Double, pink blooms of a climbing rose

How to grow climbing roses

In this handy Grow Guide, we explain how to grow gorgeous climbing roses.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Plant
Plant

Do Plant in January

Do Plant in February

Do Plant in March

Do Plant in April

Do Plant in May

Do Plant in June

Do Plant in July

Do Plant in August

Do Plant in September

Do Plant in October

Do Plant in November

Do Plant in December

Flowers
Flowers

Plant does not flower in January

Plant does not flower in February

Plant does not flower in March

Plant does not flower in April

Plant does flower in May

Plant does flower in June

Plant does flower in July

Plant does flower in August

Plant does flower in September

Plant does not flower in October

Plant does not flower in November

Plant does not flower in December

Prune
Prune

Do not Prune in January

Do not Prune in February

Do not Prune in March

Do not Prune in April

Do not Prune in May

Do not Prune in June

Do not Prune in July

Do not Prune in August

Do not Prune in September

Do Prune in October

Do Prune in November

Do not Prune in December

Climbing roses are the perfect plants to add height to a garden. The choice is huge, so take time to find the right climber.

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There are climbing roses available in all the popular rose categories – hybrid tea roses, bourbons and English roses. Choose from double or single flowers, thornless or scented – the rose will live for decades so it’s worth getting it right. Climbers can be grown up house walls, along garden fences, over pergolas or up large obelisks.

More on growing roses:

Nearly all climbing roses offer more than one flush of flowers. Flowers are larger than those of the ramblers.

Discover more about these beautiful plants, in our climbing rose grow guide.

Nearly all climbing roses offer more than one flush of flowers. 

Planting a climbing rose below a support
Planting a climbing rose below a support

Where to plant climbing roses

The majority of climbers require a sunny position. However, with so much choice there are those that can flourish in more shady spots. Seek advice from a specialist rose nursery about finding the right rose for your spot.

The ideal soil for climbing roses is well-drained and fertile.

Training a climbing rose along a wire
Training a climbing rose along a wire

How to plant climbing roses

Climbers can be purchased as container-grown plants at any time of the year but must be kept well-watered if planted in summer.

Bare root plants are purchased in autumn and winter – this is often how specialist nurseries send out mail-order roses.

Plant on a dry, frost-free day as soon as possible. Dig a hole at least twice the depth and width of the root ball and add in some well-rotted organic matter. Tease out the roots and drop the plant into the hole ensuring that they are planted at the same depth as they were in the pot, or look for a soil mark on the plant. Backfill and firm in place with your heel and water in well.

Train plants up supports and prune out any stems that are growing in the wrong direction.

Propagating climbing roses

Climbers and other roses can be propagated by either hardwood cuttings or semi-ripe cuttings. Semi-ripe cuttings are taken in late summer after flowering.

To take semi-ripe cuttings, cut just above a bud to remove a mature side shoots that is about 10cm long. Use a sharp pair of secateurs. Cut off the soft tip just above a bud. Fill a plastic garden pot with cutting compost and water. Insert half of the cutting in the compost making sure that the cutting is the right way up.

Cover with a clear plastic bag and place in a frost-free and light place. By the following spring cuttings should have rooted and be ready to pot on

Brown spots of rose rust on the leaf underside
Brown spots of rose rust on the leaf underside

Climbing roses: problem solving

Roses can be prone to rust. Small brown marks appear on the lower surface of leaves. This is a fungal disease spread by spores. To resolve this, remove all the affected leaves and in bad cases spray with a suitable fungicide.

To prevent rust, collect up fallen leaves and apply a mulch in autumn, as fungal spores are spread by rain splash.

Pruning a climbing rose
Pruning a climbing rose

How to prune climbing roses

For the first few years after planting there’s no need to prune climbing roses. Simply train in new stems to their support.

Prune in autumn, after flowering. Leave the main framework of stems unpruned, unless they’re reaching beyond their supports. Simply prune the side shoots to four healthy buds.

When pruning climbers, cut just above a bud that points in the direction that you want a new stem. Avoid cutting above a bud that will direct growth to the garden path, for example.

Pale yellow blooms of <em>Rosa</em> 'Summertime'
Pale yellow blooms of Rosa ‘Summertime’

Looking after climbing roses

Deadhead after flowering to encourage a second flush of flowers. Train in new stems regularly.

Feed plants in spring with a balanced fertiliser. Clear up fallen leaves. Mulch the soil in autumn to prevent the spread of rust and black spot.

Spotting suckers

Some roses will produce suckers at the base. If not removed they’ll take over. They’re shoots that grow directly from the rootstock on which some roses are grown. Simply pull away suckers as soon as you spot them. 

Pale pink, double flowers of <em>Rosa</em> 'A Shropshire Lad'
Pale pink, double flowers of Rosa ‘A Shropshire Lad’

Climbing rose varieties to try

  • Rosa ‘Madame Alfred Carrière’ – an old fashioned rose. Pale pink, double, scented flowers in July to September. Height 4.5m
  • Rosa ‘New Dawn’ – pale pink flowers from July to September. A vigorous climber reaching 3.5m
  • Rosa ‘Gloire de Dijon’ – yellow/apricot double flowers from July to September. Intense fragrance. Reaches a height of 5m
  • Rosa ‘Zéphirine Drouhin’ – a thornless, deep-pink, double flowering roses. Fragrant. Height 3m
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