Rose Care

Basic Pruning of Climbers

Pruning climbers isn’t that scary

Most of the same procedures apply to climbing roses as shrubs or floribundas, but there are a few differences, due to the way that climbers grow.

Climbing roses have 2 types of canes, main and lateral.

  1. The main canes come directly from the base and should never be pruned. If energy is spent on regrowth of the main canes, it will not flower. Climbers put their energy into growing first and flowering second.

2. The lateral canes are the ones that produce the flowers and pruning them will encourage blooming.

3.There’s no need to fuss about pruning stems toward the outward-facing buds, as shaping a climbing rose this way is unnecessary.

And you can make a trellis out of a lot of scrap materials, like the one below made by a clever blogger out of pallets painted to integrate with the gate.

Here’s the old school chart showing ‘the after cutting’ a climber.

Lateral or horizontal canes are attached loosely to the structure, while vertical canes growing from them grow and bloom vigorously as they reach for sunlight. That’s heliotropism at work.

If you can train the largest of the new canes to stay horizontal at the end of the season, then they’ll generate next year’s crop of vertical blooming shoots. And this is not to say the laterals won’t bloom either, but not as much compared to the new vertical shoots.

Check out the apple tree that’s been trained into an espalier like a climbing rose on a wall. In that picture, you can more easily see the vertical flowering shoot. The other image is of a diamond patterned espalier. Very formal, and very man-made intensive.


Sources: Wikipedia, Reluctant Entertainer,


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