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Roses are in full bloom in late spring and while bush (also called shrub) roses are the most popular, climbing roses are ideal for growing against fences and over archways and pergolas. Most climbing roses have long, arching canes that reach up to the sky. They have large flowers that produce a massed show in spring and continue to bloom throughout the warmer months.

Favourite climbing roses:

  • Pierre de Ronsard starts with creamy white, cabbage-like flowers that become pinker as they mature. It has won international popularity awards.
  • Gold Bunny has masses of golden yellow flowers over a long period.
  • Golden Showers has ruffled petals that start off a rich yellow and fade to a soft buttery lemon.
  • Climbing Iceberg is as free flowering as the shrub Iceberg. Iceberg is often listed as the world’s favourite rose.
  • Constance Spry was the first rose bred by David Austin, the renowned English rose breeder.
  • Dainty Bess has single flowers in a soft rose pink with central, eyelash-like stamens.

Another group of climbing roses are called ramblers. These have pliable stems and smaller blooms. Most rambling roses flower just once a year, but what a glorious flowering it is. The stems and leaves become almost invisible beneath the froth of blossom. One of the best known ramblers is Dorothy Perkins, which is so vigorous it makes a smothering ground cover. Stems take root where they touch the ground and long shoots scramble over trees and garden beds.

And then there are the heritage and wild climbing roses such as creamy-white Lamarque, yellow banksia (Rosa banksiae lutea) and white Rosa laevigata which is also known as the Cherokee Rose.

Caring for climbing roses

Feed climbing roses regularly throughout the growing season with Yates Thrive Roses & Flowers Liquid Plant Food or Yates Thrive Natural Roses & Flowers Organic Based Pelletised Plant Food  Use Yates Rose Shield to protect from pests and diseases. Water in the morning so the leaves can dry before nightfall.

Pruning climbing roses can be challenging. One major factor is whether the rose repeat flowers through the warmer weather or only bloom in spring. Spring-only bloomers, like banksias and Dorothy Perkins, should be cut back hard after flowering. Long-flowering climbers should be cut lightly for the first couple of years. Give the plant time to establish and don’t be too impatient for flowers. It’s not uncommon for a new rose to spend the first couple of years growing and establishing its framework before it settles down to reliable blooming. Once a rose is established, long shoots can be shortened in winter and old unproductive canes removed completely at the base.


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