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Can't get rose climber to bloom

"I planted a rose climber about 4 years ago. It climbs on a trellis against my garage wall and gets the morning sun. It has NEVER bloomed in the whole time I've had it. I've watered and fed it but nothing works. What am I doing wrong?"
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

This is actually a fairly common problem with climbing roses in areas with cold winters. Most climbing roses bloom on what we call old wood. That means they'll bloom on the canes formed last year. And all too frequently, our harsh winter weather kills the canes back to shorter than knee high. When the old wood dies, so do this year's blooms. The solution is to protect those canes clear out to their tips during winter. I've pulled climbers from their supports, tied the canes together, and wrapped them in layers of burlap. It's a lot of work and makes for an odd-looking winter display, but it works. Some people tip their roses and bury the canes in the ground for winter, but that's not practical with the long canes of a climber. However, you could build a chicken wire "pen" around the rose for winter and fill the pen with fallen leaves. Then wrap the pen with burlap to offer some wind protection.

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