A comprehensive guide for growing spectacular climbing roses

Climbing roses are incredibly popular due to their ability to transform unsightly buildings and fences into vibrant elements of your landscape design. They are an excellent choice for vertical greening in your garden, and to top it off, many of them have a delightful fragrance!

However, climbing roses require specific care and attention to maintain their beauty. It's important to understand the different types of climbing roses to make the right choice based on your specific needs. There are two types:
  • Climbing Roses: Climbing roses belong to a group of roses that possess distinctive characteristics, such as large flowers, long and rigid canes, and the ability to bloom repeatedly. Many of these varieties are the result of hybridization between large-flowered tea-hybrid roses, floribundas, or grandifloras. This group includes most modern climbing roses that showcase large and impressive blooms.
  • Rambling Roses: Rambling roses, on the other hand, are characterized by their small flowers that bloom profusely in clusters. These clusters can range from 5 to 7 flowers up to several dozen, and they typically appear on second-year canes. The young shoots of the current season do not produce flowers. Ramblers are perfect for growing over arches and obelisks, and their flexible and pliable canes can be easily trained to follow the shape of the support structure.

How to plant seedlings of climbing roses?


First thing first is choosing the right soil for climbing roses. As a general rule, roses thrive in fertile, loose, and ideally loamy soil, which promotes a lush bloom. If your existing soil is not suitable for roses, there are ways to improve it.
If you have loamy soil, you can enhance its suitability by adding some sand, and vice versa. This adjustment will not compromise the soil's fertility but rather assist in regulating its air and water permeability. Additionally, to enrich poor soil, incorporating black soil and biohumus can be beneficial. When planting, the prepared hole should be filled with this soil mixture, allowing it to occupy about two-thirds of the hole's capacity. This will ensure that there is ample space for the seedling's roots to spread freely within it.

Preparing the planting hole

It is important to note that rose roots can extend as deep as 6.5 feet (2 meters). Therefore, it is advisable to assess the depth of groundwater penetration on the site to avoid overwatering your plants.
To improve the quality of the top layer of soil, where you will directly plant the rose seedling, it is recommended to add fertilizers. This includes incorporating 11 lbs (5 kg) of compost and 1 cup of wood ash. Additionally, you can use complex potassium-phosphorus fertilizers to provide essential nutrients to the roses, following the instructions provided. However, it's crucial to exercise caution when using nitrogen fertilizers, as they should only be applied during spring planting.
For planting the roses, it is recommended to create a planting hole with an optimal width of 1.5 feet (40-50 cm). The spacing between saplings of rambling roses should be 5-6.5 feet (1.5-2 m), while for climber rose saplings, the distance should be 3.5-5 feet (1-1.5 m).

Preparation of seedlings

Once your soil is ready, it's time to prepare the seedlings for planting. Before planting, it is recommended to soak the seedlings in water for 2-3 hours. In the case of seedlings with open roots during spring planting, it is advisable to place the plant in a container with a rooting stimulant for 24 hours. This can help promote healthy root development and increase the chances of successful establishment in the soil.

Planting technology

When everything is ready and prepared, it's time to proceed with planting your roses.
Begin by adding a layer of fertile soil at the bottom of the prepared hole. Next, position the rose plant in the center of the hole, ensuring it is placed at the appropriate depth. For own-rooted seedlings, it is recommended to plant them 2 inches (5 cm) deeper than their previous growth level. Grafted seedlings, on the other hand, should be planted in a way that the graft union sits 4 inches (10 cm) below the soil level.
Gently backfill the hole with the soil mixture that contains fertilizers, ensuring that the seedling is adequately supported. Take care to firm the soil around the base of the seedling to provide stability. Once planted, thoroughly water the rose plant to promote proper hydration and root establishment. Additionally, it is advisable to create a soil mound mixed with sand around the rose, raising it to a height of approximately 8 inches (20 cm). This can help with moisture retention and provide some insulation for the plant.

Further care of roses

Climbing roses need specific further care. As these plants are demanding, you need to treat them accordingly. 


During dry weather, young plants should be watered every other day, while mature plants can be watered every 7-10 days. One big bucket of water is sufficient for watering one plant. In extremely dry conditions, you may need to use two buckets.

After 5 days following watering (or after rainfall), it is necessary to loosen the soil around the bush to prevent rapid evaporation of moisture.


In the first year, young plants do not require additional fertilization. In the second year and subsequent years, climbing roses are fertilized according to the following schedule:
After removing the winter protection, apply ammonium nitrate fertilizer according to the instructions.
Repeat this fertilization after 2 weeks.
During the budding period (April-May), fertilize with a complex nitrogen-based fertilizer.
Before the start of flowering (June), fertilize with a solution of chicken manure (1:20) at a rate of 1 US gallon (5 liters) per plant.
After the first wave of flowering (late July to early August), apply complex phosphorus-potassium fertilizers without nitrogen, following the instructions.
After complete flowering (September), apply 1.06 ounces of superphosphate per square yard (30 grams per square meter).
With so many different types of nutrients for your rose, you can get confused! So be sure to set a Care Task on your climbing rose fertilizer to make everything perfect!


It is crucial to observe the timing of rose pruning and understand its purpose. Rose pruning is carried out according to the following schedule:

Spring Pruning (late April to early May):
  • Preventative pruning is used to rejuvenate old bushes and prevent fungal diseases.
  • Sanitary pruning is applied after removing winter protection. It helps remove frost-damaged and damaged shoots.
  • Thinning pruning improves the appearance and health of plants, preventing overcrowding of bushes that can reduce sunlight exposure.
  • Formative pruning is performed to shape a beautiful and symmetrical bush of a climbing rose.
  • Pruning for flowering involves shortening last year's growth.

Summer Pruning (throughout the season, as needed):
  • Formative pruning is done in the first summer by pinching back shoots above the 3rd or 4th leaflet and removing the first buds.
  • Sanitary pruning is performed to remove withered and broken branches.
  • Pruning for flowering involves removing faded flower clusters up to a developed bud. After this pruning, young shoots start to grow actively and bloom again. (This type of pruning is not conducted in August.)
Autumn Pruning (October-November). The timing should be based on the beginning of frosts:
  • Sanitary pruning in autumn involves removing immature shoots, leaves, and shortening the bushes to the height of winter protection. Autumn pruning is done to increase the winter hardiness of climbing roses.

Winter protection for climbing roses

Delicate varieties of climbing roses are susceptible to cold temperatures and require winter protection. Without proper care, these thorny beauties may not survive the winter. However, it is important not to overdo it, as rose bushes can suffer more from excessive warmth than from the cold.
Before providing winter protection, it is necessary to perform some preparatory tasks. Firstly, conduct the autumn sanitary pruning of the roses, removing all the leaves. Secondly, mound soil around the base of the plants before the onset of cold weather.
The simplest method is to lay your rose plant on the ground and secure it with any suitable method, then cover it with non-woven fabric. When snow falls, lightly cover the rose with a thin layer of snow. This type of protection will help your rose withstand the winter without any significant losses.

It is evident that climbing roses require attention and proper care to thrive. Neglecting their needs can make them susceptible to various issues and illnesses. To ensure the health and well-being of your climbing roses, it is essential to provide them with suitable soil, adequate watering, and appropriate fertilization.
If you ever notice any signs of distress or are unsure about the health of your climbing roses, you can always seek assistance from a professional or utilize resources such as the Plant Doctor. Monitoring the condition of your roses and addressing any problems promptly will help ensure their longevity and allow you to enjoy their stunning beauty for years to come.