reach lengths of 20 feet or more.

A trellis is an excellent way to provide support for your rose. I attached a trellis on either side of the door to my tool shed and have trained a pair of roses to grow up and over the door frame. This arrangement provides a beautiful embellishment to the somewhat utilitarian facade of the building.

Training roses to grow on a trellis couldn’t be simpler. All you have to do is tie the canes to the rungs. Choose the sturdiest of the canes and use a soft material that won’t cut into the stems such as panty hose or twine.

If you are planting a new climbing rose, forego pruning for a year or two except to remove dead or damaged stems and continue to attach the main canes as the rose grows.

Once the rose reaches a mature size you can maintain its form by selectively cutting back weak canes to the base and pruning lateral, flower producing stems back to within 2 or 3 leaf nodes from the main canes. This should be done in late winter or early spring before the rose comes out of dormancy.

For these larger roses, I use an old leather belts to attach the canes to the trellis. I encircle several canes, slip the belt end through the trellis and then just buckle the belt! You made need more than one belt to attach it securely.

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