Pruning Climbing Roses: Best Time to Do It and How to Do It

Image source: Pinterest

Climbing rose flowers are perfect additions to any home garden. However, proper pruning is crucial to keep these flowering vines vibrant and healthy. If climbing roses are not pruned, they can become a mix-up of branches with few flowers to show. Therefore, pruning climbing roses is inevitable for every gardener interested in their romantic and appealing nature. So, how do you prune climbing roses? Read on.

Best Time to Do It

According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), the perfect time to prune climbing roses is winter, particularly between December and February. The pruning should be after the flowers have faded and just before the ending of the dormant season.

How to Prune Climbing Roses

There are different objectives for pruning young and old climbing roses. Therefore, you will have different strategies for pruning young and mature climbing roses.

Pruning Young Climbing Roses

Any climbing vines require supporters of trellis, fences, or horizontal wires where you can tie their shoots. Climbing roses are not different; they need support to grow widely and spread their flowers. You can coach and prune your young climbing roses by;

  • Positioning the lowest wire at the height of 45cm from the ground allowing a space of 30cm from subsequent wires. The young shoots will rely on this support to spread.
  • Curling the shoots around the support you have installed and ensure they are horizontal so as to stimulate the blooming shoots to form low down. This approach is the best for training your vines to go up the supporters.
  • To encourage strong side shoots, prune back the slow-growing branches from the tip.
  • Do away with the damaged, dead, diseased, or spindly growth. This is done to prevent the disease from spreading, increase air circulation, and discourage pests from taking up residence. Deadheading is also essential at this stage if there are any damaged or fading flowers.

The above type of pruning is light pruning.

Pruning Established Climbers

Deadheading climbing rose flower (Image source: Pinterest)

You will need sharp secateurs for pruning dying branches as you work on established climbing roses. Here is what you should do;

  • Identify dying and diseased growth and do away with them. Wash or disinfect your pruning tools before proceeding to other vines to avoid spreading the disease.
  • If there are any new shoots, tie them to the support.
  • If there is any flowered side on any vines, prune them back by about two-thirds of their length.
  • For overcrowded vines, remove old branches from the bottom of the vines to encourage new growth.

Pruning Overgrown Climbing Roses

Climbing roses can quickly overgrow if left unattended. You can renovate overgrown climbing roses by;

  • Start by getting rid of weak, dying, dead or diseased growth. 
  • If there are old woody branches, cut them back to the ground and maintain six tender and vigorous stems that can tie to the supporters.
  • Use a saw to get rid of dead stumps at the bottom of the vines where rainwater can collect and lead to rotting.
  • Prune the side shoots and tips back by about a third to encourage new growth on the remaining branches.

You can apply granular rose fertilizer on the soil after pruning to encourage growth in the following spring.


Climbing roses can add texture and beauty to your outdoor garden, trellis, or fences. However, pruning is essential if you want them to have prolific bloom and long life. Follow the tips above to prune your climbing roses. Subscribe to our today for more gardening tips! 

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