Pruning Climbing Roses

Knowing the types of climbers is essential for pruning climbing roses.


Most climbing roses need little or no pruning during the first two or three years of growing. During that time, they will develop several long main canes.

When it comes to pruning climbing roses we have to be aware about the different types of climbers. 

  1.  Once-flowering climbers
  2. Repeat-flowering climbers

Once-Flowering Or Repeat-Flowering?

I have pointed out the difference in pruning between once-flowering and repeat-flowering climbers and shrub roses for several times.

When buying roses it is necessary to keep in mind to which group of roses your purchase belong to.

In the garden we always should know what type of bloomer we are dealing with. Draw a sketch or put a tag on the roses, that you can well-define the type. Even experts sometimes struggle to distinguish among so many sorts of roses.

Pruning Once-Flowering Climbing Roses

The pruning of once-blooming climbing roses should happen right after the flowering has finished.

If the plant produced enough 1-year old canes:

  • Remove all shoots that produced blooms at their base right at the bud union or the main cane.
  • Cut all weak and insufficient developed shoots
  • If there are laterals on the 1-year old canes, cut them at the base. At these areas blossoms will form in the upcoming year.

If the plant produced to less 1-year old canes:

  • Leave 1-2 year old canes
  • Cut the laterals on these canes to 2-3 bud eyes
  • Remove weak canes 1/6 inch above their base
  • Do not leave any stubs and do not cut shoot-ends.
  • Remove these than 3-years old canes after the flowering flush of the upcoming year

Pruning Repeat-Flowering Climbing Roses

Repeat-blooming climbers are pruned in spring. To ensure an annually repeating floweriness we try to keep canes of all ages.

To achieve a vigorous blooming we have to do the following work:

  • Try to keep canes of different ages: When pruning, remove one or two of the old canes, perhaps at the base. That will make it possible for young shoots to grow from there. The plant will remain young and viable.
  • The young canes will not be pruned, only the laterals will be removed
  • Shoots ends must not be cut
  • At the main canes laterals are pruned up to 2-3 bud eyes
  • Remove weak canes 1/6 inch above their base

Weak shoots, less than a pencil in diameter, should always be removed during the growing season, to keep the plant strong and tidy.


› Pruning Climbing Roses
› Pruning Climbing Roses

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