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Climbing Roses

Growing Zones
David Austin Cecile Brunner
Climbing Roses

Just imagine. An arbor full of the most beautiful heavenly-smelling roses, with the intoxicating scent of damask fragrance drifting through your house. That's a picture worth cultivating with a Climbing or Rambling rose. Climbing roses are some of the most beautiful roses there are. They can climb up a pillar, they can climb over a pergola, or they can rambler up the side of a house up over a roof or they can ramble over a fence. Climbing roses are versatile and beautiful; many have wonderful fragrances and others are very hardy. Know the zone you garden in so you can choose the perfect climbing or rambling rose bush for your area.

Here are 2-types of climbing roses; CL (large flowered climbers) or Ramblers (rambling). Climbing Roses that start with Cl are a "sport" or a mutation of the parent rose bush. They usually have a heavy spring flush of bloom through June, then repeat through summer and fall. Large Flowered Climbers have fewer blooms than ramblers, but the blooms are larger and they repeat. The one drawback is most are not as vigorous as ramblers. Here are some climbing roses that you might consider in your garden:

  • New Dawn: Hybrid Wichurana-Large Flowered Climber. Light pink -a nice moderate fragrance- double cupped bloom form, some repeat. A very pretty climber that grows 10-20' x up to 8' wide. This rose can tolerate some shade. It's rated zone 5b-9b

  • Zephirne Drouhin: Bourbon Cl, medium pink, with a strong fragrance with large double bloom form that blooms in flushes through out spring-summer and into fall. This rose is nearly thornless which has great appeal for a climbing rose. It grows 10-15' tall x 6-8' wide, this rose can tolerate some shade. It's rated zone 5b-10a.

  • Lavender Lassie: Hybrid Musk Cl a blend of mauve or purple, strong fragrance - nice double bloom in flushes throughout summer - fall. This rose can do well in a partially shaded location. It's grows 5-12' tall x 4' wide. It's rated zone 6a-10b

  • Sombreuil: Large Flowered Climber, White with a moderate fragrance - flat rosette bloom form that blooms in flushes throughout summer-fall. It climbs to 8-13' tall x up to 5' wide. This rose can tolerate some shade. It's rated zone 6b-9b.

  • Old Blush: Antique Rose; Medium pink - moderate fragrance - semi-double cupped to flat blooms in small clusters. Blooms in flushes throughout the growing season. It reaches 3-10' tall x 3-6.5' wide. This is a very old fashion antique rose that blooms throughout the west and south along many fence lines. This rose can tolerate some shade. It's rated zone 7b-10b

  • Don Juan: Large Flowered Hybrid Tea Climber, Deep red with a strong fragrance- double bloom, it blooms in flushes throughout the season. It reaches 8-12' tall x 4'wide. It's rated zone 6b-9b.

  • Eden: Large Flowered Climber-Renaissance Romantica- a beautiful cream to light pink large very double globe bloom form with a moderate fragrance. Eden blooms in flushes throughout summer- fall. It reaches 40"-12' tall x up to 4'. It's rated zone 5b-9b.

  • Cecile Brunner: Polyantha Cl - light pink with a light tea fragrance-small 1.5" blooms. Some repeat throughout the growing season. It reaches 20-30' tall x 10-20' wide, this is a great climbing rose when you want to cover the side of a building or over a roof. It's rated for zone 5b-9b.

  • John Davis: Hybrid Kordesii Cl - a Canadian rose - pink with a spicy fragrance. Semi-double bloom form. It reaches 7-8'-tall x 4-5' wide, some repeat through summer a very hardy & disease resistant rose. Its rated zone 2b and warmer.

  • Rambling Roses are also a wonderful way to add spectacular flowers to your garden. They are vigorous, once blooming, (one long summer bloom usually) with hundreds of flowers. They are the perfect rose to plant by a doorway over a trellis or up the side of a house and over. There canes are usually flexible so they can sprawl beautifully and can cover-up outside architectural imperfections. They are wonderful on a fence or large outside structure such as a gazebo! Most Ramblers are older roses and Antique roses, here are some Rambling rose suggestions for your garden.

  • Paul's Himalayan Musk: Musk Rambler- Light pink with a strong fragrance with a double bloom form. Once blooming in spring or summer depending on your garden zone. It reaches 20-30" tall x 12-30' wide-It's rated zone 4b-9b.

  • Seven Sisters: Hybrid Multiflora Rambler-a pretty pink blend with a strong fragrance and double bloom form. Once blooming in spring or summer depending on your garden zone. It reaches 8'-20' tall and can get up to 10' wide. Its rated zone 4b-9b, so it's hardy. (This rose grew in my mothers garden for years-it's a very nice rose)

  • Marie Luise Kreuter: Hybrid Mutiflora Rambler ( a found rose- a rose that cannot trace back to it's roots-usually found in some ones garden)- a beautiful pink blend, it has wild rose fragrance-with small double flowers in large clusters-this is a tall rose that arches, a perfect pillar rose. It's very hardy with some shade tolerance, once blooming in spring or summer depending on your garden zone. It reaches 10-16' tall x 10-16' wide. Pruning lightly this rose, blooms on old wood.

  • Dorothy Perkins: Hybrid Wichurana, Rambler - a nice salmon pink color with a mild fragrance. Flat bloom form in large clusters. A wonderful popular old rambler that our Grandma's loved to grow! One beautiful spring and summer bloom with a little repeat. It reaches 10-20' tall x up too 8' wide. It's vigorous and hardy to zone 4b-9b.

  • Growing Zones
    David Austin Sombreuil
    Climbing Roses

    There are many other climbing and rambling roses to choose from check out the Antique Rose Emporium, Heirloom Roses, and Jackson Perkins and other Rose Nurseries.

    Both ramblers and climbers bloom best when trained to grow laterally. You'll get more blooms this way when you train them up a trellis or over a fence it's perfect, or even up a pillar. The canes on climbers are not as pliable as ramblers, but they will grow laterally. Climbing and rambling roses need to be tied with wire or ties or something that will anchor them securely. Prune climbing roses that repeat bloom like other roses early in spring when roses just start to bud leaves, in the spring remove old or dead wood or anything that looks like it's crossing at the wrong angle. Prune them symmetrically to keep the climber well balanced. Remember climbers are showcase plants so you want them pretty. If the climber or rambler is once blooming, no repeat, prune spent blooms only after the 1st flush is over. This is important or you will not get flowers if you prune a once bloomer in the spring to harshly. Prune all spent blooms 1/4" above the 1st-5 leaflets on the stem of your climber. Make the cut facing outward so your bush grows outward for repeat bloomers this will encourage more blooms and growth and for once bloomers it will encourage new growth for next years flowers.

    Remember the most important requirements for roses are at least 6-hours or more of sunlight daily; a soil ph of 6-6.5- clay-sandy loam is a great soil for roses. You can get a soil test kit and see what soil improvements you need, organic improvements are best. Adequate water at least 1-2" per week and plant out of the wind plus a deep wide hole to plant. Climbing and Rambling Roses are heavy feeders because they are so large so keep that in mind when fertilizing.

    Once you plant a climbing or rambling rose, you be hooked forever on some of the most beautiful roses in the world!