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How to Grow Beautiful, Colorful, Fragrant Climbing Roses

Updated on July 30, 2014

Climbing Roses fill in holes

If there's an empty spot in your landscaping scheme that needs to be filled, a fence that needs something to be added to, or a wall somewhere that looks too bare, a climbing rose could be just the thing to get things looking right in your yard.

When you add fragrant climbing roses to you landscaping, you can shape and mold them into the design you want, and it's much easier to grow than other roses, and if you do it right, much less work.

The first thing to consider with climbing rose bushes is where to put them. Most recommendations is to not put them closer than 6 feet apart, and up to eight feet apart, depending on how many you're going to use and where.

You can place them four feet apart, but that creates a problem because they then become labor intense, as you must keep them looking good to get the desired effect, and vining canes of any type are difficult to manage. That takes away somewhat for the reason to use climbing roses.

Climbing roses can be trained either horizontally or vertically, so farther apart won't matter, and when they're trained horizontally, they'll even produce more blooms to enjoy.

Now if you understand that when putting them in, and there's a place where that would work for you, by all means go ahead. The number of blooms in a small place can be gorgeous. But remember when they stop blooming the canes and plants will look like a tangled mess.

Climbing roses are easy to grow

While anyone can really enjoy climbing roses, if you're a beginner they're especially compelling because of how quickly they grow and easy they are to be successful with.  

Roses love sunlight

When taking into account your climbing rose planting strategy, make sure sunlight is included in your decision. Roses of any type love sunlight, and they perform better when placed in full sunlight, although partial shade will work pretty good too.

A rule of thumb to follow is the more sunlight the more blooms, and the more thick and healthy your canes and stems will be.

There are some varieties that can work pretty good in the shade, so you can think of that in your decision if shade is not able to be avoided. 

Growing Roses : How to Plant Climbing Roses

Growing climbing roses close to house

If you want to plant climbing roses close to a house, you want to think of a couple of things:

First, will it get enough sunlight against the house, and second, will there be too much heat if you're putting it on the south side of your house.

The outer part of your house will heat up with direct sun, so that has to be part of your decision when planting there. You may want to put it out a little ways from the house if it's too direct.

Last, you may want to paint you house sometime, and that could be a problem with a long, climbing rose bush or two to have to deal with.

White climbing roses around door

Climbing Roses great companion plants

Another strength about using roses is they work great with most companion plants.

The exception to this would be bulbs, because of having to dig them up and replant them year after year. But other than that, almost all plants or flowers work with roses. 

Climbing Rose - Coral Dawn

Growing Roses : How to Transplant Climbing Roses

How do you plant a climbing rose in the ground?

Rose roots need a lot of lose soil and room, so you should dig about a two foot deep by two foot wide hole.

Before depositing the plant in the soil, fill the bottom with either some type of natural fertilizer like seasoned cow manure, or mix it together with regular fertilizer. Fill it in at about a six inch level.

Put some soil over that before putting your climbing rose in the ground, as direct contact with fertilizer in the beginning isn't recommended, as it could burn the roots.

Once that's done, than take a mulch of some type or peat moss and mix it at a 50/50 rate with about half the soil you dug up.

Now fill the hole back up and bring it several inches above the ground before planting your rose. This is done because soil always settles, and it isn't good to have a depressed rose planting in the ground.

When you put your rose in, give it a generous initial watering.

Climbing roses around window

Watering Roses

Roses love water like they love sunshine, and so they can take up to two inches of water a week per plant.

Like with most plants, it's better to water at the base of the rose, but if you water in the morning overhead that should be okay because it'll dry before nightfall.

Potted climbing roses

Climbing roses are great for growing in pots, but the secret to successfully doing that is to have a very large pot. Keep in mind the same thing with digging a large hole in the ground: the roots of a rose need a lot of room, and that doesn't change with potted climbing roses.

With smaller varieties they can grow perpetually in pots and perform extraordinarily well.

Potted roses are different than roses in the ground in watering, as they need a drink every day for obvious reasons. They also must be protected during winter months. 

Blaze climbing rose on fence

Pruning climbing roses

Climbing roses are easy to prune, and you can really do it to coincide with whatever design or shape you want them to take.

It's best to do most of rose pruning in the spring.
There are so many opinions on how to prune roses that I'm not going to try to reveal any of them here. Much of it is common sense and knowing the condition of your rose plant.

Look for dying canes and remove them. After several years there will probably be some dead canes that need to be removed, and we should keep the number of canes at around eight for best results.

Growing Roses : How to Prune Climbing Roses

Climbing roses blooming

Climbing roses will sometimes take a couple of years to bloom because a lot of energy goes into growing the first year; especially those vigorous climbing varieties. Climbing roses can grow from three to eight feet in just the first year.

If blooming doesn't happen after a couple of years, then you're probably over fertilizing them, and need to cut back on that.

Either way, they are a great addition to any landscaping design, and along with the beautiful flowers, we have the bonus of that fantastic fragrance permeating our yard and home. That's what growing climbing roses is all about.


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