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Climbing vs Rambling Roses - Ramblers

Updated on July 22, 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?

I prefer rambling roses

I prefer rambling roses

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    • Yamin Joe 3 years ago

      I love roses, what a wonderful lens and roses.

    • SBPI Inc 4 years ago


    • Chazz 6 years ago from New York

      Veilchenblau is my favorite. But I also grow climbers. Tough decision.

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      I prefer ramblers. They are all beautiful, though.

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      My dad loved rambling roses and had many. I love them too!

    • julieannbrady 6 years ago

      Ah, harkening back to grade school and piano lessons ... "rambling rose" is playing in my head!

    • Lisa Auch 7 years ago from Scotland

      I thank you for your informative lens - this year I have the most beautiful Rosa Albertine Rambler - This year has been the best ever for flowering, and the scent is to die for!

    I prefer climbing roses

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      • Laura Hofman 4 years ago from Naperville, IL

        I prefer climbing roses because I have more experience with them. Would love to give ramblers a try!

      • victoriahaneveer 4 years ago

        I love them all but if I had to pick I'd pick the climbing ones I guess

      • SailingPassion LM 5 years ago

        Both really although I hate the thorns. I have a beautiful climbing rose that is thornless - if only they all were, the smell of a traditional rose is unbeatable :-)

      • Miha Gasper 5 years ago from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

        Who can decide? We need third option!

      • Laura Hofman 6 years ago from Naperville, IL

        I love ALL roses, but prefer the climbing roses. Definitely want to buy "Bridge of Sighs" - lovely orange/coral color! Tropicana hybrid tea rose is one of my all time favorites. My first climber was "Polka" pretty yellow/peach coloration.

      • Craftybegonia 6 years ago

        I have a Rosa Banksia climbing an arbor (a white climbing, almost wild rose) but these you are showing are absolutely lovely! Thanks for the lens.

      • remanon 6 years ago

        While I love enthusiasm of lovely old ramblers the staying power of climbers wins it for me. We have recently moved and although we brought a few garden favourites along am I missing these old friends. The beautiful photos on your page has made a trip to the garden centre a must for this rainy autumn day.

      • the777group lm 7 years ago

        They're both good but such beautiful photos - is it all your own work?


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        • victoriahaneveer profile image

          victoriahaneveer 4 years ago

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

        • Rosaquid profile image

          Rosaquid 5 years ago

          Thank you for the lovely lens.

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          acreativethinker 5 years ago

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

        • SquidooRocks55 profile image

          SquidooRocks55 5 years ago

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

        • mihgasper profile image

          Miha Gasper 5 years ago from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

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

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          pepsharada 5 years ago

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

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          anonymous 6 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 6 years ago

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

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          anonymous 6 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

          mich1908 6 years ago

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

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          anonymous 6 years ago

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

        • LisaAuch1 profile image

          Lisa Auch 6 years ago from Scotland

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

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

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

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          anonymous 6 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

          remanon 6 years ago

          Such a lovely lens

        • norma-holt profile image

          norma-holt 7 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

          WDBurns 7 years ago

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

        • hayleylou lm profile image

          hayleylou lm 7 years ago

          Really lovely lens, well done, thumbs up :)

        • myraggededge profile image

          myraggededge 7 years ago

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