How to Trim a Climbing Rose


Trimming a climbing rose plant helps it grow healthy, lush and full of blooms. The day before you plan to trim your climbing rose plant, water it so it is well-hydrated. Watering will also lessen the shock of pruning. After you are finished trimming, untie the canes and retie them on your fence, trellis or other support system so the canes grow horizontally. A climbing rose plant either blooms once a year or repeatedly blooms throughout the warm months, and each is pruned slightly differently from the other.

Once-a-Year Blooming Roses

Step 1

Prune climbing roses that bloom only once after they are finished blooming, generally in the summer.

Step 2

Prune off the canes that just finished blooming so that 1/3 of its length is remaining. Prune just above a healthy-looking bud and at a 45-degree angle.

Step 3

Inspect your roses to see if your plant produced a lot of new canes. These did not bloom this year and will bloom next year.

Step 4

Trim all the new canes to about 3 to 4 feet from the ground if only a few canes grew this year. Pruning will encourage more growth for next year. On the other hand, if your plant produces lots of new canes, prune back the ones that look the oldest and weakest to the bud where from they were offshoots.

Repeat-Blooming Roses

Step 1

Trim the plants when they are dormant. In the winter or early spring before new growth begins will suffice.

Step 2

Trim off all suckers (small, unwanted green growth near the bottom of the plant). You do not want these, so prune below the bud rather than above it.

Step 3

Cut off all the canes that are old and look twiggy and woody. Cut just above the bud union at a 45-degree angle.

Step 4

Trim the canes growing vertically from the horizontal canes. Cut them back, again at a 45-degree angle, just above the second or third bud. Remove all the leaves from those stems.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not trim a climbing rose plant that is less than 3 years old, unless the canes are dead, diseased or damaged.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden gloves
  • Clean pruning shears


  • University of California: Pruning Climbing Roses
  • University of California: Rose Pruning Facts
Keywords: trim climbing rose, prune climbing rose, pruning rose plants

About this Author

Melissa Lewis has been a professional writer since 2005. Her work has appeared in various online publications. A former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist, Lewis is also a script writer, with a movie script, "Homecoming," she co-wrote currently in production. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology.