My climbing roses tend to bush instead of growing upward. How can I make them climb?
—Jason Simon, Wauwatosa, WI
First, are you sure they’re climbers? Some of the popular Canadian-bred Explorer roses, such as ‘William Baffin’, ‘John Davis’, and ‘John Cabot’, are not true climbers, even though they’re sold as climbers. Instead, they send out long canes that may be trained upward.
Second, do you have trellises or supports for your roses? They won’t climb up a wall or fence on their own. Give them some help by weaving them in and around a support. Attach the upright stems to the trellis using plant twist ties, clips, or soft cloth such as pieces of old pantyhose legs.