Hartley Magazine

All the latest news, hints, tips and advice from our experts

Rambling roses ‘need to be pruned now’

Rambling roses are a beautiful plant that could look great allowed to grow over a greenhouse or similar garden construction.

They usually flower with great freedom just once a year – and this sees them produce large sprays of small to medium-sized flowers. Their stems are very strong and can grow very tall from the base of the plant. This makes them ideal for covering large spaces – which is why they can really add a touch of natural beauty to a greenhouse. The hips that they can produce are simply gorgeous – and can be arranged in a variety of ways, according to the preference of the arranger.

Rose breeding specialist David Austin Roses argue that rambling varieties of the well-loved flower are very important and useful – not to say deserving of being more widely grown in modern green spaces.

It was also noted that they do not tend to require a great deal of maintenance. However, the removal of older growth is necessary when it becomes too dense.

Award-winning garden writer, photographer and lecturer Val Bourne said that in the fall, it is very important to start pruning the plants. In an article for the Daily Telegraph, she acknowledged that it can be difficult to know when best to start, as the growing habits vary so diversely between the species.

However, she claimed that all rambling roses tend to produce vigorous shoots from the base. A range of older growths are effectively replaced by this spurt of activity – which is exactly the kind of thing that David Austin Roses claimed needs treating.

Ms Bourne said that each rambler will need to be carefully examined, adding that it is a good idea to cut away two or three of the older stems as close to the base as possible. She added that this may require the use of loppers or a pruning saw.

"Once the old growth is removed, tie in the new stems while they are still pliable," the expert commented, adding: "Slowing the sap, rather than allowing the rose to grow straight up, will produce more flower buds."

"Do this by coiling the stems round pillars, or by pulling them down to produce a fan shape," Ms Bourne continued. "You can also loop stems along fences or pergolas. This is best done now, because the stems harden during winter and become brittle."

Ms Bourne told Saga that: "Ramblers tend to be simply bred from species roses and this makes them healthy and disease-free."

"They rarely succumb to black spot and they are tough and able to survive planted with shrubs, or near a fence. Most will also tolerate poorer soil. However, vigor and thorniness vary greatly so please take expert advice from your rose nursery before ordering your roses."

For those who wish to use ramblers to cover a different part of their garden with roses, Ms Bourne warned that they can be very tough plants. For instance, while they should be fine on a large tree, it is likely that they could be a bit much for a fence.