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Climbing vs Rambling Roses - Ramblers

Updated on August 23, 2017

This article pits the heady scent, carefree habit and sheer gorgeousness of rambling roses against the more restrained but consistent flower power of climbers.

Which do you love? Ramblers such as Paul's Himalayan Musk with its memorable scent, cascading pink flowers and graceful habit or climbers such as Rose Zephirine Drouhin, which will give you bright pink flowers for much longer.

How to tell a rambler from a climber

Aren't climbing roses and rambling roses the same? No. While a rambler might look like a climber and smell like a climber, it doesn't flower like a climber or grow like a climber.

If you don't know if you have a rambler or a climber, count how many leaves are grouped together. Ramblers have groups of seven leaves; climbers groups of five.


Best Flowers

While it could be argued that rambling roses have the most beautiful and fragrant flowers, when it comes to sheer sustained flower power, climbers win hands down. While ramblers flower in dramatic surges or flushes - two a year at most, climbers flower repeatedly and continuously, sometimes from spring to fall.

Ramblers gain a little ground with their colorful hips, which are a boon to birds.

Best Climber

Rambler Roses actually climb better than climbers. They'll climb higher, wider and, once established, faster. Even small trees and ugly buildings are not beyond their reach.

In addition, they have soft pliable stems, which not only make them easy to steer but also lend them a graceful arching habit.


Easiest Roses

As long as you have plenty of space rambling roses are pretty low maintenance. They need very little pruning. In fact, as they flower on the previous year's growth, pruning too late or too much will give you fewer flowers. Climbers flower on the current year's growth, and if not pruned they can get leggy, with few flowers low down.

Rose Albertine
Rose Albertine

Best Rambling Roses

Rosa Paul's Himalayan Musk, Rosa Violette, Rosa Albertine, Rosa Gardenia, Rosa Veilchenblau.

Rosa Paul's Himalayan Musk

Rambling Hybrid Musk Rose

This rambler has one of the best fragrances of all Roses. An unforgettable unmistakable musky scent rises from innumerable clusters of pale pink and soft white flowers. They are carried on long trailing stems, which give it an easy grace. An extremely vigorous climber, it will sprint up pergolas, walls or unsightly buildings.

Paul's Himalayan Musk flowers once a year from June to August. It was introduced in 1916 in England, and has been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

It's fully hardy in the UK and zones 4 to 9 in the US.

Rosa Paul's Himalayan Musk - Musk Rose

Rosa Albertine

Albertine Rose Rambler

Rosa 'Albertine' is a famous and fast-growing rambler, and you may have seen it trailing over small trees and open walls. It's pretty tough too, that is, fully hardy, but a little prone to mildew.

Flowers are double, pink and highly scented, while leaves are glossy green with a hint of red copper when young. Stems are red.

Rosa 'Albertine' was bred in France in 1921 and it's a Wichurana Rambler. It is fully hardy in the UK and zones 4 to 9 in the US.

Rose Albertine

Rosa 'Albertine'
Rosa 'Albertine'

Rosa Violette

Rambling Violet Rose

Petal-packed double blue-purple flowers combined with a vigorous rambling habit make this one of the best of the so-called blue roses. Other attractions include a delicate fragrance and almost thornless stems.

This is a rambler so it blooms only once. Turbat introduced it in France in 1921.

Rosa Gardenia

If you can't bear to wait 'til summer for your rose blooms, try Rosa 'Gardenia'. In mid spring - April in warm climates - lemon buds open into fullsome cup-shaped milky white flowers. The show lasts about four weeks, and then repeats sporadically.

Flower are about 3" (7.5cm) across and carry the scent of green apples. Well contrasted leaves are darkish green and glossy.

This is another vigorous, albeit finicky, rambler. You'll need to protect the flowers from spring frosts, and it's prone to both mildew and blackspot. Hardy in the UK and zones 6 and warmer in the US, where it was bred in 1898. It will put up with some shade.

Rosa Veilchenblau

Multiflora Rambler or Blue Rambler

Another rambler with attitude, Rosa Veilchenblau has deep lilac flowers with exploding white centers and golden stamens.

Flowers are also semi-double, flattish, orange scented and produced in profusion. This rose prefers full sun, but will tolerate some shade.

Very vigorous.

Rose Golden Celebration
Rose Golden Celebration

Climbing Roses

Some of the best

Rose Peace, Rose Blaze and Rose Zephirine Drouhin.

Rose Zepherine Drouhin
Rose Zepherine Drouhin

Rose Zephirine Drouhin

Rosa 'Zephirine Drouhin'

Rose Zephrine Drouhin has flowers to die for. Deep pink, cup-shaped, double and very fragrant, they are old-fashioned in style. But unlike some some older varieties, Rose Zephrine Drouhin is disease resistant and easy to grow. Stems are nearly thornless.

A slightly reluctant climber, it can be enticed up small trellises, but probably won't cover anything larger. On the plus side, it will tolerate some shade, so it's useful for north-facing areas, for scrambling over perennials and as groundcover.

Rose 'Bridge of Sighs' - Orange Climbing Rose

Rosa 'Bridge of Sighs'
Rosa 'Bridge of Sighs'

This is an apricot-orange semi-double climbing rose with a sweet scent.

It'll climb to about 4 metres (14ft), and tolerate a little shade.

Rose New Dawn - Pink Rambling Rose


This is an incredible rose. Vigorous, repeat-flowering, hardy and shade tolerant, it will give you spray after spray of double, silvery-pink, highly scented flowers from July to September. RHS Award of Garden Merit Winner. Height is 10ft (3m); spread 9ft 2.5m.

Rosa Peace

The Peace Rose

The Peace Rose is the world's favorite rose. Hardy, disease resistant and handsome, it's been sold a hundred million times.

This is a hybrid tea climber with large pale yellow flowers.

The Peace Rose was launched on April 29, 1945, the day Berlin fell and the end of World War II.

Rose Blaze

Famous Short Climbing Rose

A very popular compact free-flowering shorter climber, Rosa 'Blaze' floods with scarlet cupped fragrant semi-double flowers in spring. They keep coming through the summer culminating in a second flush in the fall.

Height is to about 12 feet (3.6m). Leaves are green tinged with red

This is an easy climber, but it prefers fertile soil, full sun and lots of support for its large heavy flowers. It's hardy in the UK; US zones 6 to 10.

Rosa Lavinia
Rosa Lavinia

Rose Lavinia

Pink Climbing Rose

Lavinia has pink flowers, glossy mid green foliage and a slight fragrance. Flowering is from spring to fall.

Rose Tickled Pink
Rose Tickled Pink

Rose Tickled Pink

Rose of the Year 2007

Summer-long flowering coupled with excellent disease resistance make 'Tickled Pink' an easy choice. Flowers are a lovely shade of pink, leaves are green and glossy and growth is vigorous and reliable.

Duel - Climbers vs Ramblers

Which do you prefer?


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    • victoriahaneveer profile image


      6 years ago

      I adore roses and was happy to find your rose lens!

    • Rosaquid profile image


      6 years ago

      Thank you for the lovely lens.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Roses are so beautiful. Very nice lens. Thanks for sharing. :)

    • SquidooRocks55 profile image


      6 years ago

      You certainly have some great pictures of roses on you lens. Very beautiful!

    • mihgasper profile image

      Miha Gasper 

      6 years ago from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

      Roses are my favorites. They are not just plain beautiful, they carry tremendous symbolic power too!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      just i found a great lens and a great lens master. All ur lenses are amazing!!!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      your lens is so beautiful. the pictures are so vibrant. i wish we could grow roses here in the Philippines but our climate won't allow it. thanks for sharing your lens.

    • bames24 lm profile image

      bames24 lm 

      7 years ago

      great pictures... we are thinking of getting a climber... we already have lots of ramblers

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I did not comment in the Duel because I have a variety of climbers and ramblers in my garden and I love them both. One of my pink ramblers has worked its way through an apple tree and it looks lovely against the green backdrop.

      Then some of my climbers are all over the wooden posts we put around my patio.

      Lovely pics on this lens, which I have promoted in the SquidU Forum - I hope it gets some traffic :)

    • mich1908 profile image


      8 years ago

      Roses are my all-time favourite flower and I just enjoyed seeing those beautiful photos on your lense.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This is a very beautiful lens! Roses are my second favorite flower, right after echinacea.

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 

      8 years ago from Scotland

      I just had to come back and Bless this lens! Blessed~

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Gorgeous roses! Love this lens.Roses are my favorite flowers.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great work! Very interesting informations for a "want to be" owner of a garden filled with Roses :)

      Your lens is featured in the lens:

      Roses - Lots of informations

    • remanon profile image


      8 years ago

      Such a lovely lens

    • norma-holt profile image


      8 years ago

      Gorgeous photos and great topic. Who does not like roses, the queen of all flowers. *-*Blessed*-* and featured on Sprinkled with Stardust

    • WDBurns profile image


      8 years ago

      Lovely pics, i could almost smell them. Thumbs up.

    • hayleylou lm profile image

      hayleylou lm 

      8 years ago

      Really lovely lens, well done, thumbs up :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Lovely lens. Beautiful roses. I don't care which but prefer both to shrub roses. Blessed by a Squid angel :-)


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