How to Cut Back a Climbing Rose


Establishing and tending a climbing rose in a landscape area is a rewarding gardening project. In a sunny location, a climbing rose will thrive as it climbs a vertical support structure. After allowing a climbing rose to establish for two to three years, it is time to cut it back periodically to encourage healthy growth and continued vigor. The methods of pruning will depend upon whether you have climbers that bloom once or repeatedly during the growing season.

Cutting Back Once-Bloomers

Step 1

Use the pruning shears or the loppers to cut back a once-bloomer when it finishes blooming for the growing season. Immediately after blooming finishes, remove up to one-third of the oldest canes by cutting them off just above the bud union (the main point on the rose bush where new canes grow).

Step 2

Look for suckers protruding from the soil around the climbing rose and cut them off at soil level.

Step 3

Remove overgrowth from the center of the climbing rose to reduce congestion and crowding. Cut these twigs off where they connect with the main horizontal canes of the climbing rose.

Step 4

Rake up all foliage and stems littering the ground to prevent bacteria and decay forming around the base of the climbing rose plant.

Cutting Back Ever-Bloomers

Step 1

Prune these climbing roses while they are dormant in late winter or early spring. Examine the bud union and remove any dead or old canes growing out from this point.

Step 2

Cut any suckers you find off at the soil level with the pruning shears.

Step 3

Examine the lateral canes that bloomed the previous growing season. Cut these lateral canes off to leave up to three bud eyes remaining on these canes (a bud eye is the point where leaves extend out from the lateral canes). Make the pruning cuts at 45-degree angles immediately above a bud eye.

Step 4

Rake up all foliage from the soil area and discard it.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Loppers
  • Rake


  • University of California, Davis: Pruning Climbing Roses
  • Rosemania: Anatomy of a Bareroot Rose
Keywords: climbing rose, cut back rose, methods of pruning, pruning climbing rose

About this Author

Kathryn Hatter is a 42-year-old veteran homeschool educator and regular contributor to Natural News. She is an accomplished gardener, seamstress, quilter, painter, cook, decorator, digital graphics creator and she enjoys technical and computer gadgets. She began writing for Internet publications in 2007. She is interested in natural health and hopes to continue her formal education in the health field (nursing) when family commitments will allow.