Climbing roses have been around for centuries and are one of the most popular types of roses. They are easy to grow and bloom for most of the year, but they need care and attention to keep them healthy.
They grow best in a location that gets full sun. However, they can also tolerate some shade. Water them regularly, and avoid overwatering.
Choose the Right Plant
Plant climbing roses for old-fashioned cottage charm and a dramatic element in the garden. Vigorous and relatively easy to grow, they can sprawl on a fence, ascend a trellis, drape over an arbor or scramble up a tree.
Some varieties, such as ‘Cecile Brunner’ and ‘Alberic Barbier’, flower profusely in spring, but also bloom during summer and fall. Choose a variety that flowers throughout the growing season to give it the best chance of producing flowers all year round.
Climbing roses have a long ‘tap’ root system that penetrates deep into the soil. In preparation for planting, double-dig the soil and mix in a compost and rose bush fertilizer to improve the soil’s health.
Most climbing roses prefer full sun, but some can tolerate a little shade. Choose a spot where the rose will receive at least 6 hours of sunlight daily.
Set the Plant in the Right Soil
Climbers need good air circulation and plenty of sunshine. In a warm climate, they can also benefit from some shade. Roses prefer rich, fertile soil that is well-drained and neutral to alkaline in pH. It’s best to amend your soil with organic matter such as compost, mulch or peat moss before planting.
It’s important to plant climbing roses where they can receive at least four hours of direct sunlight each day. They will not reach their full potential if they’re underexposed to light or crowded out by other plants.
Make sure to choose a location that is big enough for the plant’s mature size as well. Many climbers grow much larger than their tag claims, so you’ll need to allow room for their growth if you want to maximize their blooms and color.
When you’re ready to plant, dig a hole about twice the depth and width of the root ball. Add in some well-rotted organic matter and plant the rose at its graft union, which should be just above the ground level.
Climbing roses need a little help as they grow and climb up against a wall or fence. They don’t have aerial roots, tendrils or suckers like ivy or clematis, so they need something to support their climbs.
For most climbing varieties, that means a trellis, fence, or tall stake. Make sure it’s large enough to accommodate the mature size of the plant.
Then, once the rose is established, water it regularly during the growing season. Use drip irrigation, underground sprinklers or hand watering as needed.
Once the rose reaches its peak flowering stage, the amount and frequency of watering should be reduced to keep the plant healthy. Too much water can cause the leaves to turn yellow and become susceptible to fungal diseases.
Climbing roses can be a stunning feature of your garden if you know how to prune them correctly. They can turn any bare wall or fence into an eye-catching tapestry of blooms, but you need to train and prune them properly to achieve this goal.
The best time to prune a climbing rose is in the spring after they bloom for strong growth and good flower production. Leaving them too long can result in an overgrown, untidy mess that stops growing and won’t bloom.
A key pruning task is to identify and remove any canes that are growing in the wrong direction or are small and spindly. This is done to help them climb more easily and to produce more flowers.
Often, these unwanted shoots are removed entirely or shortened severely. This is done to ensure that your roses can reach their full height and grow evenly. It also gives you more flexibility in training the plant up a trellis or over a structure such as a fence, arbor or pergola.