Roses - Care Guide

Growing Rosa banksiae

Banksian roses

The varieties of climbing specie Banksian roses which we offer on our website are a bit different to many of the other shrub, hybrid tea, climbing and specie roses and perhaps deserve their own care and cultivation tips.

The first thing to appreciate is that apart from Rosa banksiae var. normalis (the single white flowering form which we have only occasionally offered) NONE of the Banksian roses have any prickles!

While we call Banksian roses ‘climbers’ they do need careful training up a wire or trellis support and annual tying in and trimming to keep them in place.

After a trip to exhibit at the Landriana flower show just south of Rome 25 years ago we brought back our first Rosa banksiae ‘Alba Plena’ which has small clusters of double white flowers and planted it on the front of Burncoose House. It is in full sun in poor soil and facing due south. It has now been contained at around 15ft and secured onto wires but still needs pruning each year. The long fleshy shoots of secondary new growth towards the end of the season need to be cut out, or certainly reduced in number, to encourage more flowering on the older growth right through the season. I have even seen a few flowers on this leafless plant in December and a new crop by early May. 

Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’, with its slightly smaller clusters of rosetted shaped double flowered yellow flowers, has been established and growing well on a high (hot and south facing) wall at Caerhays for at least two generations and is periodically thinned of older deadwood when its thick crown gets too thick with fewer flowers. Once every 15 years or so we cut it down completely to about 10ft in height to allow it to regenerate and grow back with far more flowers which it has done several times in the last 50 years.

Banksian roses need to be grown in fairly frost free locations on a wall or fence to avoid dieback from cold but they are the most spectacular of rose species with a long flowering season. Apart from the single white Banksian rose with the prickles the rest do not, unfortunately, have much scent.


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Growing Rosa rugosa

Hedgehog rose, Japanese rose, Ramanas rose These roses are vigorous, densely prickly and ideal as a low hedge of 3-5ft in height to deter neighbours’ cats and dogs as well as burglars. They have dark green leaves each composed of seven to nine oblong leaflets. It originates from Japan and NE Asia and has been growing in the UK since 1796. In the wild it suckers and spreads to form dense thickets; often on coastal shorelines. Since its arrival here countless hybrids have been bred to give this rose many coloured flowering forms. R. rugosa typically have single cupped and highly scented violet-carmine-red flowers with yellow stamens which appear singly or in clusters from summer through to autumn. Even before flowering has finished tomato shaped red or orange fruits or hips appear on the bushes and persist long into winter when the leaves have dropped. When growing this rose as a border hedge you will have to contain and remove its side shoots and suckers with a spade to keep it under control. If the hedge gets straggly it can readily be pruned down to ground level (with thick gloves) and it will quickly respond with a new set of multiple shoots. Burncoose offers a few of the many forms of R. rugosa: R. rugosa ‘Alba’ has large white cup flowers of up to 3in across which are pink in bud. R. rugosa ‘Blanche Double de Coubert’ has large semi-double white flowers from June to October and taller growth than most other rugosas. R. rugosa ‘Frau Dagmar Hastrup’ has a more compact habit and grows to around 5ft tall. Its flowers are pale rose-pink with cream stamens. R. rugosa ‘Roseraie de l’Hay’ – this is perhaps the best hedging form with the largest flowers. It has pointed purplish-red buds opening to rich crimson-purple with cream stamens. R. rugosa ‘Rubra’ has purplish red single flowers. (still needs images)

Dealing with rose rust - Video Tip

Pruning banksian rose - Video Tip

Dead heading roses - Video Tip

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