Barren rose bush

by Sue
(Mechanicsville, VA)


Central Virginia plant is approximately seven years old has never blossomed or filled out just grows long and leggy

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by: Jacki Cammidge, Certified Horticulturist

Some roses are 'climbers' or 'ramblers'. These tend to grow long tendrilly stems, looking for something to lean on. Unlike other types of vines, they don't have real tendrils, holdfasts, or ways of twining. They pretty much depend on you to hook them on to a supporting structure.

If this is that type of rose, they do tend to wait until they get older to bloom, as they like their 'heads in the sun'.

Reasons for roses not to bloom: wrong type of soil/lack of certain nutrients, or too much of something (like Nitrogen).

Nitrogen forms the green growing parts of a plant, and tends to keep them vegetative. To get blooms, use something that has Phosphorus in it (like wood ashes).

Roses love compost made from horse manure, or even plain, fresh horse manure - my Dad was known for going out after horses went by our house with a shovel to 'get horse puckies for the roses'.

You can also try pruning it down a bit, to get it to be more compact and bushy. However, if this is a rambler or climbing type, you will never overcome that genetic background by forcing it into a shape that's not natural.

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by: Jacki Cammidge, Certified Horticulturist

In addition, in the picture, it shows a lot of moss growth. If it's shady, which moss loves, it's too shady for a rose to be happy. Move the rose, and make sure it gets at least six hours of sun a day in the summer, and, add some Dolomite lime to the soil.

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