How to Prune a Climbing Rose

After looking into the world of pruning Shrub Roses last week now it’s time to have a look at how to prune a Climbing Rose. They are the perfect counterpart for growing up a sunny wall on a house and they also look beautiful growing up trellises or over pergolas, but knowing how to prune them properly will prevent them from getting long and leggy and also make them a lot more productive.

When you plant a climbing Rose you will find it has been well pruned and will have several strong shoots. Plant it out and let it grow for the first year. Then in the second year simply trim back any side shoots to 2 to 3 inches away from the main stem and also tie back all the new stems fanning them out, pulling side ones out horizontally makes them flower on shorter stems, rather than leaving all the shoots in the vertical position. 

Then with an established climbing Rose it’s at this time of year again you look to prune all the side shoots back towards the main stems, again leaving 2 to 3 inches sticking out. The best way to approach this is also to start at one side and work your way across rather than top down, Also remove any weak thin growth which won’t be able to support the flowers and also any shoots bearing foliage at this time of year as they won’t hold blooms this summer. Look out for any dead sections of the Rose which will be a brown colour and take them back down to good wood.

After your pruning, tie back any main stems and space them out to fill your trellis or wall, wrap it round the stem fully once and then tie back so as not to rub the stem on the support.

If you find that your climber only has 1 or 2 main stems and is long and leggy then the best thing to do is to give it a good hard prune down to 1 foot now and let it then reshoot and begin training it next year, you can’t kill a Rose from pruning and you always have the option to reset them. Again give them a good feed annually with Rose food or Vitax Q4

Roses love to be in a position where they get lots of sun, a south or west facing wall is ideal, climbing Roses also like to get their roots down to support their large amount of top growth, don’t be tempted to grow them in pots as you’ll struggle to keep them happy during the Summer when they really need a big strong root system to help support themselves and all their flowers. 

Anyway happy pruning and next week we’re looking at how to create your very own Alpine Rockery.



Here you can send in and find out the answers to those gardening problems


Can I transplant a Rose?

It’s easier to do when they are young and also very successful before they get their tap root down and now is a good time, if they’ve been in a long time it’s worth a go and give it a good hard prune at the same time, but you will find as Roses get older they lose their Juvenile vigour so may not grow back as strongly, yet it’s worth a go if its a case of do that or lose it, just make sure to give it a good feed to give it lots of energy.


What should I use to tie my Rose back?

You can use string but tie it loosely so to allow the stems space to grow, but the best thing to use is hollow ties, it’s like a plastic tubular string but it has the ability to stretch, so you can tie the stems tightly so they don’t slide around away from where you want them but it also stretches as the stems grow.


How tall do Climbing Roses grow?

They can vary from short ones which sit at 6ft (1.8m) tall up to larger ones which are towards 20ft (6m). As you can imagine it’s more of a major job to trim a large one and Roses can be left unpruned but they will move away from the wall in time coming forwards so it’s always worth the effort, plus you will get a lot more flowers






Plant of The Week

Rosa ‘Madame Alfred Carrière’

A beautiful pure white climbing variety and very profuse in its flowers, a well known variety which has been around since 1879 bearing perfect form and habit. Perfect for up the front of a house as a statement plant growing 15-20ft tall.