Climbing roses: Growing tips

Follow these tips to grow great climbers

SITE. Most roses bloom best when they get at least six hours of full sun every day. They prefer loose, well-drained soil.

CARE. Water plants deeply and regularly for the first two years. During the roses' first year, feed them lightly with a balanced liquid plant food (such as 12-12-12) in late May and again in mid-July, advises John Clements, owner of Heirloom Old Garden Roses in St. Paul, Oregon. The second year, he suggests, feed with 1/2 cup of a complete granular fertilizer around the base of the plant in late February.

TRAINING. Rose canes don't climb like vines, so you'll need to train them. As they grow, tie the canes to supports with sturdy twine, heavy-gauge plastic ties, or plastic-coated wire.

PRUNING. Since it takes plants several years to develop strong climbing canes, prune only to remove dead stems, weak growth, and faded flowers for the first two to three years after planting. Prune during the dormant season (November to February) in mild-winter areas, early spring (April) in cold-winter areas.

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