Pruning rambling roses – how to prune in 5 easy steps

Last updated on February 22nd, 2022

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Rambling roses are a great variety if you want to quickly cover a fence, a garden structure or a wall. These roses produce shoots that are covered in green leaves and a collection of beautiful flowers. Thankfully, these particular plants do not require a great deal of pruning in order to stay in good shape. In fact, you only need to trim them about once a year in order to achieve a beautiful floral display.

If you have a climbing rose you can see our guide on correct pruning here

If you have hybrid tea, floribunda, patio or shrub roses you can learn about how to prune them here

When to prune your rambling roses

The speed with which your roses grow will directly result in a collection of tangled stems and poor flowering, an environment conducive to a lack of airflow and subsequent diseases. To that end, proper pruning can help to circumvent all of these issues but it should be done at the end of summer or the beginning of autumn in order to boost the potential development for the following year and improve circulation of air and produce a better display of flowers.

Albertine Rambling Rose

How to prune a rambling rose

When you are ready to start pruning follow these steps:

  1. Using very sharp gardening shears, remove any thin, diseased or dead stems. If the stems are too thick you can always cut them off with loppers.
  2. Take out any branches that are outgrowing the space you have allotted or branches that are currently ruining the general shape of your plant.
  3. You can always prune the plant in order to improve its overall shape by removing approximately one-third of the older stems and if you do this make sure that you remove them flush with the ground at the base.
  4. Any new shoots should be tied with garden twine so that they can flower next season and any sappy growth should be pruned back in order to encourage a good display of flowers the following season.
  5. You can also cut back any side shoots by about a third after flowering.

Rejuvenating an overgrown rambling rose

If you have a rambling rose that is overgrown you can prune it back into submission.

  1. Start by removing any dead, weak or diseased shoots.
  2. Cut away older woody branches all the way to the ground but make sure you still have 4 or 5 vigorous, young stems left. Secure those remaining stems to your support structure.
  3. Saw off any dead stumps all the way to the base so that they are not in the way, with thick branches we recommend using a pruning saw such as one of the ones we recently reviewed.
  4. Shorten any side shoots on the branches you have left and prune back the tips to approximately one half of its size in order to encourage more branching, but no more than half.
  5. Spread some mulch and fertiliser to help give your pruned plant of boost ready for spring.

If you are looking for different rambling rose varieties to try, consider these:

American Pillar Rambling Rose
  • Albertine, which produces coppery-pink flowers and offers a very sweet perfume.
  • Felicite et Perpetue, which produces clusters of white flowers all along the stems.
  • Rambling rector, which offers semi-double flowers that are creamy in colour.
  • American pillar, which produces red flowers that have a white centre.

Whichever of the varieties you choose, remember that pruning every year needs to be done at the correct time of year, which for the rambling variety needs to be at the end of summer or late autumn. Sometimes rambling varieties are confused with climbing roses and the best way to differentiate is to take notice of when your plant produces flowers. Climbing roses flower repeatedly throughout the summer but rambling varieties will only produce flowers once, typically in the month of June so if you only get flowers in June, you can use these pruning methods.

If you are rejuvenating your plant it is always best to do it during the correct time of year so that you can encourage vigorous growth the following spring. You will know if you pruned at an inappropriate time of year because it will typically result in what is called rose blindness. That is when your rose fails to produce any flowers.

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

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