Pruning Climbing Roses

How and When to Prune Climbers and Ramblers

pruning climbing roses

Need advice on Pruning Climbing Roses? To get the most flowers from your  rose bush,follow these tips on pruning rose bushes. Learn things like;  how to prune a rose bush, and when to prune.

If you prune these roses at the wrong time, you won't get any blooms that year

Pruning Rambler Roses
and Once-Blooming Roses

Ramblers will become a tangled mat if left without any pruning. They are wild looking climbers that will spread in every direction on the ground, or grow tall enough to cover a cottage if trained to grow upward.

They are once bloomers. Blooming in midsummer on wood that grew last year. The especially thorny branches are very flexible, making them easy to train. They will happily grow on fences, up buildings, and into trees. They produce small flowers that form clusters.

When pruning climbing roses that are Ramblers, or once-blooming roses, prune out any dead canes, any the rub together,and prune to achieve the height or shape of the bush, but remember, the flowers you get this year will come from Last years canes, so don't prune them all off! The easiest way to prune these is to cut them back to about a foot tall after they finish flowering. Or you could cut back the main canes, tie them to a support, and then trim their side shoots (or laterals) to about 6 inches long.

The best known of the Ramblers is Dorothy Perkins.(pictured)

How to Prune
 ~ Large-Flowered Repeat Climbers ~

These climbers have large flowers, born either single, or in clusters. This type will bloom in the Spring, and again later. The canes are not as flexible as that of the Ramblers, but still pliable enough that you can train them to the structure you want. Most in this variety will grow to about 10 feet.

 ~ When the canes reach their full height, you should bend them down sideways (as much as possible) you don't want to break them off, and tie them to their support.

Doing this forces the canes to produce lateral branches, or side shoots (the plant tries to grow upward)

 ~ To prune these large flowered rose canes, wait until late winter or early spring, while the rose is still dormant, and cut the lateral shoots to about 6 inches.

How and When to Prune Roses
 ~Hybrid Tea Climbers ~

Hybrid Tea Climbers, are basically Hybrid Teas that grow tall. Canes can reach to about 8-10 feet. Flowers are born on the short lateral branches off the cane.

 ~These climbers seldom produce new canes from the base, so instead of cutting old canes at the ground as you would the large-flowered climber, cut them back to the lowest lateral branch.

 ~Remove any suckers.


To achieve the best results possible:

Pruning climbing rose bushes is part art, part science. It takes a bit to get the knack of it. Once you realize Why you are pruning rosebushes, and also how roses grow, you will see how you can guide that growth, and then will you have a better understanding about how to prune a rosebush.

  ~Be sure to sterilize your pruning shears between each bush to avoid spreading rose diseases. Dip them into a pail filled with water, and a splash of chlorine bleach.

You must realize that each plant is different. Not all rose bushes look as perfect as the ones in the garden books. Your rose plants will have twists, and quirks and oddities, that you will have to work with the best you can when pruning climbing roses.

  ~ Remove all cut canes, and dispose of them. Do not put them into the compost : if they contain any diseases, you will spread the problem.

Why Do We Prune Rose Bushes?

how to prune large flowered climbing roses

* To remove any dead canes that do nothing but become a magnet for pests and disease. They are rather ugly, and distract from the overall look of the bush.

* To remove any damaged or diseased canes, and any that grow from below the bud union of a grafted rose (called suckers), Remove any very thin canes that cannot bear flowers.

* To remove a cane that rubs against another one because they can create ideal entry points for pests and disease.

* To stimulate the bush into producing more side branches, which create more places for flowers to develop. * To encourage the stems to grow where we want them to (Outward). This opens up the center for more sunlight and air.

* (lastly) To keep the plant to the size we want it to be!

Know When To Prune
 ~Cutting Rose Bushes ~

Most roses bloom on new wood (new canes that grow this year)Your major pruning should be done in early spring when the buds are just beginning to swell and turn pink.

If you live in a frost free climate, where your roses do not go dormant you will prune in late fall or early winter.

More About Pruning Climbing Roses

When you live in a cold region (as I do) you should know that after winter, depending on the variety, much of the rose bush could be winter-killed,so pruning climbing roses involves cutting out any dead canes, and cutting off all the dead wood back to a live bud. For the rest of you LUCKY gardeners:

* Remove any dead/damaged canes

* Cut off any suckers that grow up from the roots

* Remove spindly or old growth

* Cut out canes that are rubbing together

* Trim the remaining canes making a 45degree cut above an outward facing bud.The purpose for this is to direct the growth up and out, to open up the bush


Year One:

Immediately after planting, prune only the dead or diseased branches.

Year Two:

Before spring growth starts, choose three to five of the strongest canes, and cut out all the rest. Cut the remaining ones to around 3 feet tall. This will encourage side shoots (or) lateral branches. These branches should be several feet long by the seasons end.

Year Three:

Before spring growth, cut back the main canes and lateral branches. How much you cut, depends on the size you want the bush to be. You could cut back to 3-4 feet, keeping the bush small, or you could simply cut off 6-12 inches, allowing the bush to grow taller.

Also cut off any branches that cross or rub together, any that are dead or diseased, or any that seem weak or spindly.

An Unidentified Bush If you move to a new house that comes with a neglected climbing rose, try to find out the variety from the previous homeowner. If that isn't possible, you could prune it right away if you are willing to sacrifice some bloom for that season, or you could waite, let it flower, and try to identify it. Follow the advice above for pruning climbing roses.

Tips for Pruning that will create a "Cascade" of blooms from top to bottom;

Do you want flowers all the way to the ground, or bare canes with flowers on top?

To encourage the bush to produce blooms for bottom to top...

  • Prune the canes at different heights. Train the mature canes to climb to the top of it's destination.
  • Cut back a few of the younger canes to about the halfway point
  • Cut the youngest canes a few feet from the ground

Pruning climbing roses like this should give you a cascade of flowers all the way to the ground!

Looking for Climber Rose Bushes to Buy on Line?

You'll find them Here at DirectGardening.com for a Great price! - Offers quality plants at great prices, come see what we mean!

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