How to Prune a Climbing Rose

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Climbing roses are vigorous plants that act like vines in the landscape, covering arbors, fences and trellises. In some varieties, the canes can grow as high as 20 feet. These long canes can be bent over and fastened in a horizontal manner, promoting the formation of shorter lateral stems on which flowers develop. Pruning your climbing rose properly will result in a well shaped, thriving vine.

Pruning Spring-Blooming Climbers

Step 1

Remove two or three of the oldest canes to make room for fresh new growth after the rose has finished blooming, usually in late spring or early summer. These roses bloom on old wood, so if you prune them in early spring before the buds develop, there will be no flowers for that season.

Step 2

Leave four to six of the newest climbing canes. Secure these canes with plant ties along a fence, trellis or arbor, keeping an even number of canes on each side of the plant for a balanced appearance.

Step 3

Cut out any dense growth and any branches that are criss-crossing. Do not leave any stumps when you cut off branches or stems; these allow disease to enter the plant.

Step 4

Trim back lateral shoots by two or three buds. Cut just above an outward-facing bud, making the cut downward at a 45-degree angle.

Pruning Everbearing Climbers

Step 1

Prune repeat-flowering roses in late winter or early spring. Deadhead on a regular basis throughout the growing season to encourage new blooms.

Step 2

Remove two to three canes of older wood in late winter or early spring, leaving four to six new canes. Secure the branches along a fence, trellis or arbor using plant ties; place an even number of canes on each side to balance the plant.

Step 3

Cut out any branches that are criss-crossing or any dense growth to clean up the plant. Trim remaining branches to control the shape and size of the rose.

Step 4

Prune back the lateral shoots by two or three buds. Make the cut directly above an outward-facing bud at a downward 45-degree angle. This allows water to run off the cut.

Things You'll Need

  • Curved-edge pruning shears
  • Long-handled pruner


  • Rose Gardening Made Easy
  • Ed Hume Seeds
Keywords: climbing roses, pruning roses, trimming roses

About this Author

Amy Hannaford works as a medical assistant in Southern Oregon. She has been writing online articles about health and gardening since 2008. Hannaford holds an Associate of Arts and taught childbirth classes from 1993-2010. She enjoys researching nutrition and perfecting her gardening skills.

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