The acrobats of the rose world, climbing varieties develop long canes well adapted to training on pillars, fences, arbors, and gazebos. Most climbing roses are mutations or variations of bush-type varieties. They develop either large, single flowers or clustered blooms on a stem. Climbers may bloom once a season or continually, depending on the variety. Climbers can be treated to bloom more heavily by leading their canes in a horizontal direction. Loose anchoring to a support will encourage young plants to climb.
Blooms of climbing roses generally depend on the variety. Most commonly, climbers tend to have one very heavy bloom in spring, and then sporadic blooms throughout the rest of the growing season.
Regular deadheading of the flowers can help to encourage continuous blooms on your climbing roses. If you decide to prune your plants in winter before the initial bloom, you can increase the amount of blooms you get later on.
Climbing Rose Care Must-Knows
If you picture the quintessential cottage garden, most likely a climbing rose is working its way over an arbor gate or up a quaint brick facade. While climbing roses may seem a little daunting, these graceful flowers are easy to grow, creating a dream cottage feel.
Climbing roses generally are mutations or variations of bush or hybrid tea varieties of roses. These varieties produce extra-long canes that continue to grow, allowing them to be easily manipulated into growing up or around a surface. Because these roses don't have tendrils or any other way to adhere to a surface, they do need a little coaxing to get the whole process started.
Training Your Climbing Roses: Once the roses begin to grow, make sure to start the training process right away. If you wait too long for them to get a good head start, the stems can become woody and trickier to work with.
Keeping up with the plants in the beginning can make all the difference in the end. If you are looking to train your roses up a wall or a solid surface, it's best to have a trellis or some sort of support system a few inches away from the wall. This will allow some space behind the plants to promote good airflow.
Related: How to Landscape with Roses
Pruning: After your climbing rose becomes established, you can begin to prune plants on a regular basis. Typically, you need to prune your climbing rose only once a year, after the first main flush of blooms. This is a good time to address any diseased or damaged canes, as well as make some pruning cuts to help improve airflow or direct future growth.
As with any rose, disease prevention is key to healthy, happy plants. Make sure to clean up any old leaf debris from previous years' growth in the spring. Airflow and sunlight is key in fungus prevention. The main downfalls of roses are various fungal pathogens.
Roses are also susceptible to a slew of other pests, particularly aphids and Japanese beetles. Luckily these garden pests are easy to treat with an insecticidal soap (or pick them off and throw them in a bucket of soapy water). You can also give them a hearty blast of water to knock them off plants.
More Varieties of Climbing Rose
Rosa 'Alberic Barbier' was bred in 1900 and is still popular today. This charming climber offers pale yellow buds unfurling to warm ivory flowers that are double in form and scented with a green apple fragrance. Vigorous and rambling, the plant grows 15-20 feet tall and is hardy in Zones 5-9.
Rosa 'Altissimo' has large single red flowers that glow like embers against the medium green foliage. It blooms repeatedly through the season. The disease-resistant plant grows vigorously 6-10 feet tall. This French-bred variety is hardy in Zones 5-9.
Rosa 'America' marked the beginning of the modern climber class and won the 1976 All-America Rose Selections award. Large, pointed buds unfurl to many-petaled, coral-pink blooms that show their 'Fragrant Cloud' heritage. The flowers are produced in sprays and have a spicy fragrance. Upright, disease-resistant plants can be slow to start climbing. They grow 8-16 feet tall and are hardy in Zones 6-9.
Rosa 'Climbing Snowbird' is a vigorous climber with a high-centered white flower. It is exceptionally fragrant. Like other white roses, it is breathtaking in evening light. Zones 7-9
Rosa 'Don Juan' is an all-time favorite red-flowered climber. It seems to have it all: plush, hybrid tea-style blooms with a tart citrusy fragrance; glossy, disease-free foliage; and reblooming vigor. Foliage color is a velvety dark green, and the open blooms are cupped. It climbs 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Zones 5-9
Rosa 'Eden' is becoming an instant classic for its huge, romantic blooms that appear profusely throughout the season. The flowers are composed of up to 100 petals tinted in shades of pale pink, cream, and soft yellow. Extremely hardy, the plant lends itself well to arbors, trellises, and fences in colder climates. It climbs 10 feet tall by 6 feet wide. Zones 5-9
Rosa 'Joseph's Coat' is a dependable climber for many different climates and is very showy, offering cupped, semidouble blooms of yellow blended with cherry red. The plant grows 12 feet tall by 6 feet wide. Zones 5-10
Rosa 'Golden Showers' is always in bloom. The ruffled, semidouble flowers impart their sunshine throughout the season, perfuming the air with a light fragrance. Plants grow 10 feet tall and 5 feet wide. Zones 8-10
This repeat-blooming variety features lush, petal-packed blooms of the softest pink. The sweetly fragrant flowers are clustered on long, strong stems. It grows 18 feet tall and is disease resistant. Zones 5-9
Rosa 'Fourth of July' is an award-winning variety with semidouble, ruffled red- and white-striped flowers. Blooms repeat continually and yield to large orange hips in fall. It climbs 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide in milder climates but will remain shrubby in colder regions. Zones 5-10
Climbing Rose Garden Plans
Create charm and curb appeal in your front yard with this lush, beautiful cottage garden plan.
Dress up your front yard (and front door) with this garden plan full of beautiful roses.