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How to Space Climbing Roses

By Kathryn Hatter ; Updated September 21, 2017

Growing roses vertically can be an enjoyable challenge for the rose gardener. While climbing roses will oblige you by growing up along a vertical support, they will need plenty of encouragement and assistance along the way. As you establish your climbing rose landscape, space climbing roses carefully along the support to ensure they have adequate room to sprawl. Air circulation is important for the canes as they travel vertically up the wall or trellis.

Plan your climbing rose planting scheme. After choosing your climbing rose variety, consider carefully the growth habits of your variety. Some climbing roses sprawl and grow vigorously and need more space and other varieties grow more compactly, requiring less space. On average, plan to give most climbing rose plants approximately 7 to 10 feet of spacing between each climbing rose plant to allow it to grow to its fullest potential along the support. Consult any specific planting instructions you might have for your climbing rose variety to learn specific spacing recommendations for your variety, if possible.

Spread a tarp nearby your planting area to hold the soil you remove as you dig the holes.

Dig holes for each climbing rose plant at the proper spacing. Make the holes between 1 and 2 feet away from the climbing structure. Make the holes 2 feet deep and approximately twice as wide as the root balls of the roses. As you remove the soil, place it directly onto the tarp.

Mix one part compost into the soil you removed from the holes. Mix the compost and soil well to incorporate them fully. Refill each hole approximately halfway with the amended soil from the tarp.

Place the climbing roses into the prepared holes so the roots fan out in the holes. Position the roses in the holes so the graft union (the point where the top of the rose meets the roots) is just above the soil level if you live in a warm region and approximately 4 inches below the soil level if you live in a cold region. Fill soil in around the roses to finish planting them. Tamp the soil down firmly with your hands.

Provide a generous watering for the newly planted climbers. Add mulch around the soil in a 2-inch layer.

Pull the structural canes gently up to the support structure. Keep these structural canes horizontal and tie each one to the structure using the stretchy plant ties. Space the structural canes carefully on the support, leaving at least 1 foot of free space between each cane on the structure for ample air circulation. Try to balance the canes evenly along the structure if possible to get the climbing roses off to a suitable start.


Things You Will Need

  • Climbing support (trellis, fence or wall)
  • Tarp
  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Climbing rose plants
  • Shredded mulch (wood chips or bark)
  • Stretchy plant ties

About the Author


Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.