Experts and BHG readers answer.
Why won't my climbing rosebush bloom?
Some climbing roses bloom only on second-year stems. A complete lack of bloom on your climbing rose makes me suspect that you are losing or removing the stems before they reach blooming age. If you live in a cold climate, you may need to remove the climber from its trellis over the winter. Lay the stems down, cover them with soil, and mulch them to permit them to survive the winter and bloom the following year. Also, avoid early-season pruning of climbing roses that normally develop just one flush of bloom, except for removal of weak or diseased canes and canes that have already bloomed. Pruning out strong, healthy first-year canes means you're removing next year's potential blooms on these varieties. Poor flowering of your climbing roses could be due to a number of causes. Is your rose getting at least 6 hours of sunlight each day? That much is necessary in order to set flowers on most varieties. Are you fertilizing your rose with too much nitrogen? Nitrogen supports leafy growth instead of flower growth. Are you giving your rose 1 inch of water per week through rainfall or irrigation during the growing season? Moisture-stressed roses will not bloom well. Is your soil pH close to 6.5? Soil that's either highly acidic or highly alkaline may keep your rose from blooming.