climbing roses for zones 4/5?

clemmybug(4/5)August 9, 2005

Hi! I live in a zone 4/5a zone. This year I purchased a few climbing roses but now I am wondering if they are even hardy to my zone. I was told to winterize them by putting soil over the bottom. The kinds I have purchased are Climbing Tropicana, Climbing Peace and Climbing Don Juan. They have been growing very well for me (about 4 or 5 feet so far). Does anyone else have these kinds of roses or know what I should do with them? Do I prune them in the spring? I have rose bushes but I know they are hardy to my zone. (Winnipeg Parks and Bonica).


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When you bought them, didn't the tag indicate if they are hardy to your zone? Have you contacted the garden centre where you purchased the items? I tried to see if our pickering nurseries have some info on your climbers, but they didn't have any nor did they carry these varieties. So that wasn't of much help.

Climbers usually do well during the warmer times, but if they are not hardy, they will require a bit of protection and that means, having to mulch them, or even to trench them. There was a Victory Garden show that featured a trip to Montreal's botanical garden (I don't recall the exact name of the garden), where they had a fabulous climbing rose that wasn't hardy to their zone. - it required cutting back some canes during the fall months (But leaving enough length to the plant), and having to trench them (digging a trench and burying the plant), which I imagine is rather difficult to do. So, I'd suggest that after pruning you can use a rose cone which you can fill with mulch and that hopefully will be sufficient winter protection. If a rose cone is too small, find a larger container (old barrell w/ no bottom for example) and fill it up with mulch. In spring remove container and mulch and allow the plant to bud out. Only then should you do your final pruning.

I have a bourbone rose that's borderline hardy to my zone, but it's doing okay. I've mulched it well and did some light pruning. I saved my hard pruning until the following spring and always after the plant started to show signs of growth. This way I avoid removing live canes.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2005 at 3:36PM
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Awesome! Very thorough answer and MUCH appreciated. These roses did have a tag but it didn't say what zones they were hardy to but they came with silver metal permanent tags with their rose names only. I have them planted between clematis that need to be cut down in the spring. I was wondering when I should prune these. So just prune down enough to put either a rose cone or an upsidedown bucket with the bottom cut out and fill it with mulch?
I didn't know there was such a thing as a rose cone. This is all new to me. Will cedar mulch be O.K.? Should I mix it with some soil? I'm detemined to grow these roses since I have a vision in mind of how they will look with the clematis. I live more in a zone 5 than a zone 4 since zone 6 is only 1 and a half to 2 hours away. I thank you so much for the information. I did look online but did not find much info on the particular zones. I will visit this garden centre and ask about it.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2005 at 7:59PM
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mutts_fan(z5 toronto)

Hi Clemmybug
If you find a warm spot for your roses, that might help them survive the winter, eg against a wall that is south facing with some shelter from wind. Facing north would mean colder microclimate and possible insufficient sunlight. Mulching will make a big difference, I put as much as 9 inches of dirt around the base and cover with an old cut up blanket. The blanket is held down with a couple of rocks. When the forsythia is in bloom in the Spring, its time to uncover the roses. I also use rose collars with mulch inside them, although I prefer the blanket - the rose has a fair bit of green on its branches and a few small leaves when I uncover them. I do this to all my Austin roses which would probably not survive Toronto winters otherwise. A couple of them are almost 10 years old and moved with us when we moved 4 years ago.

Hope this helped.
Mary Anne

Here is a link that might be useful: some articles for you to read

    Bookmark   August 10, 2005 at 8:43PM
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jannabeen(z5 US/z6 Canada)

Hi Clemmybug,

You can make a rose cone or collar out of any old thing. Your roses will need to have their base well covered with mulch especially if they are not "own root" roses--that is, they've been grafted onto a hardier root stock. What happens to grafted roses (and most are in Canada) is that they die back to the graft and what you'll have blooming the next year is not the rose you bought.

I purchased 3 own-root climbing roses last year, and gave them all about 6" mulch in a rose collar. Last winter, however, was pretty brutal and the rose that was most exposed, a David Austin English rose, which is just hardy to zone 5, sadly did not make it. The other two (Madame Alfred Carriere and Penny Lane) are looking gorgeous.

To find out more about your roses, check out this website:

Good Luck, Janna

    Bookmark   August 10, 2005 at 10:02PM
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O.K. Terrific! These roses aren't against a wall but they are against the 10' deck which is facing south and gets quite a bit of sunlight (about about 7 hours but less in winter). It is fairly sheltered since the lattice we have up is the 1/2 inch privacy lattice. I already have about 3 inches of cedar mulch around them and they are extremely healthy looking. They haven't had any powdery mildew or black spot of any kind. I do believe they are grafted on because when I went to plant them I was surprised to find such little root and that's the first thing I thought of:(grafted rose).
I will make rose collars and put in cedar chips and soil and cover with lots of burlap. I am assuming the bottom may survive but the branches on the top will need to be pruned hard in the spring.
Thank you all for the help. It is most appreciated. I will look up those sites also.
Happy Gardening!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2005 at 10:48PM
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Glad we can help. To answer your question, just use pure mulch - a medium sized one will do. It creates a lot of airpockets and airpockets help retain heat - is an effective insulating medium.

I'd like to add that in addition to using mulch in late fall, it is equally as important for you to remove the mulch material in the spring. Mulch can attract pests in the spring so try to remove them from around the base of the rose to prevent any damage.

Where you plant it is important too. I have a climber too (new dawn) placed in a rather unprotected spot. It's survived because it's mulched well during winter. MOre important, it's in area that receives a lot of breeze and full sunlight. Both help to lessen mildew or blackspot.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2005 at 2:25PM
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That makes perfect sense. All of these climbing roses are situated in a sheltered, sunny area getting at least 6 to 7 hours of sunlight (less in the winter of course). I have about 3 inches of mulch on them already since I have that on most of my gardens. I was told to take off the mulch when my Forsythia(sp) starts blooming. Next time I will certainly do my research before buying on impulse. This is a great forum. I am learning a lot from you fellow gardeners. Thanks again! Much appreciated.
Happy Gardening!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2005 at 3:36PM
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onewheeler(Z5 N.S.)

The roses that you mentioned are not cane hardy in our zones, but you should be able to keep them with the above mentioned methods.

I have several large roses here in Nova Scotia that do not get any winter protection, a few of them are New Dawn, John Cabot, Quadra, Sympathy, William Baffin, William Booth.

The roses you mention are climbers in much warmer climates than ours, In my experience, about 8 years, those tender roses need to be pruned back in the spring, when the forsythia bloom, to about 6". It seems really drastic at the time but you will be amazed at how much they will grow during the summer.


    Bookmark   August 15, 2005 at 3:09PM
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Thank you onewheeler. Some of those sound familiar now since I am researching this. I don't mind if they die down to the ground since my clematis are group 3 ones anyway. It's actually probably better that they are otherwise I would have been trying to prune my clematis between my climbing roses.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2005 at 4:17PM
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If you wrap your climbers in winter wrap or burlap and mound the base may be able to pull it through the winter...specially if it is in a sheltered position.

You would want to try to not have to cut your climbers back in the spring unless you have dead wood from the winter....and if you have to cut them back severely each spring ..they will never be true climbers..maybe a big shrub...but not a climber.

You can try to get them through the winter and if they don't make can try some of the lovelies that Valerie mentioned. Her winter hardy climbers are wonderful :)

My zone is a bit higher (zone 6) and I like to push the I grow more tender varieties and have been successful in quite a few.
I also grow some winter hardy climbers...4 Willim Baffins...3 John Davis...john Cabot and Henry Kelsey...Viking Queen...Quadra...Gold Marie and a few others that I just got this I'm going to wrap them for the winter and cross my fingers.
Hope this helps :))

    Bookmark   August 15, 2005 at 6:12PM
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Thank you for the info. I have come to terms that they are probably going to be shrubs. I have seen pictures of the William Baffins. Many people have mentioned them to me. The others sound familiar. Thanks for your recommendations. You sound like you like the climbers also. I think I will just have to winterize them and wait for spring to see what happens. I don't mind that they will be shrubs but I really had my heart set on climbing roses mixed with clematis. Perhaps next year I might transplant them if they make it and put in some hardier ones like you mentioned. I heard New Dawn is hardier also. White roses would be nice. The clematis are in shades of pink and purple so it would have looked lovely.
Thanks again
And does help :)

    Bookmark   August 15, 2005 at 11:05PM
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I live in zone 4 , I ordered 4 climbers from David Austin in Texas ,I asked the lady abouthardiness and dhe put me in the right direction Eden eas one I cant remember the other off hand but i mulched heavy and all 4 survived

    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 11:33AM
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I have this red climber which I have no idea what kind it is, got it about 3 or so years ago. It's canes seem to get about 6-8 feet, and it got a beautiful spring flush and now only gets a rose or two during the summer. but the canes are growing like crazy.

at first I mistaken it for blaze, since the flowers looked like a blaze, but the canes didn't get as long and the leaves were slightly different.

I have done nothing to it to protect it's canes during winter, it is in a southeast corner of the fact it hardly had any winter dieback except at the very tips which I just pruned off in the spring. I wish I knew what kind it was so as to advise whether it would be good in a colder climate.

I want to get golden showers and autume sunset but I read they are hardy to zone 6. So I am wondering can I still grow it here with minimal protection? You know just wrap the canes with burlap and a little straw in there to create air pockets.

If I ever figure out what kind it is I will tell ya all, that way you know how hardy it is, and resistant to mildew, we had more rain this year than usual, and black spot tolerant, (it has a few spots but the overall bush is healthy looking and medium green.) the canes come out red at first then darken to medium green.

What climbers are winter hardy and needs only about 4 or 5 hours sunlight which I can put on the north wall?


    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 2:18PM
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Flowergazer, how is your Eden doing? I have always wanted one, but I'm not sure how well it will do here...
I am looking for two climbing for over an arbor in the entry to my yard and one is for a pergola in my yard. I am in z6 (MA) and I am looking for as disease resistant a rose as I can get cuz I won't be spraying them. I really love Eden, but I was told she isn't a repeat bloomer and can be susceptible to rust (or some other nasty). Stinks cuz I love that kind of rose. I was also looking a Zephrine Dourhin cuz she is supposed to be thornless, but I think she may get too big. I like Jasmina & Renae also. I just would like a rose that can grow well w/o spraying and that flowers a lot without having crazy thorns or trying to eat my arbor. Should I rub a lamp? Lol.
Also, I have been seeing roses for sale online that are "banded". I am a newbie & have no idea what that means. Anyone have an idea? Ty in advance

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 8:53PM
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SouthCountryGuy Zone 4b-5 SE BC(Zone 4b-5 SE BC Canada)

I highly doubt you will get a response back as Flowergazer's post was 8 years ago.

John Davis is a pretty climber that doesn't become a house eater and it has, what I consider, few thorns.

Capt. Samuel Holland is another that is supposed to be very disease resistant and if my memory serves me correctly touted as one of the most underrated rose by a highly respected rosarian.

When you purchase a Rose band you are buying a rose in a band size (3 inch by 6 inch deep) pot, a very small specimen.

Good luck in your search.


    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 1:40PM
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have you considered a 'NEW DAWN' rose? it's prolific up here in Toronto.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 10:42AM
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