How to Plant Climbing Roses in Missouri


It can be hard to grow roses in Missouri. Residents of the state have hot, humid summers, which roses don't like, and cold wet winters--which roses definitely don't appreciate. Climbing roses, however, tend to be hardier than shrub roses, and if planted correctly and given the proper care, they can thrive, providing color and scent to summer gardens. Use compost and rotted manure to break up clay soil and improve drainage. Prune your climbing rose regularly and make sure there is plenty of air circulation around the canes and leaves.

Planting Bare-Root Roses in Missouri

Step 1

Plant bare root-climbing roses in early to mid-spring after the last frost date (in Missouri this is usually late March to early April) while they are still dormant. Choose roses with buds but no signs of growth.

Step 2

Select a spot in full sun with well-drained soil. If you don't have a spot in full sun a spot that receives 6 to 8 hours of morning sun with afternoon shade will work. In Missouri's zone 5 and 6, choose a planting site that gives your roses protection from the prevailing winter wind, to help them survive the cold, wet winters.

Step 3

Remove the climbing rose from its packaging and prune off broken branches and roots.

Step 4

Soak the bare root rose for 2-3 hours in a bucket of water before planting.

Step 5

Dig 2-3 inches of rotted manure into the top 6 inches of soil at the planting site. Missouri is known for its clay soils; if you have a heavy clay soil, add 4 inches of compost to the 2-3 inches of rotted manure and work it into the top 12 inches of soil at the planting site. The compost will improve drainage in the clay soil and make it easier for the rose's roots to penetrate while the rotted manure adds organic matter and nutrients.

Step 6

Dig a hole 16-20 inches deep and 16 to 22 inches wide approximately 4-8 inches from the support system. If you are planting multiple climbing roses space them 8-10 feet apart. Pile the removed soil to one side.

Step 7

Mix the removed soil with compost and superphosphate. The ideal combination is 1 part compost to 2 parts soil. After mixing the soil and compost mix in 1/2 pound of superphosphate for every 8 gallons of soil/compost mix. Remember the removed soil has already been mixed with rotted manure, and compost if you have clay soil; it should have a fine texture and be light and fluffy.

Step 8

Make a mound in the center of the hole using the removed soil-compost-superphophate mix. The mound should be tall enough to place the root/stem union slightly (about 1/2 inch) below the soil surface. The mound will be larger at the bottom than the top or cone-shaped. Compact the earth forming the mound together.

Step 9

Pour approximately 1/2 gallon of water into the hole and wait for it to drain. This moistens the soil without creating a soggy planting hole.

Step 10

Place the climbing rose on the mound of soil, spreading the roots so they hang down the sides of the cone. If you break a root while doing this, trim that root off above the break.

Step 11

Back-fill the hole with the compost-soil-superphosphate mix, tamping it carefully around the roots.

Step 12

Pour another 1/2 to 1 gallon of water around the roots of the rose. This will settle the soil and eliminate air pockets. Wait until all the water has completely drained and add more compost/soil/superphosphate mix if needed to level the soil.

Step 13

Attach the climbing rose to the trellis, fence or support with plant ties the same day as you plant it.

Step 14

Mulch the root zone with 2-3 inches of shredded bark or rotted manure. Pull the mulch 1-2 inches away from the canes to prevent rot.

Planting a Container-Grown Climbing Rose

Step 1

Plant container grown climbing roses in mid to late-spring to early summer. It is possible to plant container grown climbing roses in fall in Missouri, plant 6 to 8 weeks before the first frost date. In Missouri the first frost can occur anytime from mid-October to early November.

Step 2

Water the container rose well several hours prior to planting. This ensures the roots will not dry out while you are planting it.

Step 3

Choose a spot for container roses as you would for bare root roses, preparing the planting site and the removed soil in the same way.

Step 4

Dig a hole twice as wide but at the same depth the container rose was growing.

Step 5

Cut the container away from the climbing rose using a knife or heavy-duty scissors to avoid damaging the rose.

Step 6

Remove damaged or dead branches above a strong bud. Gently remove excess potting mix from the roots.

Step 7

Place the container rose in the middle of the planting hole and back-fill with soil tamping the soil gently around the root ball to remove air pockets.

Step 8

Finish planting container climbing roses as you would bare root roses (steps 12 through 14).

Tips and Warnings

  • Planting your rose too deeply (with the graft union buried) will result in the root stock sending up canes and the desired climbing rose dying.

Things You'll Need

  • Climbing roses, either bare-root or container grown, hardy in zones 6/7
  • Pruning shears
  • Plastic bucket
  • Trellis
  • Shovel
  • Well rotted manure
  • Compost
  • Superphosphate
  • Plant ties
  • Knife or heavy duty scissors


  • Botanicas's Roses, The encyclopedia of roses; Margaret Olds, (ed); 1998
  • University of Missouri extension; Selecting and planting roses

Who Can Help

  • University of Missouri extension; caring for roses after planting
  • Jackson & Perkins; rose catalog
  • White flower farm; plant catalog
Keywords: Planting climbing roses in Missouri, Climbing roses, Planting climbing roses, Planting roses, Roses