Care of Climbing Roses


There are many varieties of climbing roses; some are trailing and others are classified as ramblers. The flowers on these plants can be just as different, from tiny tea roses to very large blooms, and they come in many colors. Care for the climbing roses is more difficult in some aspects than that of traditional rose bushes and less involved in others. Some of the more vigorous climbers can grow 30 to 40 feet in one season. There are cultivars that will grow in every planting zone in the U.S.

Step 1

Water climbing roses once a week, unless it is extremely hot or dry--then increase to twice a week. Totally saturate the soil when watering so the roots grow deeper. Roses are prone to mildew problems, so water early in the morning to give the foliage time to dry before the sun goes down.

Step 2

Cut back the tops of the branches to 6 inches in the spring, if you are just planting the rose and the nursery has not trimmed it already. If it has been growing for a while or you are unsure if the nursery cut it back, allow it to grow without pruning until fall.

Step 3

Tie cotton string loosely around the stalks to the trellis, fence or support you are training the rose to climb. Climbing roses do not have tendrils and will not climb by themselves. Tie about half of the canes to climb and leave some at the bottom to produce blooms in a bush-type fashion.

Step 4

Apply a fertilizer made just for roses once a month. Refer to manufacturer's directions for amount to use. Twice a year, once after spring pruning and once after the first bloom, apply well-rotted manure to the soil around the plant. The manure will leech into the soil with each watering so there is no need to dig up the soil.

Step 5

Place mulch around the plants in the spring to conserve moisture and to keep the weeds from growing in the bed. Keep the mulch at least 4 inches from the main trunk of the rose.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not prune climbing roses for the first two years. This will give them time to grow long enough to cover your support. Dead or diseased canes can be trimmed at any time. In the third spring, cut back to shape or create a bushier look. Climbing roses do not need to be pruned unless they are growing out of the garden area. Deadhead spent blooms to keep the plant looking neat and prevent fungus disease.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Cotton string
  • Fertilizer made for roses
  • Well-rotted manure
  • Mulch


  • Rose Gardening Made Easy: How To Care For Climbing Roses
  • Old and Sold: Planting And Care Of Climbing Roses
  • Improve Your Garden Soil: Planting and Caring for Climbing Roses
Keywords: climbing rose care, growing roses, climbing flower plants

About this Author

Dale DeVries is a retired realtor with 30 years of experience in almost every facet of the business. DeVries started writing in 1990 when she wrote advertising and training manuals for her real estate agents. Since retiring, she has spent the last two years writing well over a thousand articles online for Associated Content, Bright Hub and Demand Studios.