How to Care for Climbing Roses


The most romantic way to enter a country or English style garden is under a trellis of magnificent, nodding rose blooms hovering overhead. Climbing roses are the perfect way to add a vertical element to a garden while providing a clever cover for plain structures. Roses require attentive care, but reward their keeper with beauty.

Step 1

Choose a climber that will grow in the space you have available. Climbing roses can reach as high as 60 feet and will spread out, so choose a rose that will fit your space and light requirements for best results.

Step 2

Prepare the planting site by adding one part organic material to two parts soil and mix thoroughly together throughout the bedding site. Dig at least 3 feet down when mixing to ensure nutrients will be available to the root system of the rose.

Step 3

Provide support for the climbing rose, paying special attention to how heavy the limbs will eventually become. Supply a sturdy frame such as a wooden pole, pergola or fence, or a metal pole or fence, or a trellis. Special fasteners or clips may be purchased at gardening centers to attach canes as they climb, or use strips of fabric or twine. Do not tie them too tightly or the canes may become damaged.

Step 4

Plant climbing rose in the spring so the roots can establish before winter. Fall planting in mild winter climates is acceptable. Dig a hole 2 square feet or deep enough that it will accommodate the roots without requiring cuts or bending. If the rose is bare root, soak it overnight. Mound soil in the bottom of the hole and gently spread the roots out over the mound. Lightly tamp soil around the roots and add water to the top of the hole. After the water thoroughly soaks into the soil, fill the hole completely and firm the soil around the rose's base to a height of 6 to 8 inches.

Step 5

Water a rose climber frequently while its roots are establishing. Avoid watering on foliage and buds as this practice spreads disease. Water from the base with a drip system and not forceful sprays of water from a hose.

Step 6

Fertilize three times during the growing season. The first fertilization, with a rose specific granular or liquid fertilizer, occurs in spring just before the blooms set. Mid summer is the second application and mid August will be the last, to stimulate dormancy in the climbing rose for winter.

Step 7

Train the rose by adding fasteners vertically as the canes reach upward, gradually encouraging horizontal growth if desired. Begin securing canes from the first growth if training around a pole or column. For the second and third growing season, upward growth will be encouraged by pruning lateral branches down to no more than three buds. Prune climbing roses in spring after bloom is completed as the rose matures.

Things You'll Need

  • Organic matter
  • Shovel
  • Supports
  • Fasteners
  • Rose fertilizer


  • University of Missouri Extension, Roses: Selecting and Planting
  • University of California, Napa County Master Gardeners: Climbing Roses
  • Kansas State University Cooperative Extension Service, Garden Guides: Roses
Keywords: care of climbing roses, climbing roses tips, growing climbing roses

About this Author

Desirae Roy began writing in 2009. After earning certification as an interpreter for the deaf, Roy earned a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from Eastern Washington University. Part of her general studies included a botany course leading to a passion for the natural world.