Climbing Roses are generally mutations or sports of normal bush roses (Hybrid Tea and Floribunda Types) though are sometimes specifically bred.
Climbing roses are better for growing against a wall than Ramblers. They are less likely to suffer from mildew because of the poor air circulation. Climbers can also be grown against a fence or through a trellis.
If grown against a wall, then train along galvanised fence wire strung between vine eye nail driven into the wall. The aim will be to get as many horizontal rose shoots as possible.
Climbers are often allowed to grow vertically - as is their normal habit. However, if grown in this way, then there are fewer shoots, resulting in fewer flowers.It is far better to train the main stems of the climber in a horizontal manner along a fence or trellis. This will then result in many more shoots - growing horizontally - with resulting larger numbers of blooms.
Climbing Roses that are from Hybrid Tea or Floribunda parentage, rarely have the profuse flowering of their bush counterparts.
Climbing Roses differ from Ramblers in a few respects. A climbing rose will have five leaflets that make up the leaf, whereas a rambler normally has seven leaflets per leaf. Together with this, Climbing Roses generally have stems that are more rigid than rambling roses.
Climbing Roses are split into two basic groups, being 'once flowering' and 'repeat flowering'.
The Hybrid Tea types have larger typical classical rose type flowers, whilst the Floribundas have clusters of smaller flowers. Both type of Climbers have their merits. In many instances, the blooms of the HT types are much larger than their 'bush' counterparts. However, there is not often the repeat flowering characteristics of the parents in either of the Climbing forms.Climbing Roses should not be pruned in the first two or three years, but instead trained to form horizontal laterals where this is possible - for the reasons outlined above.
Thereafter, with the 'once a year' flowering types, prune back right after flowering, for they normally flower on growths that were made the previous year. If you prune this type in the winter, you will probably be cutting off the next year's flowering growths!
The Perpetual flowering types can be pruned - if necessary - in the winter months. However, this type will flower for many years from laterals from the same mature canes. each winter, cut back the laterals to within 2 or three buds of the horizontal cane structure. If the flowering becomes weak, then winter pruning a few of the weaker canes out will allow for more vigorous growth.
Every rose grower or rose fanatic will have their own favourites. For our best ten climbing roses, we list mainly older varieties that have stood the test of time.
|Altissimo||Cluster||Red - long flowering||Scented|
|Bantry Bay||Cluster||Pink semi-double.||Scented|
|Danse de Feu||Perpetual Fl.||Scarlet||Slight Scent|
|Ena Harkness *||Hybrid Tea||Deep Red||Deep Scent|
|Golden Showers||Perpetual Fl.||Deep golden yellow||Slight Scent|
|Handel||Florib.||Cream with carmine edges||Scented|
|New Dawn||Perpetual Fl.||Pink||Scented|
|School Girl||Hybrid Tea||Carmine and Silver||Deep Scent|
* Climbing Rose Ena Harkness. The shrub version of this would not get a mention because of its drooping blooms habit. As a climber, this is an attractive feature.
By David Hughes