How to Deadhead Climbing Roses? – UK Guide

Climbing roses are mostly used to beautify tall vertical structures. A very important aspect to help them serve this aesthetic or beautifying purpose is called deadheading. Deadheading is nothing but the process of cutting off a rose just after or just before it will start to brown. Deadheading allows the climbing rose shrub to continuously produce more blooms. Without deadheading, you run the risk of seeing wilting roses becoming rose heads that are incapable of flowering in the future. Completely neglecting the deadheading process will mean that your climbing rose plants eventually stop blooming, leaving you with a landscape that is devoid of roses. Deadheading also allows you to maintain an even bloom.

How to deadhead climbing roses?

Monitor your blooming roses

The key to deadheading climbing roses at the right time is to watch them carefully, during bloom season. When your climbing roses have started to bloom, get yourself a step ladder and take a close look at the roses. Any roses that have begun to brown, shrivel or have petals fall off are all good candidates for deadheading. When you find such roses, deadhead them in the following way.

Cut at an angle

You want to make sure that you have a set of pruning shears just for roses. In other words, they must be sharp and make a precise and no-fuss cut. Making such clean cuts allow for quick and health re-blooming. Many gardeners also use sanitized pruning shears, after cleaning them in a solution that is one part bleach and 9 parts water. This essentially prevents disease from affecting your climbing roses.

Now, find the rose to deadhead and then find the place in the stem under the rose, where you see the first set of leaves. Ideally, you want to find the place where you first see 5 leaves under the rose. But, if that is too far down, just the first bunch of leaves you can find will do. Now, you want to choose a spot that is about just a quarter of an inch above these leaves. Cut the stem at a 45-degree angle, as this is the angle that encourages re-blooming.

Bottom to Up

With climbing roses, it can get a little confusing as roses bloom at different heights. The best approach to get all the wilted roses is to go from the bottom to the top.

Dispose the deadheads

The last thing you want to do after doing all the hard work of deadheading roses is to let them fall under the rose shrub, to then just leave it there. Dead roses attract insects and disease, and they can easily infect the healthy climbing roses that you still haven’t cut on your rose shrub.

If you have a compost bin, throw your deadhead roses in for composting. Nothing like dead roses becoming compost that can then allow for new roses to thrive.

How to train climbing roses?

If your climbing roses don’t yield great blooms, the problem might not have anything to do with deadheading at all. The problem perhaps lies in how you trained your climbing roses. If you have more climbing roses to plant in your garden, follow the tips suggested below.

Choose the right vertical structure to support your climbing roses

Climbing roses can be rather unruly in nature. And they can put some bulk when they grow. So, you need to make sure that the structure that supports them is a sturdy one. Trellis and walls are perfect as supporting structures for climbing roses. Just ensure that they are at least 6 feet in height.

Please note that the plastic structure that is usually sold along with your climbing rose plant is not at all sufficient as a support structure in the long run. They are just meant to make it convenient for you to get it out of the nursery! Without proper support, your climbing rose plan will remain stunted and definitely not produce the voluminous blooms it is capable of.

Tie Big Canes onto the supporting structure

To successfully train your climbing roses, you must secure the biggest canes to the supporting structure. You can use twine or even vinyl tape. You however must not use metal strips or hard plastic ties as they can cut into the canes and limit their growth. While it is OK to bend the cranes to make them take the shape you want them to take, you must ensure that they are not crimped by the twine or tape you use. Also, take time to slowly bend your climbing rose plant into shape. Experienced gardeners bend their climbing roses not over days but weeks.

Another thing to remember about the thickest canes in your climbing rose plant is that these canes won’t actually produce flowers. Instead, they will offshoot several smaller stems from which roses will bloom. So, you will have to plan your aesthetics accordingly. Thick canes that are routed horizontally or near horizontal angles are usually the ones that produce the most flowering stems.

Tie Secondary Canes as well

Many gardeners and landscapers also make the mistake of only securing or tying the thick canes and not the secondary canes. The secondary canes have to anchor onto the supporting structure as well. This process doesn’t really affect the growth or bloom but definitely will have a say as to the look your climbing rose plant provides, once bloom season comes around.

Prune down your plant

Once the major canes and also the secondary canes have been tethered to the supporting structure, get out those hedge shears and trim away canes and stems that don’t fit into your design plans. As long as you are trimming and not hacking most of the plant away, it will not affect the growth of the plant or the bloom.

Love roses everywhere around you? Here's a guide we wrote about how to grow roses indoors