What is a Climbing Rose?

A climbing rose is a type of rose plant that has long, flexible canes that can be trained to grow vertically or horizontally along a support structure such as a trellis, fence, or wall. Unlike traditional rose bushes that tend to grow in a more compact and bushy manner, climbing roses have a more sprawling growth habit and can reach impressive heights, often exceeding 10 feet.

Types of Climbing Roses

There are several different types of climbing roses, each with its own unique characteristics and growth habits. Some popular types include:

Rambler Roses

Rambler roses are known for their vigorous growth and abundant clusters of small flowers. They typically have long, flexible canes that can be trained to grow horizontally or vertically. Rambler roses are often used to create a dramatic effect when trained to climb up walls or trellises.

Climbing Hybrid Tea Roses

Climbing hybrid tea roses are a cross between hybrid tea roses and climbing roses. They have the same large, high-centered flowers as hybrid tea roses but with longer canes that can be trained to climb. These roses are often prized for their beauty and fragrance.

English Roses

English roses, also known as David Austin roses, are a popular choice for climbers. They have a classic, old-fashioned look with full, cup-shaped flowers and a strong fragrance. English roses are known for their repeat blooming ability, which means they can produce flowers throughout the growing season.

Climbing Miniature Roses

Climbing miniature roses are a smaller version of climbing roses, with canes that are typically shorter and more compact. Despite their smaller size, they still produce an abundance of flowers and can be trained to climb just like their larger counterparts.

How to Grow Climbing Roses

Growing climbing roses requires careful planning and preparation. Here are some steps to follow:

Choose the Right Location

Climbing roses thrive in sunny locations with well-drained soil. Choose a spot that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. Avoid planting them too close to trees or other plants that may compete for nutrients and water.

Prepare the Soil

Before planting, prepare the soil by removing any weeds or grass and loosening it with a garden fork or tiller. Add organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure to improve the soil’s fertility and drainage.


Dig a hole that is wide and deep enough to accommodate the rose’s root ball. Place the rose in the hole, making sure the bud union (the swollen area where the rose was grafted onto the rootstock) is level with or slightly above the soil surface. Backfill the hole with soil, firming it gently around the roots.

Support Structure

Install a sturdy support structure such as a trellis, fence, or wall before planting the rose. This will provide the necessary support for the rose’s canes as they grow and climb. Make sure the support structure is securely anchored to prevent it from toppling over.

Pruning and Training

Prune climbing roses in late winter or early spring to remove dead or damaged wood and to shape the plant. Train the canes to grow along the support structure by tying them with soft plant ties or twine. As the rose grows, continue to tie the canes to the support structure to encourage upward growth.

Care and Maintenance

Climbing roses require regular watering, especially during dry periods. Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture and suppress weeds. Fertilize the roses in early spring and again in midsummer with a rose-specific fertilizer to promote healthy growth and abundant blooms.

Pest and Disease Control

Like all roses, climbing roses are susceptible to pests and diseases such as aphids, black spot, and powdery mildew. Monitor the plants regularly and take appropriate action at the first sign of trouble. This may include using organic pest control methods or applying fungicides as needed.


In conclusion, climbing roses are a beautiful and versatile addition to any garden. With their ability to grow vertically or horizontally, they can be used to create stunning displays on walls, fences, and trellises. By following the proper planting and care techniques, you can enjoy the beauty and fragrance of climbing roses for many years to come.