Pruning rambling rose

Pruning vigorous climbing plants

Find out how to prune vigorous climbing plants like rambling roses, honeysuckle and wisteria.

Vigorous climbing plants such as wisteria, rambling roses and honeysuckle can soon outgrow their allotted space.

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So, when it comes to pruning them, there are a few tenets to stick to. By pruning them in summer, you’ll be removing a lot of the current season’s growth before it turns woody – reducing the amount of stems produced next year, and instead promoting fruit and flowers.

While you’re working, don’t forget to keep an eye out for overcrowded, diseased or damaged stems. If spotted, prune these out too.

Follow our sage advice on pruning vigorous climbing plants, below.

As well as pruning out old stems, it’s important to thin out new growth on plants such as rambling roses.

Prune back trailing stems

Control the vigour of climbers such as honeysuckle, summer jasmine and wisteria by pruning the trailing stems in July. Leave just three to four leaves on the current season’s growth. This will encourage the plants to put their energy into producing flowers rather than more leafy growth. 

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Thin out new growth

As well as pruning out old stems, it’s important to thin out new growth on plants such as rambling roses. This is a quick pruning job, which is worth doing every year to keep these fast-growing climbers in check. Cut back vigorous, wayward stems to help control growth and keep plants looking their best.

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Promote flowering lower down

The stems of climbers such as honeysuckle are short lived, rarely lasting more than five years before weakening and producing fewer and fewer flowers. So prune out some of these older stems to avoid a bare base with flowers only at the top. Then train in new growth to ensure there’s an even spread of flowers. 

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Before you go, don’t forget to take a look at more of the climbers you can prune over the summer months, for better flowering.

Use the right tools

Using the wrong tool for the job can damage not only your plants, but also the tools themselves. If you’re unsure about which tool to use, take a look at our feature on the best tools for pruning.