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Rambling Roses - The Rambler types of roses are vigorous to the extent of being rampant!  

There is quite a bit of confusion as to what is the difference between Rambling and Climbing roses. This has been bought about in no small measure because very often both types are allowed to climb - ramble - at will and the resulting mess and tangle makes it virtually impossible to tell the subtle - and not so subtle - differences between the two very distinct groups.

 A quick way to tell the difference, is simply looking at the foliage. A Rambling - Rambler - rose has its leaves divided into seven leaflets, whilst the climbing rose has five leaflets. The rambler roses foliage tend to be glossy.

It is quite important to 'classify' the type of rose that you have in these cases, for they have different maintenance regimes.

The leaves of Rambling Roses have 7 leaflets
A rambling Rose with typical seven leaflets

The leaves of Climbing Roses have 5 leaflets
A Climbing Rose with typical five leaflets

Ramblers are generally more vigorous than climbers, and have stems which are far more pliable, very often resulting in long arching growths - whereas the climbing roses tend to grow rather rigidly upright. The blooms on Rambling Roses are always of the multi flowering 'Floribunda' habit, rather than the classical well-shaped HT type roses. So generally clusters of anywhere between 7 to 20 flowers - sometimes fully single - sometimes small doubles.

The rambling roses generally flower in mid summer, on short shoots emanating from second year (old) wood. For this reason, they are best growing over a wall or sturdy trellis.

Pruning Rambling Roses - Ramblers.

Pruning requirements for established rambling roses are >>> Summer right after flowering.
Cut out around one third of all old flowered stems at ground level. New shoots will soon grow from the base - but will take two years to provide the flowering stems that shoot out from these main 'branches'. Also cut back all flowered side shoots to within 3-4 buds from the main stems.

For newly planted rambling roses, then simply train the main stems to form basic framework, and cut back the side shoots from these stems to around 6in (15cm). After year 3, then treat as above also - by taking out one third of the old stems down to ground level.

There are fewer Rambling Rose varieties to choose from, but the ones that are available are the old tried favourites.

Adelaide d' Orleans; -Cupped semi-double; Light Pink; Scented

Alberic Barbier - Fully Double; Creamy White; Scented

Albertine - Fully Double; Salmon Pink; Sweet Scent

American Pillar - Single; Carmine Red; Slight scent

Dorothy Perkins - Rosette; Pink; Scented

Crimson Shower (Late) - Rosette; Crimson Red; Scented

Emily Grey - Loose double; Butter Yellow; Scented

How to prune Rambling Roses

By David Hughes - info@gardenseeker.com