Growing Climbing Roses for the Garden or Patio

These Flowering Climbers are Among the Most Popular Garden Plants

Climbing and rambling roses are hardy, easy to grow, and look spectacular on a garden trellis or pergola or scrambling up a tree, with flowers in a huge range of colours.

Climbing and rambling roses are among the most popular flowering plants and rightly deserve a place in almost any garden design.They are often planted to scramble over a garden trellis or pergola, but the smallest varieties may only reach 3 or 4 feet, making them suitable for the smallest garden or patio, while the most vigorous, growing to 30 feet and more, will cover a high wall or scramble to the top of a good sized tree.

Different varieties may produce double, semi double or single flowers from one to four inches across in a wonderful range of pinks, lavenders, whites, reds, yellows, oranges, many of which are fragrant. One or two even bear blue flowers.

Types of Climbing Roses

True climbing roses have a branching habit producing a framework of old wood, with flowers appearing on the new side growth. They generally need to be tied in to a support, but some use their hooked thorns to support themselves as they scramble through another bush or tree.

Ramblers have large clusters of flowers on long flexible stems, and throw up new stems from ground level each year. They also need to be tied in, but their flexible stems are particularly good for training on pillars or pergolas.

More information on other types of roses.

Buying Climbing Roses

Roses are traditionally planted as bare root plants in the autumn, but pot grown specimens may be planted at any time of year.

The best selection of plants will normally be found though a specialist rose grower or a reputable garden centre or supplier.

New buds should be tight and plump. Avoid plants with long yellowing shoots. These have been lifted too long, or badly stored.

When buying bare root rose plants, take care that the root ball is never allowed to dry out, and prepare the ground in advance so that they can be planted without delay.

If buying pot grown plants in leaf, make sure that they haven’t become pot bound, and look for fresh healthy, bright green leaf growth. Avoid plants with veined, yellowing leaves, or those showing significant signs of mildew, rust or blackspot (it may be impossible to find plants which are entirely disease free in the more disease prone varieties).

Climbing Rose Care and Cultivation

In general, climbing rose care and cultivation are exactly the same as for other groups of roses. However, particular considerations when growing climbing roses include:

If planting against a wall, set the rose at least 18 inches away from the wall to avoid any dry zone.
Only certain varieties of climber will grow under a tree or on a north wall. Choose a shade tolerant variety for these aspects.
Put any trellis or other support in position before planting the rose to avoid damage or disturbance.

Pruning Roses

Most climbing roses need regular pruning although this may not be possible with the more vigorous varieties, and these can be left to their own devices.

Do not prune newly bought roses when planting – leave them as they are presented by the grower or nursery.

Popular Climbing Rose Varieties

Among the most attractive and popular varieties, some of which are climbing sports of bush roses, are:

Albertine (rambler). 3.5 inch warm pink double flowers thoughout the summer. Very fragrant. Prone to mildew, so best grown away from a wall. Height 15 feet.
Climbing Allgold. Large clusters of bright yellow, slightly fragrant double flowers, which don’t fade as many yellows do, from spring to early summer. Disase resistant with glossy bright green foliage. Height 15 feet.
Climbing Iceberg. Large clusters of lightly scented semi double cream/white flowers. Almost thornless. Good for a north wall or growig through a small tree. height 18 feet.
New Dawn. Small sprays of satin textured blush pink flowers and healthy glossy foliage. Continuous flowering and very fragrant. Height 10 feet. Good for growing on a north wall.
Climbing Orange Sunblaze (Miniature). Clusters of orange double blooms throughout the summer, with glossy green foliage. Height 7-10 feet.
Climbing Paul’s Scarlet. Clusters of lightly scented semi double deep red flowers. repeat flowering. Good on a north wall. Height 10 feet.
Rambling Rector (rambler. Masses of large clusters of small double, fragrant white flowers in July. Very vigorous and good for a north wall or scrambling up tree. Height 30 feet.
Zephirine Drouhin. Large semi double cerise/pink fragrant flowers throughout summer. Height 9 feet. Suitable for a north wall.

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