General gardening topics

How to train a climbing rose on wires, fences, arches and pergolas

Last updated on March 1st, 2022

Our site is reader supported, this means we may earn a small commission from Amazon and other affiliates when you buy through links on our site.

Climbing roses are not self-clinging and because of this, they need support to climb, you can either fix horizontal wires 30cm apart or use a trellis. You need to have 2-4 strong stems that can be spread out evenly to fill the space and tie them into place on your support. Tie in further shoots as they grow and if you have trouble getting the branches to shoot, cut back the tips of the shoot to encourage new growth.

If you grow them up a pillar, arch or pergola, simply twist the stems around the upright support, keeping the turns as horizontal as possible.

If you grow them up a pillar, arches or pergolas, simply twist the stems around the upright keeping the turns as horizontal as possible.

Roses come in many shapes and sizes, heirloom varieties and hybrid varieties alike. Roses have stood the test of time and are truly some of the most joyous flowers for any home.

Roses are admired for their beautiful flowers and fragrance, which for centuries have been integrated into all manner of courtyards and gardens. In fact, many of the heirloom varieties that are cherished across the UK today have been around since 1867. Cross-pollination has produced plants with larger blooms that are significantly heavier than heirloom varieties and in fact, 80% of roses today are some form of cross-pollinated species. That being said, these cross-pollinated species are significantly stronger and some of them will climb naturally up structures if you allow them, however, they do need a little help to get them started.

When they do so you can enjoy a much richer blanket of flowers in all manner of shades including red, purple, pink, white and more.

When to Plant Climbing Roses

Climbing rose being planted ready for training

You can plant your climbing roses anytime between the beginning of spring and the beginning of autumn depending on your area. Roses require at least six weeks in the ground prior to the first frost taking place so it is essential you to know when your pending frost dates are. It is important that your roses are provided enough time to establish themselves before they go into dormancy because if your roses are not able to establish roots by the time the weather turns they will not be able to come back out of dormancy the following spring.

If you choose to wait until the ground has thawed come spring you will guarantee your roses have enough time to establish themselves and give you the beautiful flowers you desire. Bare root roses are usually available between November and March and can be planted anytime between these dates because they are already dormant but they won’t root and grow until spring.

The Best Climbing Roses

Zephirine Drouhin Climbing Rose

There are many climbing roses out there, one of which is called ‘Eden’, and it is a pink climber that is vigorous with a delightful fragrance. The classic climbing rose that will grow prolifically if allowed is called ‘New Dawn’. ‘Renae’ roses are similar to the first two, however, they don’t have thorns, which for many, might be the deciding factor.

If you don’t want pink flowers there are plenty of other variations out there, such as the ‘Madame Alfred Carriere’ which is a tough climbing rose that can survive extreme climates and produces white blooms and a heavy scent. For a thornless option, consider the ‘Zephirine Drouhin’, which brings with it bright pink shades (as pictured above) and there is also another thornless variety called ‘Golden Showers’.

How To Train a Climbing Rose

Once you have selected the perfect rose for you, and you have chosen the correct time to plant it, it is vital that you keep an eye out on how well it is growing and to provide it with something to climb up. Most people choose to give their climbing roses a physical structure up which to climb and this can be something like a fence or a wall around the perimeter of your existing garden, the side of an outdoor shed, a pergola or arbor, and even a trellis that stands alone.

This, of course, is contingent upon the purpose of your climbing rose. If you prefer growing the climbing rose in an effort to cover up an unsightly structure then placing it in the ground or in a pot against that structure is the best solution. On the other hand, if you have an outdoor porch and you want to create a fragrant half-wall for privacy, growing them along the perimeter of the porch either in the ground or in pots and up a trellis will give you that ability.

Climbing roses are not self clinging so need a support to climb, you can either fix horizontal wires 30cm apart or use trellis. You should have 2-4 strong stems which can be spread out evenly to fill the space and tied into place onto either the horizontal wires or trellis. Tire in further shoots as they grow. If you have trouble getting the branches to shoot, cut back the tips of the shoot to encourage new growth.

As the roses begin to establish themselves they will start to climb naturally up the structure you have selected. During the first few years, it is up to you to help train the climbing roses in the direction that you prefer. Again, this is really contingent upon your needs. If you are planting your climbing roses in the ground along the perimeter of your porch to create a half-wall of privacy, then you will want to make sure each of the vines naturally spreads out across the trellis you have used, more or less in an equal fashion. This will allow equal coverage and a blanket of flowers come spring and summer.

It is best to use soft twine to fix the vines and stems to be the structure you have used as it is growing. Once the roses have established themselves and are clinging successfully to the structures in question by twining around them, you can remove the support you used to hold them in place and they will continue climbing on their own.

As for pruning, simply cut back any flowering side shoots by about two thirds and tie in new shoots to fill available space. Finally, if you have an overgrown rose, cut back any old stems back to the base and tie in new shoots to replace them.

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at

Write A Comment