Climbing roses are beautiful, long-lived and often fragrant plants that can be grown up or over walls, fences, arches, obelisks and more.
For a classic look, try growing several varieties of climbing rose together – gather ideas from the rose gardens at places like Alnwick Garden and Hever Castle. If your climbing rose is scented, plant it near a patio or seating area where you can enjoy its fragrant blooms. For a wildlife-friendly option, choose climbing roses with single or semi-double blooms, where you can see the central part of the flower. This means bees and other pollinators can access the food stored in the flower. Hip-bearing roses, such as dog rose (Rosa canina) and Rosa rubiginosa, are excellent for birds and small mammals in winter. Some climbing roses, particularly those with soft leaves, are used by leafcutter bees to line their nests.
More on climbing roses:
- How to train and prune a climbing rose
- How to grow climbing roses
- The difference between climbing and rambling roses
- Best climbers to grow
In this short video guide, the experts at Harkness Roses share their tips for growing climbing roses, including how to prune them to get the most flowers.
Advice on buying climbing roses
- Always choose a healthy specimen with no signs of damage, yellowing leaves or pest infestations
- Make sure you buy the right rose for the right spot - pay attention to its growing requirements and make sure you have the perfect conditions available
- You can save money by buying bare-root roses in autumn, or opt for year-round convenience by buying more expensive potted rose plants
Where to buy climbing roses
Browse our pick of the best climbing roses, below.
Rosa 'Pippin' has medium-sized double blooms that are a lovely warm pink colour, with just a hint of orange on the petals. Repeat-flowering. The flowers have a sweet fragrance, so this variety is ideal for growing next to seating areas where its fragrance can be appreciated.
Rosa 'Parkdirektor Riggers'
The blooms of 'Parkdirektor Riggers' are an intense shade of red. The flowers have little fragrance but they're semi-double, so are more easily accessed by pollinators. Repeat-flowering. Consider this variety for a north-facing wall, as it's more tolerant of shade.
Rosa 'Claire Austin'
'Claire Austin' is a popular variety with luxurious, cream blooms. The flowers have a strong fragrance that are said to smell like vanilla and myrrh. It's repeat-flowering and is particularly disease-resistant.
The salmon-pink flowers of 'Compassion' are flushed with a warm apricot colour at their centre. This repeat-flowering variety has a strong, sweet fragrance and has been awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit.
For pure white blooms, look no further than 'Iceberg'. The lightly scented flowers are semi-double, meaning they have an old rose look while still providing food for pollinators. Vigorous and repeat-flowering. Holds the RHS Award of Garden Merit.
Rosa 'A Shropshire Lad'
Rosa 'A Shropshire Lad' is a versatile variety that can be grown as a shrub or a short climbing rose, if supported. The pale pink rosettes are large and gently scented. Almost thornless, so is easier to prune and tie-in. Repeat-flowering, it also holds the RHS Award of Garden Merit.
Rosa 'Wollerton Old Hall'
'Wollerton Old Hall' has rounded, pastel-orange blooms that are almost peony-like in their appearance. Plant next to seating areas or near the house to appreciate the powerful fragrance. Repeat-flowering.
Rosa 'Constance Spry'
'Constance Spry' is a vigorous rose with an arching growth habit, so it makes an ideal climbing rose. The large rose-pink blooms have a rich myrrh aroma. This variety holds the RHS Award of Garden Merit.
Rosa 'Crown Princess Margareta'
Rosa 'Crown Princess Margareta' has mid-orange rosettes, packed with ruffled blooms. Repeat-flowering, highly fragrant and grows well in partial shade. This variety combines particularly well with purple flowers.
Rosa 'The Generous Gardener'
A strong, disease-resistant variety, Rosa 'The Generous Gardener' is ideal for growing over arches and pergolas. The pale pink rosettes are strongly scented and attractively-shaped. Repeat-flowering, it also holds the RHS Award of Garden Merit.
Rosa 'Mortimer Sackler'
This unusual climber bears beautiful, pointed buds, which open to bright pink double roses. The flowers eventually open to reveal golden yellow stamens. Flowering prolifically throughout summer, it has a light, old rose fragrance. Rosa 'Mortimer Sackler' has been renamed Rosa 'Mary Delany'.
Rosa 'Gertrude Jekyll'
'Gertrude Jekyll' is a highly fragrant, floriferous climbing rose, bearing masses of bright pink, fully double flowers with an old rose scent.