Banksia rose

This lovely climbing rose is a popular addition to many gardens. The Banksia Rose, (Rosa banksiae) or Lady Banks Rose, originated in China, and is named after the wife of famous botanist Sir Joseph Banks.
An evergreen rose with few, if any, thorns, it is a dense climber to about 6 metres – perfect for covering a fence or pergola. Masses of creamy yellow or white flowers are produced on long canes from spring onwards. The flowers have a delicate fragrance, some say reminiscent of violets.
This vigorous rose needs a well-drained soil in full sun or part shade where it won’t crowd out other plants. First fill the planting hole with water. This is important for two reasons. How quickly the hole drains indicates whether drainage is good or you will need to plant the rose in a raised mound. If the surrounding soil is not damp when you transplant, the water you apply after planting will be drawn away from the root ball into the surrounding dry soil, and the plant will look stressed several days after planting. The addition of compost to the planting hole, and a 5 cm layer of organic mulch to the soil surface, is very beneficial. Keep the mulch one hand width from the stem.
It is a hardy plant but it should be watered weekly for the first couple of months after planting if weather is dry. Then, only water when the top centimetre of soil is dry.
Climbing roses are pruned after flowering. Banksia roses are usually pruned by late summer when the main flowering flush has finished. As these roses flower on last season’s wood, just remove any damaged canes, and shorten the rest of the canes by one third. Hard pruning results in no flowers next spring. Prune new roses during First Quarter phase when sap flow is higher and growth response will be faster.

8 Replies to “Banksia rose”

  1. I have 2 established banksia roses (1xwhite 1xyellow). I’ve removed the trellis they were on as it was collapsing and had to cut them back to ground level. Will they come back from such a harsh pruning?
    I honestly don’t know, Diane. This rose blooms from old wood and experts advise avoiding severe pruning of old branches. You haven’t said where you live, so I don’t know what conditions your area is experiencing. As a perennial, Banksia roses can store carbs for growth in their root system and may produce shoots from the base. I would say keep the soil around it just damp, and keep your fingers crossed.

  2. I am looking for a screening vine to grow across high tension wires to screen out neighbours over the back fence. There is a currently a lilly pilly hedge that is about a metre high to the fence height.
    We live in Brisbane and the area is 3.5 metres long. We are looking for something that would grow about 2.5 to 3 metres tall and be reasonably dense. Where we are intending to plant it would most likely put it in a very large pot in the ground to give it protection from other plants that steal the moisture (there was bamboo close by). Would the Banksia Rose be suitable for this?

    According to what I can find, a Banksia Rose should grow happily in Brisbane.

  3. Would it be possible to grow a banksia rose in terra-cotta or concrete containers
    The idea is to have it grow up the front walls around windows of a unit that has only a cement/concrete footpath in front of the windows and it is in order to soften the wall spaces between these windows. Most of the ground soil in other areas is clay.
    There is a climbing banksia rose climbing well along a side fence from the ground.
    So, this is the reason for considering this plant to grow in other areas of the residence. Live in western suburbs of Adelaide. Thank you.

    Shoma, Banksia Rose is not a plant that I would recommend for growing in a pot as it is very vigorous (7-8 metre) and would need a decent sized root system to provide the coverage you are hoping for. It also blooms on old wood, so in order not to cover the windows or interfere with use of the footpath, pruning required would very probably drastically reduce flowering. This plant does better in soil with organic matter added and allowed to form its free-arching shape.
    If you want to try growing it in a very large pot, large terracotta and concrete pots commonly have only one hole in the base, and the pot would need to be kept off the pavement using briquettes to ensure good drainage.

  4. Is the Banksia Rose toxic to stock? Am wishing to grow it on a fence that separates the house yard from the paddocks. The animals that have access to the fence are: horses, sheep, deer, cattle and kangaroo? Thanking you in advance.

    It is not included in any lists that I searched Fiona, but I would check with a Vet who cares for livestock. I was recently warned by my Vet that the Sago Palm is poisonous to animals, although that doesn’t appear on these lists, either. Best to be on the safe side.

  5. We have an elderly white banksia rose growing on a west facing fence that used to bloom madly every spring and summer. Over the last few year it has not been doing as well despite pruning, feeding and watering. It is probably 20 yrs old. This year it has a few leaves and buds so far but I have had to take off quite a few dead branches. We live in southern Victoria on the coast and it has been a cool, damp spring and none of the roses on the shadier parts of the garden are doing well but this one is particularly sad! Thanks for any advice Silke
    It could be water-logged soil if other roses aren’t doing well as roses like sunny positions, or collar rot, or old age. You haven’t said what sort of fertiliser you have used, or when you pruned it. It is difficult to identify the source of the problem with the information you have provided.

  6. I recently bought a home in Hobart and there is a banksia rose at the back of the garden that is about 6 cubic metres large. There’s a significant amount of dead wood underneath and it takes up so much space. I’d love to prune it back but the advice a lot of people are giving me is to remove it and then put in a smaller trained one. Any advice?

    It is quite common for these roses to reach 6 metres, so they are best grown over a pergola or where they will not crowd other plants. Cutting it back hard will remove the wood where flowers form. As the post above indicates, now is not a good time to prune it. You might be best to remove it and plant another one where its mature size won’t cause a problem.

  7. Hello, I live on a farm in Victoria, we only have bore water, I’d like a rose to climb up an old verandas. Would the banksia be tough enough for our conditions, or too tough for a verandah? Many thanks.

    Hi Heather, the vigorous growth of the Banksia Rose is very suitable for verandahs and pergolas, and it does grow in Victoria. Bore water is merely ground water. Some can be high in calcium and magnesium, others can be salty. It depends on how your other plants respond to your bore water. Make sure your planting spot has good drainage and compost mixed into the planting soil, and check your soil pH (6.5 is perfect). The humus in mature compost and a suitable pH prevent plants from absorbing excess amounts of particular nutrients. – Lyn

  8. Hello, I have a yellow banksia rose and live in Victoria. Do I leave those really really long canes or do I prune them off? Thank you

    Barbara, if you have a lot of very long canes, you can remove some of them to thin out growth. First remove any dead canes, then those that are damaged. Then, as it says in the post above, shorten the remaining canes by one third so that you don’t lose next season’s flowers.

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