Care of Climbing Roses
Rambling Rose Bushes

The care of climbing roses will be made infinitely simpler if the proper varieties are chosen at planting time. Discover products that will simplify winter climbing rose bush care.

Learn how to make the care of rambling rose bushes easy.

Climbing roses on arches in Elizabeth park.

Rose-covered arches in frosty Hartford, Ct.

Many gardeners adore the look but fear the care of climbing roses.

Climbing rose care, during the growing season, is much the same as caring for other types of roses.

They need at least 6 hours of full sun per day and good soil. They need to be watered and fed regularly just as other roses. They fall victim to the same rose diseases which are easy to avoid by selecting disease resistant roses.

If that ship has sailed and you've already got a disease prone climbing rose in your landscape, use a fungicide to keep the black spot or rust at bay. Begin applying the product before the disease symptoms appear and reapply it as often as the label directs until fall.

Ortho Rose Pride is endorsed by the ARS.

Garden Safe's fungicide is ready to use. You don't even need to mix it.

If you prefer to use an organic fungicide, here's one with a miticide included.

Climbing Rose Care
How to Prune Climbing Roses

Bright Red Rose Climbing Over Whitewashed Cottage, Crete
Bright Red Rose Climbing Over Whitewashed Cottage, Crete

Photographic Print
Craddock, Erika
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Climbing roses are pruned according to their blooming habit. This page will instruct you in pruning repeat blooming climbers. See How to Prune Climbing Roses to learn how to trim ramblers that only bloom once in the spring.

Care of Climbing Roses
A Note on Rambling Roses

The old garden ramblers are the toughest climbers you can grow. They are generally much more cold hardy than the modern climbing roses and nearly impervious to insects and disease.

The problem:

  1. They sometimes grow to massive proportions. Modern landscapes do not always have enough space to devote to these buxom beauties.

  2. Also, most rambling roses offer a single, magnificent flush of spring bloom. The smaller climbing roses tend to flush repeatedly throughout the growing season.

    Modern rose gardeners prefer the longer season of bloom they get from the climbers to the bigger flower display put on by the ramblers.

    This has caused rambling roses to fall out of favor.

Cold zone gardeners who have the space and a strong enough support should definitely consider planting them.

Climbing Roses Winter Care

Climbing roses trained against a brick wall.

Climbing roses trained against a brick, stone or concrete wall will receive some wind protection.

The wall will also store the sun's heat during the day and radiate it back onto the canes on cold nights.

This is the heavy lifting of climbing rose care. People in cold climates do some really dramatic things to try to pull these plants through the winter.

Things like untying the canes from the rose support, laying them on the ground and burying them in mulch or soil. Or wrapping each cane with insulation as you do to keep pipes from freezing.

While you certainly can do all these things to protect a cherished rose, do you really want to?

I'll tell you a secret.

There isn't a plant in the world I would go to this much trouble to grow.

Here is my thinking on such things: Even if you are willing to do it this year, who is to say that you will be willing and/or able to do it next year.

Or the year after that.

I'll tell you something else. Even if you go to extremes to protect climbing roses during the winter, it won't work.

A rose that is too tender for your zone will weaken and eventually die no matter what you do.

There's a better way:

  • The care of climbing roses will be easier if you select only climbers that are fully winter hardy in your growing zone. Stop buying climbing roses locally. This is how you end up with a rose that is not recommended for your zone.

    When you order roses online, you can get that information. I include the recommended growing zones in each rose description I write. And you might notice that my recommendations are sometimes more conservative than what you see on other websites. This is because I want you to be successful.

    If a rose will grow in zone 5a but only if you plant it on the south side of the house in a warm micro climate, I will recommend it for zone 5b.

    Climbers that are really hardy in your area will not need much winter protection.

  • You may want to use a rose collar filled with clean soil or mulch to protect the graft union from freezing and thawing repeatedly which can damage it.

  • Snow is great insulation. If you get cold and wind with no snow, you may want to spray the canes with Wilt Pruf or wrap them and the support with a frost cover to protect the canes from the drying effect of the wind.

  • Caring for Other Types of Roses

    Rose Bush Care: Maintaining Shrub Roses

    Miniature Rose Care Indoors and Out

    Go from Care of Climbing Roses to Rose Tree Care

    Climbing Golden Showers Rose

    Go from Care of Climbing Roses to Botanical Journeys Plant Guides Home