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I have a climbing rose that started life as a double, but after a couple of years started flowering as singles (in the same colour). What's the deal? And is there a way to get the doubling back?

  • Do you know the name of the rose? – Bamboo May 20 at 13:05
  • @Bamboo I'm afraid I don't. I bought them at B&Q advertised as "English Climbing Rose" and I'm afraid I was too much of an amateur at the time to think of retaining the label or writing anything down. "Put in ground. Add food. Add water. Something to do with pruning and tying." that was the extent of my knowledge at the time – David Hatton May 20 at 13:26
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You are not alone in failing to make a note of the varietal name of plants you put in! I asked because, if its a recently created rose, a newer variety, these sometimes don't hold the features they were sold as having, often reverting to a single form, or even a different shade of flower colour (peach to pink for instance).

The other possibility is that the variety you bought has died back because maybe the graft failed, and what you're getting now are stems growing off the rootstock, and when they flower, they are fairly plain, single, pink (usually) flowers, sometimes called 'dog rose'. Or you may be seeing flowers from suckers off the rootstock because that's taken over - when sucker growth occurs, it's important to remove it because it will take over and grow vigorously. You can tell if it's sucker growth - the stems always arise from below the nobbly bit at the base of the plant, often from below soil level - the nobbly bit is the graft, so anything growing from above that is the variety of rose you bought, anything below isn't.

You can add a photo if you're not sure, but either way, if the grafted part has died, you will not get double flowers again.

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  • The plant has certainly outgrown all the others from the same batch I bought, but it's coming from nodes rather than all the growth coming from the root stock. Also, the flowers are a gorgeous crimson (as they were when they were doubles). Interestingly, it also gives a higher flower-density than the other bushes (which are all still doubles). – David Hatton May 20 at 14:56
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    Okay, so seems like a genetic change that's occurred... it might change back, but you can't persuade it to; its likely to remain single flowered, but at least you're getting lots of them... – Bamboo May 20 at 15:38

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