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Understanding how roses grow (not their growth habit such as ‘ground-cover', or 'landscape' rose) will make it easier to take care of and prune your roses.
Historically, roses were grown for “the show”, but in our gardens, roses stay home for the show. Most of the new 'modern' roses are bred for city gardens. They are hardy in colder climates and more disease resistant - while still creating a “show”.
If you know how it grows, you can prune any rose.
HOW ROSES GROW:
(or how they build themselves into maturity)
Roses grow like a BUSH
as a STRUCTURE
Or by CLIMBING
Roses need to be pruned how they grow.
HOW ROSES GROW LIKE A BUSH
These roses send new canes up from the ground and mostly in the centre of the bush. The new canes are often weaker that first season and may flop outward because they are not thick enough yet to support themselves.
Each season, the older canes will move toward the outside, leaving room for the new ones.
Bush roses send canes up from the base without it forking or creating a branch all the way to its tip.
Roses that grow like a bush usually have blooms at the tips of long canes... like Tea Roses..
These roses grow quickly to 4 or 5 feet in one season with no little twiggy bits in the centre .
BUSH ROSE (above): Each spring, tender new growth grows up from the ground in the centre of the bush and older canes move outward to make room. The new growth is weaker and often leans outward.
ROSES THAT FORM A STRUCTURE:
Roses that form a structure send new canes up from the base of the rose that branch off, then branch and/or fork again.
Each cane will branch into 2 or 3 other canes starting a couple of feet up from the base and keep branching. This builds layers and often creates lots of small, twiggy bits in the centre.
ROSE STRUCTURE:(above) These canes begin branching part way up each cane forming a layered structure that supports the blooms that grow at the tips. These roses take a few seasons to reach their full mature height. Floribundas grow this way.
Roses that climb send up long (main) canes from the base.They can grow to 10 or 20 feet and their first season but may not have many blooms until the next.
Climbers have tall main canes that, when persuaded to grow horizontally, will send out side shoots, called Lateral canes. These side shoots are where the blooms are.
So, height first season, then flowers.
CLIMBING ROSE (above): blooms on lateral or side canes.
Training the main canes to grow horizontally, will encourage side canes to bloom.