Climbing roses are the perfect plants to add height to a garden. Nearly all climbers offer more than one flush of flowers, and the time to prune is from autumn and through winter, while the rose is dormant.
Unlike rambling roses, which can be pruned back hard more readily, it’s only the side shoots of climbing roses that are pruned. This gradually builds up a framework that can be tied in to fences and walls.
When to prune climbing roses
Climbing roses should be pruned in winter. Most roses should be pruned in winter, the only exception is rambling roses, which should be pruned immediately after flowering.
In this practical video guide from Gardeners’ World, Monty Don prunes a wall-trained climbing rose, ‘Madame Grégoire Staechelin’, which produces an abundance of fragrant pink flowers from May through to autumn. Watch as he takes you through the process of pruning climbing roses step by step, showing you how and where to cut:
What happens if you don’t prune a rose?
If you don’t prune your climbing rose it’s not the end of the world. However, you’re likely to end up with a jumbled mass of weak, twiggy stems, which can dominate at the expense of flower production. What’s more, crossing stems can cause dieback and lead to disease, making your climbing rose more susceptible to fungal infections.
Follow our guide to pruning climbing roses, below.
You Will Need
- Climbing rose
- Long-handled loppers
When pruning a climbing rose, leave the main framework of stems unpruned, unless they are reaching beyond their supports. Simply prune the side shoots to four healthy buds.
When pruning climbing roses, cut just above a bud that points in the direction you want a new stem to grow. Avoid cutting above a bud that will direct growth to the garden path, for example.
After pruning, tie the stems of your climbing rose to its support, ready for the growing season ahead.
Wear gloves and protective goggles when pruning climbing roses as most have vicious thorns.