Hot pink climbing rose

Pruning roses: when to make the cut

Knowing when to prune roses is has to be one of the most common gardening quandaries of all time. To some less experienced gardeners it might seem unimportant when you decide to make that cut, and indeed, where. However, the moment you choose to prune your roses can be the difference between a healthy long lasting plant that produces multiple buds and flowers, and one that might not last the winter.

This bite-sized guide will hopefully go some way to explaining the importance of rose pruning, dispelling some myths and help you to better take care of your rose plants.

Why do you need to prune roses?

Before we go into when to prune roses and how to prune roses, we should first explain the reasons why it is important to prune roses at all. You might think roses and many plants in general can fend for themselves without much human intervention, and this is true on the whole. However, pruning and other small maintenance tasks can help plants to grow to their optimum and possibly last longer than they would if just left to their own devices.

The act of cutting a rose branch helps the plant to produce a hormone called ‘auxin’. This growth hormone is present in the main stem of most plants and pruning sends it to the freshly cut stem and encourages it to produce new shoots.

Pruning roses also helps to control the size and shape of your rose plant while ensuring it’s health and flowering capabilities.

When to prune roses

The majority of roses are pruned between late winter, during February and early March, but this normally depends on your climate and where you are in the UK.

In the south you are safest to prune roses in late February just as the new growth begins on rose plants. If you live in the north and other colder areas of the UK we would recommend waiting until March after last frosts before pruning roses.

If you are deciding when to prune a ground cover rose for example, it is always prudent to wait until after it has finished flowering. Miniature roses or shrubs can be pruned during the summer months.

Climbing and rambling roses are different

You can’t tar all rose varieties with the same brush though. Different types of rose will need to be pruned at different times of the year and in slightly different ways.

Climbers are happy with a late autumn and/or early winter pruning to keep them neat and tidy and flowering well. Whereas ramblers prefer pruning in late summer after their flowers have died out.

During autumn and winter there are less leaves on your climbing and rambling rose plants, making it easier to prune more accurately.

How to prune roses

Make a cut up to 5mm above an existing bud with a clean pair of sharp gardening shears, any more than this and your plant might find it difficult to produce new growth from this stem. It is very important to angle your cut away from the plant as this prevents rain water from collecting and dripping towards it causing disease.

If you are looking for an open shape then concentrate your pruning on the outward facing rose buds. If you would prefer an upright growth shape then prune above the inward facing buds.

On an older, well established rose you can afford to use a bit of tough love. Cut out the woody stems that do not produce flowers. You can use a small saw for this if the stems are very thick.

What if I don’t know what type of rose I have?

If you are unable to identify the type of rose plant you are about to prune there are a few ways around your dilemma. Climbing or rambling roses tend to have long stems and you should aim to cut the older woody stems low down at the base of the rose plant.

The smaller rose bushes and shrubs have much more delicate stems and pruning should again be as low to ground level as possible. You can prune newer or greener stems and these bark covered shoots should be cut at the sides.

Either way, if you are in any doubt about when to prune roses, stick to February to March, the most common pruning time for roses.

Pruning Methods
(also consult the American Rose Society : Pruning)

Annual heavy pruning is essential to insure the prolific bloom and long-life of a rose bush.

Explaining the concept of rose pruning without a live bush to demonstrate on is difficult, so let your mind loose to help visualize the following steps in rose pruning.

Pruning of roses is actually done year round. Every time you cut off old blooms and remove twiggy growth you are actually promoting new growth. There are two times a year when you prune more seriously, spring and fall.

You will need the following items:

  • a good pair of hand pruners (preferably the scissor type, not anvil type)
  • a sharp keyhole saw and large loppers
  • a heavy pair of leather gloves
  • a pruning compound
  • a dull knife.

Steps to Pruning Roses – Spring

Spring pruning in South Central is normally done between the third week of February and-the first week of March. The length of time taken for a bush to bloom depends on the number of petals in the bloom and how deeply it has been pruned. For multi-petalled roses, the spring blooming can take as long as 60-70 days, while fewer petalled varieties can take 35-40 days. Weather is also a factor in bloom cycles. Cool and warmer temperatures will weather will lengthen these periods cause the soil to heat up faster and blooming to occur sooner.

  1. The first step in spring pruning of Hybrid Teas, Grandifloras, Floribundas and Climbing roses is to remove any canes that are dead or just old and non-productive. These canes are usually gray in color and scaley. To prune hybrid tea and grandiflora roses follow certain principles including:
    • High pruning for more flowers earlier or low pruning for fewer, bigger flowers later
    • Pruning to remove weak and crisscrossing canes
    • Removing growth an inch below a canker
    • Removal of damaged, dead, or broken canes back to healthy growth
    • Removing sucker growth as close as possible to main root.

    This pruning will encourage future “basal” breaks which are the life blood of any rose bush. Basal breaks refer to new shoots, soon to be producing canes, which arise from the graft union. These should not be confused with “suckers” which arise from the rootstock below the graft union. Remove all suckers.

  2. The next step involves taking a good look at the bud union. If you have any old, dry scaley wood on the union, remove it. Use the dull knife to scrape the bud union to remove the scaley wood. By doing this it will again make it possible for new basal breaks to come about.
  3. Beginning to fine tune the pruning, remove all twiggy growth on the remaining canes. (Note: The fine tune pruning on climbing roses should be done after they bloom in the spring.) Try to clean out the middle of the bush as much as possible. This allows for good air circulation to prevent insects and disease.
  4. Now you are ready to prune on the good healthy canes. With the early flush of growth on the roses the most important procedure this year is to prune each cane back to a dormant bud. A bud that has already begun growth will continue to grow vigorously and bloom very little. A dormant, non-growing bud will initiate growth after pruning and will produce an abundance of blooms.

    One comment always heard is to “prune to an outside bud.” The basic technique for most pruning is to cut 1/4 inch above the nearest outward-facing bud with the cut at a 45-degree angle (the higher point above the bud). This means when picking the point on a given cane to cut back to, make sure there is a good bud on the cane facing toward the outside of the plant. This will insure the growth of the new bud is to the outside, therefore keeping the center of the rose bush clear and open for air circulation.

    Another guideline in pruning back an individual cane is to cut the cane at the point when the diameter of the cane is the size of a pencil or slightly larger. Because of the need to prune back to a dormant bud, the size of the cane may be larger and the cane length may be shorter.

    If old and large canes have been removed to the bud union, it is a good practice to seal these large cuts. This helps prevent insects and diseases from infecting the cuts. Smaller canes in many cases don’t need to be sealed. Use some sort of sealing compound such as orange shellac or even Elmer’s glue.

  5. When pruning is completed remove any old foliage left on the canes and spray with a mixture of Funginex or Benomyl and Orthene or Diazinon as a clean up spray. Spray the entire bush and the ground around the bush.
  6. The final product of your pruning should be a rose bush about 18 to 24 inches tall with 4 to 8 canes. Add some fertilizer and regular pest spraying, and that pitiful looking rose bush will soon give you a shower of flowers.

Floribundas are usually not pruned as severely as hybrid teas. Even so, be sure to remove any dead, broken, damaged, or blotched branches back to where the pith, or center of the cane, is white and healthy looking. Next, remove weak, spindly canes, canes growing toward the center of the bush, the weaker of two canes that crisscross, canes that grow out, then up, and suckers, if any. Finally, trim all remaining canes back to one-half their former height.

Miniatures – In the spring it is best to cut miniatures almost down to the ground ( i.e., 2 to 3 inches). Moreover, if they are over three years old it is a good idea to divide them by cutting the whole plant in half or more. Be sure to leave some roots on each division.

Old-Fashioned (Antique) and Shrubs – Remove any dead canes and lightly trim remainder of bush, removing about a third of the growth. Mass blooming is the aim with these roses. Additional light grooming throughout the year is encouraged since everblooming varieties bloom on new wood. Varieties that bloom only once during the season should be pruned AFTER they have bloomed since they bloom on old wood.

General – If the bush is over two years old, cut out one or more of the oldest and largest canes using a keyhole saw. Also, clean off the bud union with a dull knife. Seal any large cuts with Elmer’s glue or shellac. Remove debris from beds and any leaves remaining on bush after pruning is completed.

Steps to Pruning Roses – Fall

The fall pruning is lighter than in the spring and consists of removing twiggy and unproductive growth along with any crossing or dead canes. All foliage is left on the bush at this time. Labor Day is a good time to do the fall “grooming.”

Climbers are not pruned in the same manner as Hybrid Teas. To encourage growth of more flowering laterals and stimulate production of new canes, you should not cut back long canes unless they are outgrowing the allotted space. Varieties differ in this respect since some will produce new canes from the base each year, while others build up a woody structure and produce long, new canes from a position higher up on the plant. Thus, when pruning, the following practices are recommended:

Everblooming varieties — Cut back to two or three bud eyes all laterals that bore flowers during the past year. Remove any dead, diseased or twiggy growth. For established plants, oldest canes are removed annually at the base. Remaining canes are repositioned and secured, if necessary. For routine maintenance, remove all spent blooms and cut back to a strong bud eye. Canes are tied in place as they mature. Avoid attempting to do this before the wood matures, as soft tender growth is easily broken off.

Ramblers and once blooming varieties – These types should be pruned after blooming as they will normally bloom on year old wood. Thus, after spring bloom, cut out old, unproductive wood and weak canes.

A good practice is to avoid severe pruning for the first two or three years after planting, as it takes this long for most climbers to mature. During this period, remove all dead and weak canes and spent blooms (in some instances, climbers will bloom very little for the first couple of years). New canes of most climbers should be trained horizontally to encourage the growth of flowering laterals. Strips of old pantyhose make good “ties”. Pillar roses will grow and bloom upright.

Summer Care of Roses

Summer is the most important time of the year for continued care of rose bushes. Most people have a tendency to slack off due to an increase in other activities. For bushes to be healthy and productive, they must have water. One to two inches a week is generally recommended. Keep an eye on beds next to a fence or house, even after a good rainfall there is an excellent possibility they will still be dry. Maintain a systematic spray program. To maintain moisture in beds, keep mulch on the beds.

Fungus diseases are not as prevalent in the summer months. Blackspot and powdery mildew, however, can be a problem if a regular spray program is not maintained. The spray interval can be lengthened to 10-14 days if we are having the hot, dry summer that we usually can expect in this area.

A regular spray program for insects is not necessary. Too much spray is harmful to the plants, so only spray when insects are present. Thrip are persistent warm weather insects. For control of these pests, start spraying the buds every couple of days, prior to sepals coming down, with Orthene or Cygon. If this doesn’t eliminate them, continue spraying after the bloom has opened as these insecticides will not harm the petals. The spider mite is another warm weather invader, which, if left unchecked, will cause the leaves to eventually shrivel and fall off. Some degree of control can be obtained by using an insecticidal soap spray or water washing the underside of the foliage every three days or so with a hard spray of water.

Continual light feeding of roses during the summer months is recommended in this area. if using a granular food, use monthly. During the hottest months, a weaker solution of liquid food may be used.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Mar 4th, 2011

There’s A Lot of Pruning Going On in the Rose Garden!

by Brenda Brown

by Brenda Brown, PR & Marketing Intern, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Visit the Garden this week and you will most likely see rose beds that are being prepared for this spring. You might be wondering why roses are being pruned so early and you may be thinking that fluctuating weather should be a deterrent for pruning roses right now. There are a few things you may not know about the Rose Garden at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden — like there are 2,000 roses that need to be pruned by blooming time.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Rose Gardener Jay Austin

Jay Austin working the rose beds.

I walked out to one of the rose beds and found Jay Austin, the rose gardener, clipping away with his shears. I asked Jay about why he was pruning and what methods he used. He says that typically, you want to start pruning when the buds begin to swell (typically early march, but depends on weather.) He added that here at the Garden we can’t wait that long, because there are so many roses! No worries though, because he says that if we get another frost he’ll just cut back the wood of the roses taking off any damaged places. Jay has a method of pruning which allows air flow and sun to reach through and around the middle of each rose. Lucky for you, he patiently showed me exactly how to look for new wood and how to get rid of the old, and I’m going to share it with you.
Jay says when you cut back roses, it helps to remember that the more air and light they can get the happier they will be. Happy roses mean healthy, big and showy blooms. Also, a good pruning encourages strong new growth and thicker stems toward the top of the plant. He encourages pruners not to be timid when pruning back. One should look for any wood that is obviously old or damaged and cut it out. Also look for other opportunities to cut, opening up the mid-section of the plant for sun and air flow. This aggressive pruning helps the plant to send up new, stable, thick and healthy wood.

A pruned rose bed (he’s leaving those in the center for last).

Jay’s goal for pruning is to have all 2,000 roses dressed and ready in time for Orchids Galore! on March 12 and is sure to bring scores of visitors. I asked Jay about the different roses at the Garden. Jay explained to me that Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s goal when planning the Rose Garden was to have the best type of roses visitors could enjoy during spring, summer and fall. The criteria for roses in the Garden was to include disease resistant, and re-bloomers (fall bloomers) with showy and fragrant flowers. The Garden wanted roses that have all the benefits of disease resistance but don’t sacrifice the fragrance. David Austin (no relation to Jay Austin), who sells English Roses, has helped Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden find some of those. Other featured roses are classics that happen to be extremely fragrant hybrids, Chrysler Imperial and Mr. Lincoln, are examples here in the Garden.

The unique design of the Rose Garden greets the visitor with meandering 6-foot-wide walkways, allowing the visitor to get close to the blooming roses. The intentional design of color schemes in the rose beds adds unique color-blending aspects. The central oval lawn is planted in whites and creams, with pinks, purples and reds building gradually in intensity to the right side of the bed and yellows, apricots and oranges create a different color proliferation on the left side of the central garden. In addition to the fragrant and beautiful display, the garden teaches about rose breeding and culture. The rose gardens are the longest-blooming flowering plants in the Garden and will provide a long season of interest and color long after the first blooming in early May.

Jay Austin, pruning the roses.

I asked Jay what they next process is after pruning is complete to prepare the roses for blooming season. He explained that he will feed the roses an organic slow-release fertilizer meant only to prepare the roses and the soil for more intentional fertilizing that will encourage growth and blooming when the time is right.
The FYI’s of the Rose Garden also provides great information about rose varieties and how to plant, grow and maintain roses (you can also pick it up at the front desk of the Garden’s Robins Visitor Center.) Next time you visit, don’t miss the beautifully-framed views across the lake. From this vantage point you can also see an under-planting of April flowering azaleas framing the view to the lake and bridge throughout the growing season. Thousands of blooming roses are pruned and now wait to wow you with their show-stopping performance on nature’s stage right here at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.

Note: If you love roses, you may want to save the date for the Richmond Rose Society Show at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden on May 28- 29.

10 Best Climbing Roses


So, you want to clothe a rose arch with beautiful roses to create a romantic pleasure in your garden … just a few small issues before we start to select the right rose for your location – think about your priorities relative to colour, fragrance, type of rose flower, etc. and then, how big is the arch? To enable you to enjoy many years of joy from this flowering spectacle in your garden, it is imperative that you select the right rose to suit the size of your arch and we recommend the walkway be around 2 metres wide so that two people can walk comfortably abreast and not be ‘caught’ by the roses – small, flimsy arches are totally inadequate for most roses … the rose will be there for more than 20 years and deserves a structure that will support it!

Then you come to deciding on the colour – here are a few of my recommendations in each different colour range …
PALE PINK – ‘NAHEMA’ – Highly, highly fragrant large flowers continually with lots of canes and mid-green healthy foliage
MID-PINK ‘PINKIE’ – One of the most floriferous climbing roses with thornless canes and dense, lush green, healthy foliage
DARK PINK ‘GUY SAVOY’ – My ‘happy, smiling rose’ … large blooms with slashes of white through the dark pink – highly recommended rose!
DARK RED ‘GUINEA’ – Darkest red, fragrant and totally free-flowering rose suitable for climbing over an arch
RED-RED ‘SYMPATHIE’ – Very free flowering and very healthy with medium sized blooms in clusters
CRIMSON ‘DORTMUND’ – The healthiest foliage graces the abundant single blooms and great Autumn hip production
LEMON-WHITE ‘LAMARQUE’ – Lemon centred pure white blooms over a long season – fragrant and glorious mid-green healthy foliage
BLUSH-WHITE ‘SEA FOAM’ – Amazingly prolific rose producing clusters of flat blooms with masses of petals – glossy dark green foliage
PURE WHITE ‘ICEBERG’ – Very prolific blooming throughout the season with mid-green, healthy foliage
MAUVE ‘BLUE MOON’ – Free-flowering, highly fragrant perfect blooms continually
DARK MAUVE ‘RHAPSODY-IN-BLUE’ – Stunning fragrant blooms with yellow stamens – exceedingly healthy and free-flowering
YELLOW ‘GOLD BUNNY’ – The first and last with flowers and flowers throughout the season too! Stunning yellow climbing rose!
GOLD ‘GOLDEN CELEBRATION’ – Luscious large blooms with high fragrance bloom freely throughout the season
GOLD-RED ‘JOSEPH’S COAT’ – Masses of blooms throughout the season – eye-catching magnificence!
ORANGE ‘WESTERLAND’ – Fragrant blooms continually with shiny dark green, very healthy foliage
APRICOT ‘CREPUSCULE’ – Massive clusters of blooms continually throughout the season – lush healthy foliage
APRICOT-PINK ‘ABRAHAM DARBY’ – One of the most beautiful, charming and fragrant climbing roses flowering throughout the season

Above are just some of the many magnificent climbers which are suitable for an arch in your garden.


CREPUSCULE – Apricot clusters continually
RENAE – Pale pink clusters of highly fragrant blooms continually
PINKIE – Mid-pink clusters continually
ICEBERG – Pure white medium blooms continually
MADAME ALFRED CARRIERE – Blush white – first and last to bloom, highly fragrant – suited to planting with clematis
VEILCHENBLAU – Dark purple rambler flowering only in Spring

PILLAR ROSES which are suitable for climbing on fences or walls – these roses reach a certain height and have a fan-like growth habit:

DUBLIN BAY – The most free-flowering pillar rose with glowing red, lightly fragrant blooms continually – extremely healthy!
HIGH HOPES – Mid-pink perfectly shaped blooms continually throughout the season – light fragrance – suitable for the vase
PIERRE DE RONSARD – Heavily petalled cream with pink edged blooms throughout the season
TEASING GEORGIA – Clotted-creamy yellow/apricot blooms in flushes of pure magnificence splayed on a wall!
ALTISSIMO – Bright red, single blooms with yellow stamens – a real ‘in-your-face’ spectacle in the rose garden
TWILIGHT GLOW – Huge pale apricot blooms continually with luscious mid-green very healthy foliage
CYMBELINE – Highly, highly fragrant blooms with swirling mass of grey-pink blooms throughout the season

RAMBLING ROSES – many of which mostly only flower in the Spring with light flowering in the Autumn but deserve a place where space permits because for six weeks you will experience the pure bliss and romance of magnificence which only the rambling roses can deliver:
ALBERTINE – Swirled mass of pinky-apricot blooms in proliferation on a thorny, healthy and rampant rose
MME. GREGOIRE STAECHLIN – Highly fragrant, mid-pink waved petalled blooms of extraordinary beauty – great hips in the Autumn
VEILCHENBLAU – Dark mauve clusters with yellow stamens adorn the rambler so that you can barely see the foliage
WEDDING DAY – Masses of pure-white single blooms in clusters – lush, glossy healthy foliage – thorny
MERMAID – Large, single cream blooms adorn this massive rambling rose spasmodically throughout the season – reverse hooked thorns
NEW DAWN – Pale-pin clusters of medium sized blooms continually throughout the flowering season – thorny beast
NANCY HAYWOOD – Single-petalled, dark-pink blooms reliably continual in good conditions – amazing sight in full bloom
LORRAINE LEE, CLG. – Muddy-pink roses flowering when every other rose is not flowering – tendency to mildew if cloistered!

And, of course, there are more climbing roses for you to consider which might be perfect for the location in your garden where you wish to plant a rose to protect your yard from intruders – use the most thorny! You want to screen the neighbours – use a rose which produces the most lush, healthy foliage! A shade screen for the dog-run … masses of flowers and healthy foliage all season!

To be successful in having the climbing rose do what you require it to do in your rose garden, I recommend you speak with us, Consulting Rosarians who we have the knowledge to ensure that you get exactly the right rose to suit your individual situation!

Introduction to Climbing Roses

Patsy Cunningham

The subject of climbing roses could be the study of a lifetime. There is more variety of growth habit, size, pruning needs and possibilities of location for climbing roses than any other type. So the purpose of this article is to interest you in adding a climber or two to your rose garden and give you some of the basics of choosing and caring for this climber.


A full-grown climber, full of blooms in June, is a wonderful sight. Its height lifts your eyes from the earth (which might have weeds) to the more beautiful backdrop of the sky. Climbers change your garden from a two dimensional flatland to the full use of the space you have, all three dimensions. “They add movement, texture and color at various heights; soften straight lines, accentuate curves; create depth; and provide a feeling of abundance.”5 Climbing roses can be used by the cottage gardener, with natural unstudied growth on walls and fences; as well a by the most rigidly formal gardener who can carefully train them on chains and tunneling arches.

Climbing roses are ideal as well for gardeners who wish to grow more than roses in their yards. “Companions in any walk of life are best if they provide contrast or complement.”8 Blue or purple clematis vines are beautiful twining through a climbing rose and add a color not found in roses. You might think blue morning glories would do the same thing cheaper and easier, but morning glories take over the rose bush and re-seed themselves relentlessly. Lower growing perennials can be grown at the base of climbers, where there is often a area of bare canes. Daylilies work well, providing a contrast of leaf type and bloom time, without being invasive. They come in thousands of varieties and tend to have peak bloom in mid July and early August when roses may be languishing.

Another reason to add a climber to your garden is that “climbing roses are much less affected by pests and diseases than other roses.”5 This may be partly because most of the leaves are high enough to prevent blackspot spores from being splashed on them from the ground. Growing far above the earthbound roses also gives them more air and light, great for their health. This is not universally true of course. Dorothy Perkins and some other ramblers have a strong tendency to mildew, mainly when overgrown. A climber grown right against a wall can have a tendency to disease, due to inadequate air circulation.


“If ever a climbing rose is a disappointment…it is usually because the right type has not been chosen for a particular purpose.”11 First, be certain that the rose you choose is hardy for your area. The idea of winter protecting tender climbers by taking them down from their supports and burying them sounds too much like work to me. Even the method of taking evergreen boughs and tying them onto the climber’s branches to protect it from the wind and cold is a daunting task if you have more than a couple of these roses. If it can’t survive our weather, shovel-prune it. Here in Rhode Island we are mainly zone 6. This keeps us from growing most of the Teas and Noisettes that will not tolerate the low temperatures of anywhere colder than zone 7. Generally, climbing sports of hybrid teas and floribundas are not as hardy as a climber that is not a sport. Where you might tolerate winter kill on a hybrid tea bush, but save the base of the plant by mounding it in manure; you would lose almost the whole plant if the same thing happened to a climber. You would then be set back at least 2 years.

The mature size of a climber is one of the most important things to be considered when choosing a rose for a particular spot. Paul’s Himalayan Musk, a well-known rambler, could not be grown on a pillar or even an average size arch. It easily reaches 30 feet in height and is best suited for climbing into a tree or swallowing an old structure that you’d like disguised. Be aware that a climber grown on the side of a house will grow taller than the same one grown on a separate support.

Growth habits and rebloom are next on the list. Some climbers, like Altissimo, are very stiff, and are unsuitable for much training. Others, like the ramblers, grow such flexible canes that they can be twisted and looped into any shape. Modern roses rebloom sporadically through the summer after a main flush in the spring. Most modern gardeners would dismiss a once bloomer without a thought, feeling that a rebloomer must be far superior. In fact, a once blooming climbing rose or rambler often produces quantities of bloom far in excess of any repeat bloomer and is a spectacular sight. We have the once blooming fragrant Madame Gregoire Steaechlin in our garden, sent to us by mistake from a mail order nursery instead of a repeat bloomer, and we wouldn’t want to do without it.

Madame Gregoire Staechlin

You’ll probably be glad to know that there are quite a few climbers that tolerate part shade. “Most of the Hybrid Musk Roses (which can be trained as small 6′-10′ climbers), including Buff Beauty, Lavender Lassie, Kathleen, and Cornelia, will tolerate up to a half day of shade.”6 We have Golden Showers growing and blooming well on the north side of our house. Climbing Iceberg, which is hardy despite being a climbing sport, does well for us in an area shaded by trees for at least half the day. One of advantages of climbers that I’ve found is that they can occupy the ecological niche in our yard near a solid fence. A bush would not thrive, being shaded by the fence; but once the climber grows a bit above the fence it can take off, since now it is exposed to the sun.

Following are some excellent choices for a climbing rose in your garden.

New Dawn: One of the most reliably hardy and healthy climbers and a best seller since its introduction in 1930. It has the distinction of being the first plant in the world to be patented. It is an ever-blooming sport of “Dr. Van Fleet”, a hardy Wichuriana hybrid. It is a double flower, pale pink in color, with a mild old rose scent. The foliage is shiny and very healthy, and can be grown without spraying. Give it plenty of room, because once established (about 3 years) “it can quickly outgrow any space allotted to it,”5 and canes can easily reach 15 feet. It is easy to grow, resistant to pests and can even be grown in as little as 4 or 5 hours of sun a day. New Dawn and its descendants must be deadheaded differently than the average ever-blooming climber. Just pinch off the dead bloom, as new buds develop directly behind these and will be lost if you prune back the lateral. ARS rating 8.5.

New Dawn

Sombreuil: This is classified as a climbing tea, bred in 1850 and therefore eligible for Dowager Queen in a show . You may hear arguments that what is now being sold as Sombreuil is actually a newer rose called Colonial White, but this does not make this rose less beautiful. It has flat, perfectly formed creamy white blooms with an old garden rose appearance. It is quartered with a “button” eye. The bloom can be tinged with pink or yellow, and will hold its color better if given partial shade, with five or six hours of sun.5 It is very hardy and once established, quite vigorous. Because it can bloom on new growth, it produces plenty of blooms in the fall as well.2 It can be from 8-13 feet tall when mature. The long canes can be trained in many shapes. ARS rating 8.8

Altissimo: This rose is incomparable, literally and figuratively. There just is no other rose with the combination of rich blood red color accented with bright golden stamens and extremely heavy velvet substance. It is a very large single bloom, about 5 inches across, growing on tall, upright, very stiff canes. It has only a light scent, described as clove. The individual blooms seem to last forever on the plant, although they are most beautiful on the first day of their bloom when the stamens are bright and fresh. If not trained as the shoot is growing, it soon becomes far too rigid to train. A fan shape will work well with this climber5, so that the blooms do not form only at the tips of the long 10-foot canes. Hard pruning of older growth will encourage new vigorous basal shoots. It is very hardy and disease resistant. ARS rating 8.5


Dublin Bay: This rose is a good choice for a moderately sized climber, taking several years to reach its 8 to12 foot mature height. It has bright rich red blooms about 4 inches across with about 25 petals. It is hardy and has shiny dark green disease resistant foliage. ARS rating 8.5.

Dublin Bay

Jeanne LaJoie: This is the best climbing mini and indeed one of the best of any type climber. It is covered with rich pink miniature blooms in great profusion in the spring and fall, with good rebloom in between. It is disease resistant and easily propagated. It takes several years to become well established then takes off and can reach up to 15 feet, although it can be pruned to keep it in a smaller area. ARS rating 9.3.

Jeanne Lajoie

Don’t be afraid to order an interesting climber by mail or internet. Since climbing roses are vigorous growers by nature, even the little own root roses that you can order this way will quickly establish themselves. A couple of my favorites that can’t be bought locally are Summer Wine and the Impressionist, both available from Heirloom Roses.13 Summer Wine has a scent like green apples, thin flexible canes, vigorous growth and single flowers of ever changing pink and peach shades with red stamens. The Impressionist is a stiffer climber, with “English” style blooms of almost egg yolk colored centers, shading to creamsicle and then a shade of pink (really). It has a myrrh fragrance. Both are disease resistant. Roses Unlimited14 also carries a large selection of own root climbers, including Climbing Crimson Glory (deep red black and a wonderful strong fragrance) and City of York (fragrant single white blooms, once bloomer).

City of York

Summer Wine


If you enjoy exhibiting roses as well as growing them there are additional factors to be aware of. Some climbing roses are more attractive in a vase than others and are more likely to show well. For the last couple of years, two roses have been far more likely to win Best of Class: Fourth of July and Altissimo. America was a consistent third. The rest of the top ten for 2000-2001 included Clair Matin, Dublin Bay ,Berries ‘n’ Cream, Rosarium Uetersen, Don Juan, Joseph’s Coat, Pearly Gates and New Dawn.9 This does not preclude less well-known climbers from winning, as a well grown rose of any variety is judged on its own merits.

When judging, the judge has to take into consideration the growth characteristics of different climbers. “Specimens must be shown on the current years growth and therefore may have stems too short to balance the exhibit properly…should not be penalized too severely for its lack of balance.”1 One bloom per stem exhibits are judged by the standards for hybrid teas, while clusters are judged by the standards for floribundas.

Be careful not to enter climbing hybrid teas, climbing floribundas or other climbing sports of bush roses in this class. They should be entered “just as if the word climbing did not appear before the classification.”1 Care should also be taken to look up your variety in Modern Roses XI, the Combined Rose List or other reference to determine if your “climber” is really considered to be a shrub instead. Westerland and Sally Holmes are 2 very tall shrubs that come to mind.


The choices for supporting a climbing rose are limited only by your imagination. Look at your yard before you start. If you have a rock pile, a dead tree, or a picket fence; you already have a support in place. You might be thinking about growing a climber up the side of your house. “Covering areas of the house with trellis work or treillage” works well and was the system used by Dr. and Mrs. Brownell, local Rhode Island breeders.11 Make sure the trelliswork is separated from the house by an iron bracket or wooden block by about six inches. If you have a house that will need to be painted, think long and hard before you do this.

One of the simplest of supports, for the less vigorous roses, is a 4 by 4 of pressure treated lumber or a cedar fence post . Drill holes through it at different intervals and push 3/4 “ doweling through it, leaving some protruding from each side.11 Bury the bottom 2 feet like a fence post. Even good wood will eventually rot though. A tripod of sturdy bamboo posts lashed together at the top and bottoms inserted in the ground is easy, inexpensive and works well for small climbers and pillar roses like those bred by the Brownells, who used these extensively. But “possibly the most permanent post which has been contrived for climbing roses is iron pipe set in concrete.”7 Two inch pipe works well. The open top of the pipe can be used creatively by inserting the ends of 1/8” thick strap iron into 2 posts, forming an arch in between. Bend the end of the strap so it stays in place in the pipe. (See illustration with 2 pieces of iron inserted for connecting arches) “Semicircles are relatively simple and can be accurately gauged by making the length of strap iron between the offsets a trifle more than one and one-half times the distance between the posts.”7 Since most arches are for people to walk through, give them plenty of room. The height should be at least seven feet8 so that the roses overhead don’t become a hazard. If you find a metal pipe unattractive, cover it all around with bamboo canes8 to combine durability and a natural look. Many formal rose gardens grow climbers along chains that’s are draped between two posts. A galvanized chain “as thick as a man’s thumb … will support the weight of any roses it will ever be called upon to bear.”7

There is a large variety of materials that you can use to make supports. One could solder copper plumbing pipes together into obelisks or trellises. Treating them with sal ammoniac (available in a stained glass supply store) gives it that aged green patina. Stone or brick columns can be topped with wooden crossbeams to make impressive and formal arches or pergolas. Simple wires strung between posts are enough to support a living fence of roses. White plastic lattice available in any building supply store can be attached to a simple frame. If you have lots of room and time, build an old-fashioned wood lattice pyramid8 for your roses to grow on. While it looks impressive, I’d be wondering what critter would consider it a nice home to live under. If you live in the city and only have a telephone pole handy, use that. One of our members, Louis Horne, has covered a pole with large pieces of bark, giving it the appearance of roses climbing up a dead tree. Look at lots of books and then be creative

“It is important to note that the shoots of all Ramblers and Climbers should be tied to a support in a near horizontal position. These shoots will produce flowering laterals along their length and provide a generous display of flowers. Vertical shoots will tend to produce flowers only at their tips.”12 Tie shoots loosely and always cross the tie between the cane and its support to prevent chafing.7 Natural twine is inexpensive but doesn’t last long, soft nylon cord is more enduring. Narrow strips of leather were often used in the past. Besides lasting well, a loop of leather could be nailed to the support,7 which were less conspicuous than tying it around a post for instance. Check your roses before winter sets in to be sure they are securely tied. The wind can damage the canes badly if they are allowed to rub together, leaving lesions that insects and disease will take advantage of.


“Pruning a rose bush is not unlike giving a home haircut to a small child: you do the best you can, secure in the knowledge that if it turns out odd-looking, new growth will quickly hide your mistakes.” Liz Druitt, The Organic Rose Garden

That being said, pruning a climbing rose is quite a bit different from pruning a bush variety. First, do not prune a climber at all for its first 2 or 3 years except to remove dead wood.2 It takes time to develop the long canes and large root system it needs to support them. If there are more than 4 or 6 main canes at this time, select the best and prune the others out all the way to the ground while the rose is dormant.3 For most climbers, spring pruning should be to remove dead wood and to remove canes that are weak, excessively crowded or crossing. As some canes get older, they stop producing productive flowering laterals. These older canes may be removed as well. Cut them from the base if possible.5 After that, much depends on the type of climber you have. I highly recommend Stephen Scanniello and Tania Bayard’s book, “Climbing Roses”, for very specific information on training and pruning the dozens of varieties of roses grown at the Cranford Rose Garden in Brooklyn.

The basic repeat blooming large flowered climbers that are now widely grown, can be pruned in late winter/early spring. Find the flowering laterals that grow off the main canes and cut them back by about 2/3. Leave at least three eyes or nodes on the pruned lateral for new growth. “The reason we prune this far back is because the subsequent stem that emerges can be no larger in diameter than the stem from which it grows. We want our… blooms to be on long, sturdy bloom stems.”2 After flowering, remove the spent flower and a very short stem. Many climbers form their next flowers just behind the previous set.11

Ramblers like Dorothy Perkins, Excelsa and American Pillar should have all of the canes that have flowered this year cut off at the base in the late summer. The new long canes that grew from basal shoots will grow laterals and flower the next year. These should then be tied in place. Other ramblers like Velchenblau have their new year’s growth start partway up on the older canes rather than from the base. Remove the old wood above this point, again in the late summer.12 Huge ramblers like Paul’s Himalayan Musk can be left alone.


On once blooming large flowered climbers, no pruning should be done until after the spring/summer flush, or else you’d be pruning off your potential blooms. After flowering, prune the laterals back to 5 to 15 inches.11 Leave some faded blooms to form rosehips for the fall.

You may have an established climber that has become overgrown, poorly shaped and generally overgrown. You can start all over again by cutting off all the canes about 12-18” from the base. Do not expect any significant bloom the next summer. “This drastic pruning is suitable for climbing roses that have retained a good proportion of healthy growth and is effective on nearly all ramblers”4 Mikolajski goes on to say that this would kill a less healthy bush, which should be “renovated” gradually over a few years.

Many climbers become bare around their bases after a few years. If you want to retain one of these canes but stimulate it to produce new lower growth, there is a method that is sometimes helpful. Nick the cane with a knife right through the bark about 1/3” above a bud near to the base of the plant. This nick should travel from one side of the stem to the other, covering a bout a third of the total diameter.”10 Do this while the rose is dormant. This can cause the dormant eye to start growing a new cane.

The bottom line for growing climbers is: get to know the ones you have. Each variety has its vagaries which only observation and experience will show you. Learn by looking. Follow the old Chinese proverb ‘the best fertilizer is the farmer’s footsteps”.

1-American Rose Society. Guideline for Judging Roses. The American Rose Society, Shreveport, LA, 1993.

2-Just Roses. “Climbing Roses”, Internet reference: longer available , 9/9/02.

3-Mattock, John. Gardener’s Guide to Growing Roses. Knickerbocker Press, NY, 1996.

4-Mikolajski, Andrew. Climbing Roses. Lorenz, NY, 1987.

5-Scanniello, Stephen & Tania Bayard. Climbing Roses. Prentice Hall, NY, 1994.

6-“Selecting Climbers”. Internet Reference:, Sept.9, 2002.

7-Stevens, G.A. Climbing Roses. The Macmillan Co., NY 1933.

8-Thomas, Graham Stuart. Climbing Roses Old and New. St. Martin’s Press, NY 1965.

9-“Top Exhibition Roses”. Internet reference: 9/12/02.

10-Warner, Christopher. Climbing Roses. The Globe Pequot Press, Chester, Connecticut, 1987.

11-Wilson, Helen Van Pelt. Climbing Roses. M. Barrows and Co., NY, 1955.

13-Heirloom Roses. 1-503-538-1576.

14-Roses Unlimited. 1-864-682-7673.

Climbing roses: Growing tips

SITE. Most roses bloom best when they get at least six hours of full sun every day. They prefer loose, well-drained soil.

CARE. Water plants deeply and regularly for the first two years. During the roses’ first year, feed them lightly with a balanced liquid plant food (such as 12-12-12) in late May and again in mid-July, advises John Clements, owner of Heirloom Old Garden Roses in St. Paul, Oregon. The second year, he suggests, feed with 1/2 cup of a complete granular fertilizer around the base of the plant in late February.

TRAINING. Rose canes don’t climb like vines, so you’ll need to train them. As they grow, tie the canes to supports with sturdy twine, heavy-gauge plastic ties, or plastic-coated wire.

PRUNING. Since it takes plants several years to develop strong climbing canes, prune only to remove dead stems, weak growth, and faded flowers for the first two to three years after planting. Prune during the dormant season (November to February) in mild-winter areas, early spring (April) in cold-winter areas.

How to Care for Climbing Rose Bushes

Quick Facts

  • Hardiness: Fully hardy. Suitable for growing across the UK and Ireland.
  • Height: Up to 4m in summer
  • Flowering: Summer until late autumn
  • Planting: Throughout autumn, and late winter to early spring
  • Ideal for: Trellis training
  • Also suitable for: Training against any other upright surface
  • Difficulty: Medium

Climbing roses have been a popular choice for centuries, and are indispensable for adding romance and beauty to the garden, not to mention concealing ugly garden structures. Although they are not self-supporting, climbing roses can be trained to grow over almost anything that has horizontal supports to tie them to.

Due to their popularity, climbing roses have been developed from every single modern category of roses, and most traditional ones, which is why they have no formal classification as such.

Autumn (October – November) and early spring are the ideal times to plant your roses. If you receive your rose in summer, remove all packaging immediately and place it outside. Keep well watered and plant as soon as you can into the ground. If you receive your rose in winter, remove all packaging and make sure the soil is damp. Store your rose in an unheated shed/greenhouse to protect the plant from frosts until early spring, the perfect time for planting.

Where to Plant your Climbing Roses

Before planting your climbing rose, make sure whatever supporting structure you will be growing it against is in good condition, and secure enough to support the full weight of the rose when it mature. As previously mentioned, you will need to ensure there are horizontal supports to tie the rose bush too, so if you are planting the rose against a shed or brick wall, you may need to install a trellis first.

How to Grow Climbing Roses in Pots

Rose bushes are known to have deep, fibrous root systems so large pots are needed so that you are able to grow a healthy plant.

The large root systems can present a problem when trying to grow climbing roses in pots as some can grow to large heights of up to 12ft meaning they have big root systems to match.

Choose a smaller variety that will be adapted to living in a container, miniature roses tend to be the best option.

Start by repotting the plant from the current pot into an 8 – 20L pot. The pot should be able to accommodate the vigorous growth of the rose.

Add a trellis to the back of the pot for the rose to climb on and you’re good to go.

Prune the rose as you would prune normally to keep a nice form and a healthy plant.

Planting your Climbing Rose Bush

An hour before planting your rose, water it thoroughly. Create a mix of soil, compost and organic rose food in a separate container. Dig a hole roughly twice the width of the plant’s container around 40cm from the supporting structure. Choose a nice sunny spot in the garden, as roses need at least 6 hours of sunlight a day, somewhere with well-draining soil that will not become waterlogged. If the soil is poor quality or clay-like, it is advisable to add a layer of compost to the subsoil. Also, if you tend to get a lot of wind, please pick somewhere which will provide your rose with some shelter.

Remove the entire rose plant from its container and gently tease out the roots. Prune any that are damaged or broken, then plant the rose with the bud union at ground level. Backfill any gaps with the soil mix you made earlier but do not pack the soil too tightly around the new rose.

Training Climbing Roses

Climbing roses have two types of growth: structural canes, and flowering shoots which grow from them. Structural canes do not produce flowers, so it is important to train the structural canes to grow at an angle, as this will encourage them to grow flowering shoots low down, instead of just at the very top of each cane.

To begin training them, choose the sturdiest structural canes, and tie them loosely to the supporting trellis, as close to horizontal as possible. As the structural canes grow, ensure it has as many flowers as possible by winding it from side to side of the trellis structure, tieing it off at regular intervals.

Feeding Climbing Roses

Most rose varieties have healthy appetites, so feed them every spring with a powder or granular rose fertilizer, and again in June or July.

Mulching around Climbing Roses

Mulching is the term used for the layer of organic material that is placed on top of the soil around your plants every year. It has a whole host of benefits, including keeping the soil moist throughout summer and discouraging blackspot and weeds. The best time to do this is in late spring (April-May) or autumn (October)

First, prepare the ground by removing debris and weeds and water the surface of the soil if it is dry. If mulching in spring, apply the spring feed if this has not been done, then hoe the ground lightly to mix in.

Apply a thin layer of well-rotted manure or good garden compost all around the roses – we suggest using John Innes No. 3.

Watering Climbing Roses

Roses are deep-rooted plants, which means that in some seasons they may not require watering at all. However the fact they are deep-rooted means the plants won’t show signs of drought as quickly as other plants in your garden, and under watering can lead to impaired growth, so approach with caution! We recommend that you water the base of the plant only, and try to avoid getting water on the leaves, as this will encourage leaf scorch and disease.

We advise you to water your rose regular watering until the plant is established. Once this point is passed, the plant will only require watering through spring and summer. When the weather is temperate, water deeply once a week, but in the height of summer, your rose may require water every day.

Climbing roses will not require pruning in the first year or so (apart from removing broken or dead branches), while they establish themselves. After this, your rose will require pruning in early spring each year. Climbing roses flower on the year’s new growth, so this will encourage better blooming.

Begin by cutting out any dead, overcrowded or exhausted wood. Then shorten any flowering shoots by around two thirds.

Deadheading Climbing Roses

This is the process of removing flowers from your plant once they are dying or dead. This will help your rose to redirect its energy into making new flowers. Cut the dead rose away, cutting just before the first leaf down.

Climbing Roses in Winter

If weather conditions are expected to be extreme, you should provide your climbing rose bushes with some protection. You can use sacking, horticultural fleece or even some bin liners to make sure your bushes don’t get frost damaged, Protect the base of the plant and the bud union by piling extra compost around the stems at the base of the plant. Remove this protection when the worst of the winter frosts have passed.

See our care guides for hybrid tea roses, patio roses and floribunda roses.

Complete Guide to Grow Climbing Roses

If your garden doesn’t have climb Roses, then it is just incomplete! This Type of Roses make a unique Attraction to any garden. It looks lovely and beautiful. No other thing can be compared with this beauty. These roses are dense enough to add privacy to your garden. They can slightly hide the area with its shadow and dense leaves. However, to be effective, they should be healthy and productive to produce flowers. Before you send roses online, here are some basic things about climbing roses you need to look after:

• Choosing a variety

Keeping everything aside, the first important role you have to play is to choose the right variety for your garden. You need to be familiar with the importance of growing things that suits your zone. You need to check with the flower color and the size of the plant that will suit the space you have chosen so that it does not look overcrowded. After this, you need to check if the climber is disease resistant, repeat blooming and also have other bonus qualities. This will just make everything perfect for your garden. Our suggestion is to go with yellow color, it will bring a smile on your face as well as glow up the whole garden area. There are other climbers as well that requires low maintenance.

• Choose Location

All type of climbers need full sunlight to grow healthy and blooming. They thrive in loamy, well drained soil and prefer consistent water. The ideal place is eastern side. This exposure is ideal to protect leaves from hot afternoon sun. Make a note that roses with wet feet are very much susceptible to all kinds of fungus. This will damage your climber. The black spot and other relative disease can damage your plant. So always keep it in clean planting site and take care to avoid over watering. A good soil draining will help your lessen heavy soaking rains, So always see to these actors before you Buy Flowers Online.

Maintenance of Climbing Roses

You need to take care of climbers in certain ways. Here are some maintain ace tips for climbing roses:

• Make path for growth

Gardener always looks after the plants to grow in certain ways as there is come purpose to it. When planning a climbing rose, you must take care of what purpose you are planting. Accordingly, you can train the plant to grow in the direction you wish to. When you do it is a certain way it will also serve you with visual beauty. If you wish climber to cover a part of the wall, use a free standing vertical support that will automatically get trained to grow in the direction you want it to be. Make sure to give roses at least 3 inches of breath room to grow faster and healthy. Tie your climber to a cross piece of structure and try to arrange the branches in a fan like shape to grow and spread it in all directions. This results in easier pruning.

• Pruning

A proper pruning is very important apart from sun, water and food. This will help your climber to grow healthy and bloom fresh always. Pruning is very important once in a year after the plants are well grown and established. Pruning the climbing roses are usually performed to maintain and shape the structure. Proper pruning will also result in the stringer and well produce many blooms!

Note: Most climbing roses bloom two or three times every season.

• Fertilization

Every climber has a different requirement of fertilizer, which depends on the area you live. Every place has a different kind of soil composition, depending on this the requirement of fertilizer changes. In the south or west, roses tend to grow for 9 to 10 months of the year. Thus, they may need more fertilizer. However, in contrast to this, the plant tent to need less fertilizer in other area.

Apply rose food once or twice per season and water it before and after use to avoid over burning. It is recommended to start fertilizing in early spring after the pruning. Stop fertilizing the climber in cold winter regions before six weeks.

Caring Tips for Climbing Roses

After all this, it is important to pamper your plant like a kid and take care of it. Hence, you can always see it bloom and fresh:

• Pest control

Roses are very much attractive to insects as compare to other species of flowers. Pest on rose leaves and plant tend to chew and pit the leaves. Petals of the flowers are wilt and they burrow into stems. To get rid of this pest problem you can simply use the solution of pest control. It acts likes a quick remedie to take all insects away from this beautiful climber. Pest does get away after you spray the pest control solution over the plant. However, always use them in right quantity as it may take away the beneficial pests as well from the plant which can damage your plant growth.

• Disease control

When there are presence os pests, the flower plant always is contingent to diseases as well. Roses are very much subjected to black spot on leaves and other fungal problems that is caused due to over watering or overheating. There are some variances of climbers that are more disease resistant such as bright magenta. They make a good investment for beginners as they don’t have to look after it much. If your climber roses are affected with fungus, a disease control spray like Bonide fungonil a multi purpose fungicide can be used. However a natural alternative to this is the copper based Bordeaus spray is very much effective against mildew and other diseases.

Now that you know the basic downs and solutions, you are ready to grow your own climbing roses this season!

Pruning Climbing Roses – Gardening Advice


Q: I’m afraid I overpruned my climbing roses this spring. Twelve weeks later, the rose plants still look terrible. Is there any hope that they will bloom again? — Diana Rodriguez, Bronx, N.Y.

A: Sorry, but your climbers won’t flower much, if at all, this season. That, however, is your only loss. By next spring the roses will be back in fine form and blooming. You can’t seriously damage a rose by cutting it back. In fact, a severe pruning is a time-tested way to rejuvenate a plant that has stopped sending up vigorous shoots. You could run amok with a lawn mower over hybrid teas and floribundas, and they’d grow back and bloom the same summer. But climbers — with the long canes that make them ideal for training onto trellises and arbors — need more time to recover from radical pruning.

The best time to perform major pruning (removing one or more canes) on a climber is right after it has finished flowering, in early summer. The strong new canes that sprout afterward will then have time to mature and produce roses the next year. Early-spring pruning of climbers should be very light, removing only winter-killed wood on canes and branches. On varieties that rebloom during the summer, you can also shorten sideshoots in the spring to stimulate new growth that produces the best flowers. After the first bloom, deadhead the sideshoots to promote the next wave of flowers. Without periodic removal of its oldest canes, a climber will become an overgrown thicket. When you are pruning in the summer, cut out the whole length of a thick, woody old cane — no simple matter, because each cane’s innumerable branches get tangled with those of neighboring canes. Resist the temptation to start at the top, where it’s easiest to cut with ordinary pruning shears: It’s also easy to clip off what you think is a branch of the old cane, only to realize that you’ve severed the intertwined stem of a desirable young cane. Instead, wielding heavy lopping shears, begin at the base of an old cane and remove only as much of it as you can easily extract. Then lay down the shears and wait. Within an hour, the leaves above where you’ve cut will begin to wilt, making it easier to tell which of the tangled branches belong to that cane. Clip out branches with wilted foliage until every bit of the cane is gone.

Most climbers can then flourish for several years before needing another major pruning to stimulate new growth. Exactly when depends on the vigor of each variety and how you have it trained. For example, if a rose fanned out against a wooden lattice has five major canes, you might renew it on a five-year cycle by removing only the oldest, thickest cane each summer, after flowering. If the rose overgrows the trellis on that schedule, take out two canes each summer. A rose climbing a large arbor or scrambling through a tree will need less pruning; taking out the oldest cane every other summer should be enough.

Rose Garden Design

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How to Prune climbing roses is the how to of my step by step way of getting abundant blooms from my climbers, most are not grafted but are own root.

Did you know that the so called “right way” to prune roses is usually based on hybrid teas for show and not for the average gardener? Here are more rose myths you may have heard 10 Rose Care Myths Debunked

We have been enjoying warmer days after a week of cooler more Fall like weather.

It has been about or near 70 daily for a few days and I am trying to take every chance I can to get outside and accomplish some of the garden clean up chores before winter hits.

I live in Zone 8 in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California and do a rose pruning before real cold weather hits in late Fall.

Why I prune in late Fall instead of Spring

Traditional garden advice is to not do this kind of pruning until late winter, early Spring but that does not work for me as we can be buried in deep snow until the first of June. Climbers are also a different type rose and can be pruned any time of year.

Some say that pruning now will spur the plant to put on new growth and then the new growth will suffer during freezes.

That is not entirely accurate, it is not only pruning but also soil temperature and day length that encourage new growth so if your rose is truly dormant then it will not put on new growth until all conditions are right.

Late Fall pruning also helps keep my roses from getting broken and damaged by heavy snows.

I have been practicing pruning in late Fall for about 20 years and my roses flourish. Late Fall is around early to mid November.

Why am I telling you this?

Because sometimes what is traditionally done in the garden world is not always what is best in your region. Sometimes you have to experiment.

Gardening advice is not a one size fits all scenario so don’t be afraid to break away from what the “experts” tell you and find what works best for you in your environment.

Today I focused on this mess…

Today I show you how I Prune this Rose

The climbing roses along the side of my house have gotten out of control. The one I am going to focus on today is the one to the left in the photo.

It is a Zepherine Drouhin and it blooms so gorgeously as you can see in the very top photo. It is nearly thorn-less making it so easy to work with.

Again I want to emphasize, pruning climbing roses is different than Hybrid Teas or other bush types. You can prune on them all year long to keep them in check and blooming.

As you can see I have the main cane growing up the porch pillar and starting across the eave of the house now and I want to keep that main cane in tact. So I follow it down to find which cane is the main cane at the base of the rose.

Why prune at all?

So that all the energy goes to this main cane I prune out most of the others.

Yep, just be brutal and cut them out. Cutting most of the older canes out forces the plant to put out new canes from the root (own root roses) thus refreshing the plant for maximum performance. This was a renovation prune so if you just want to encourage more blooms next Spring then leave more canes from the base.

You can leave a couple others and just trim them back in increments of 3 feet, aka, cut one back to 3 feet, the other and 6 feet

I do leave the small lateral cane coming out of the main cane.

That will provide some blooms along the lower portion of the plant. The main cane may only bloom up higher next Spring and this lateral and any others along here will fill in below.

You can cut the laterals back to about 6 inches or so and they will be just fine.
Now lets go on up the main cane…

Follow the main cane

As we follow the main cane up we note that a lateral cane is actually the longer one tied to the post to the eave so we cut off the rest of the main cane and now that makes the lateral from here on out the main cane.

I made a cut just after the Y so that the cane going to the left is now gone and the cane with the arrow pointing at it is now the main cane.

Though it is looking rather bare it will more than fill in next Spring. See all those little eyes along the cane, those can sprout into laterals which will produce flowers, lots and lots of beautiful blooms.
Lets go on up…

Tie the rose canes up

Up a bit further the main cane has another lateral cane that I leave. I train both of them along the eave and attach them to hooks that are screwed into the wood.

In the video I leave more canes and wrap one around the post. That will force more blooms from the laterals.

Related: How to Pillar a Rose

Strip off all the leaves so it will be just a bare cane. That prevents some some fungus or other issues that can occur.

And that is basically how I prune my climbing roses to keep them neat and tidy. In the Spring, I will do some more pruning to keep it looking neat as some of the laterals can grow 6 feet in no time.

Next Spring I look forward to bowers of pink roses climbing my porch posts…

More on pruning climbing roses

Prune and Train a Climbing Rose on an Arbor for Maximum Blooming

Happy Gardening!

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