How to Train Unruly Climbing Roses


Climbing roses enhance many types of landscapes, from formal settings to cottage gardens. Like many other types of vines and climbing, woody plants, roses require regular care to keep them looking their best. Several types of roses, including climbing varieties, can easily become overgrown and unruly. The shabby appearance of unruly climbing roses detracts from the beauty of their blossoms. Train your climbing roses by pruning them and encouraging healthy, new growth.

Step 1

Plant your new, climbing roses by trellises or sections of fencing. For existing roses, place a sturdy trellis or fence next to the plant. Teach your climbing roses to use this for support by gently tying the base of the plant to the trellis or section of fence. Use a soft piece of twine or commercial plant ties. Twist this gently around the lower stem and tie firmly to the supporting structure. Encourage lateral growth by keeping the stems horizontal when attaching to the supports.

Step 2

Cut dead and damaged sections out of your climbing roses with a sharp pair of pruning shears. Avoid extensive cutting in young specimens. Limit your cutting to damaged growth in plants younger than two or three years old. Look for broken or dead twigs. Cut these portions off the healthy parts of your plants by snipping through the end of the healthy portion, removing a small bit of the green growth.

Step 3

Train young climbers by tying unruly sections of your climbing roses to your supporting structure. Grasp a young shoot and gently wrap the end of your twine around the stem, avoiding damage to the leaves and blossoms. Place this section in a horizontal direction against your trellis and firmly tie to the structure. Continue in this manner to place all the strong shoots, also called canes, against your support. These soft young shoots easily bend and continue in the desired direction. Keep new portions tied against the structure in the same, horizontal direction. As these tender shoots mature, they form hard, woody sections that retain their trained shape.

Step 4

Prune your mature climbing roses every year to cut away excess woody growth. Cut away old, hard canes to encourage new, pliable canes. Remove any suckers growing near the base of your climbing roses to eliminate bushy overgrowth.

Tips and Warnings

  • Use gardening gloves when working with thorny roses.

Things You'll Need

  • Twine or plant ties
  • Trellis or fence
  • Pruning shears


  • University of California: Pruning Climbing Roses
  • North Carolina State University: Training/Pruning Vines

Who Can Help

  • Clemson University: Pruning Roses
Keywords: climbing roses, pruning roses, pruning climbing roses

About this Author

Laura Dee is a writer, artist, and the co-owner of Wallace & Wallace Copywriting,an online business which specializes in providing marketing materials and copy to various companies. She has written for Demand Studios since 2008 and is currently working on a series of childrens' picture books.