There's often confusion around rambling roses and climbing roses, but it's simple if you remember a few key things.


In short – rambling roses are far more vigorous and most offer one fantastic flush of flowers, usually in June or July. Climbers often repeat flower and have larger and fewer flowers.

Rambling roses need plenty of space as they put on a tremendous amount of growth each year. They’re ideal for growing up a tree, tumbling over a wall or up and over a strong, sturdy support. By contrast, climbing roses are better suited than ramblers to a small garden as they don't grow so vigorously.

Find out more about the differences between climbing and rambling roses, below.


Rambling roses (pictured) are admired for their impressive display of small flowers, usually in June and July. Unless you buy a repeat-flowering rambler, they'll flower once. Climbing roses produce fewer blooms, which are larger and can be deadheaded for more flowers.

Rambling rose 'Super Fairy'
Many pink blooms of rambling rose 'Super Fairy' tumbling over a wooden support


Rambling roses, which flower on the previous year's growth, are pruned straight after flowering, in summer. Stems that held this year's flowers are cut back, while those that have grown in the current year are left to provide next year's flowers. Climbing roses (pictured) flower on growth produced in the current year, so can be pruned from autumn to mid-spring without affecting the flowers. Find out how to prune a climbing rose and a rambling rose.

Pruning a climbing rose
Pruning a climbing rose


It's the vigorous, arching growth of ramblers that enables them to be grown up and through trees, so regular pruning is required to keep them in bounds. Conversely, the growth of climbing roses (pictured) is more structured, with pruning required to establish a permanent framework that can be trained and tied in.

Climbing rose trained against a wall
A white climbing rose trained against a wall
Rosa banksiae 'Lutea'
Lemon flowers of rambling rose 'Lutea'

Climbers and ramblers to grow