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Climbing roses

Roses are ideal plants to embellish a facade! In addition to their beautiful dark green foliage they bring magnificent flowers and present no risk of structural damage. The selection is by no means limited to the so-called climbing roses. Why is that? The roses that are called "climbing roses" is an arbitrary assortment of rose cultivars with long shoots wich allow them to climb on pergolas and rose arches - this doesn't necessarily mean that they are a good choice for walls. Historical "climbing roses" are often susceptible to disease on walls, while modern shrub or ground cover roses may be fine. Roses with large stems can be planted as bushes without any wall trellis.

Climbing roses - latin: Rosa

Flowering climbing rose bush

Choosing a cultivar

Roses are fragile and often prone to disease. Many historical cultivars bred in the industrial age fail today because of the high quality of the air, because the sulfur dioxide (SO2) in the air is missing and there are no acid rains anymore. Environmental protection can also have disadvantages ! On hot facades this problem is intensified and sulfur may be sprayed. Select a robust cultivar if possible, for example among the ADR roses. There are hardly any new climbing rose cultivars, so it may be necessary to choose one of the more resistant small shrub roses or a ground-cover rose. Many wholesalers sell their products under fantasy names as a marketing practice, so it is recommended to shop directly from rose nurseries to guarantee the quality. The use of false picture labels is also not uncommon.

Requirements / Provenance

The roses should be planted in a sunny location but some varieties may suffer from hot south-facing walls. Partially shaded locations may also be considered. The soil should be sandy and loamy, deep, not too moist but not dry, with some humus but not too rich. Potassium or ash fertilisation until early in the summer. Roses can be found in many garden shops or online. Distance between two roses: 1,5 to 4 meters.

Characteristics and Pruning

Roses are ramblers: they snag onto branches or wires with their prickles to grow higher. Some cultivars tend to lose their leaves at the base of the plant. The height they is depending on the cultivar, between 2 and 15 meters in height. The leaves persist from May to October, some cultivars keep their leaves well into March. The flowers open at the extremities of green shoots and come in many colors from dark red to apricot or yellow or white. Some cultivars flower only once, some twice and some for several months.

The stem should be developed depending on the growing habit of the particular rose. Generally speaking, the horizontal shoots will produce more roses in the following years. Cutting the older flowers stimulates the development of new flowers and can extend the flowering period. On smaller trellises the rose can be cut down to the ground in winter. When cutting a shoot, always leave a small stub.

Growing support for a rose

Stakes, grids or wire rope trellises can be used for roses. The table at the bottom of the page lists suitable designs. Chose a wire rope trellis in the medium range, maybe even the simple or light ranges for some, but a heavy or massive trellis for the more fragile cultivars or for larger projects.

Suitable wire rope trellis

Click on the image to find a suitable facade trellis design.

Small climbing rose on a wall
Red climbing rose in fronst of an old cowshed
Greening up buildings with roses
Large climbing rose on a trellis

Roses as facade plants

This picture gallery shows how beautiful roses can be when grown on a facade or a wall. The flowering period can be more or less long depending on the cultivar.

Climbing roses can get really old. This one is around 70 years, probably "Paul Scarlet Climber", Grimma / Saxony
Same blooming year after year, same rose as on the previous pricture, but some years later (2005)
Climbing rose on a climbing trellis near a drainpipe
Rose tree on old wire rope system similar to 1020 / 1030, Babelsberg / Brandenburg
Yellow climbing roses on a facade
Blossoming trellis roses with wire cables
Several climbing roses on a small wooden trellis
Small rose espalier
Lush roses on wooden trellis
Not only flowers, but also leaves can beautify a wall!
Climbing rose - classic "New Dawn" on a FassadenGrün-wire rope system 4040, heavy construction style
Hildesheim / Lower saxony: This rose (Rosa canina) is more then 1000 years old!
Rose on a classicistic house in Putbus on the island of Rügen
High climbing rose on a wall
Fungus resistant "ADR"-Climbing rose of the variety "Rotfassade" with particularly long lasting foliage
Climbing rose on wire ropes at a franciscan monastery in Saalfeld / Thüringen
Small rose on a wooden espalier
Climbing rose on climbing cable wire
Old Rambler rose on a house
With several rose plants even full walls can be greened
Rose in white and violet (prob. "Veilchenblau")
Purple climbing rose, presumably "Veilchenblau"
Bushy rose without formation, Klosterbuch near Leisnig / Saxony
Trellis wall with roses
Old espalier rose on a lattice trellis system
Climbing rose in Wernigerode / Saxony-Anhalt
Lush rose trellis on a house in Halberstadt / Saxony-Anhalt
Green wall with well-maintained rose
Greenery with climbing rose on a baroque building
Even balconies can be greened with roses!

Roses and trellises

Roses climb by catching branches of other plants with their prickles, they won't grow very high without a trellis. The shoots should be bound horizontally, as represented on the picture above.

Small rose in a garden (Otto Niemeyer-Holstein, Lüttenort / Usedom)
Small rose on a simple wire rope system
With two parallel ropes, guiding a rose on walls is a lot easier
With several parallel support cables, greenings can be more extensive
Young rose on a FassadenGrün-wire rope system 2040
This rose grid appears to be a flower vase for the rose
Red climbing rose on simple horizontal wire ropes
Older branches alsways should be tied on the outside of the trellis system, younger shoots (flower shoots etc.) can be put between trellis and wall
Rose on a Wire rope system similar to FassadenGrün`s 2060 or 3060
Decorative climbing rose with winter-foliage in march, guided horitontally on wire ropes.


There are thousands of cultivars with a variety of characteristics - think about what is most important to you before buying a rose.

Wall greening with historic roses.
Wether roses are suitable for greening walls depends on the position of the flowers. If they are upright, this variety might not be very usefull
Many of the old, once-flowering species produce magnificent clusters of rosehips in autumn.
Different growth habits: left a species with thin, flexible stems (rambling type); right a stiff, vertical and very vigorous growth habit. Winter image.
Climbing rose in winter
Some varieties have very long lasting foliage until winter.
Many varieties are vulnerable to black spot, this disease can lead to almost no leaves on the plant in summer
Even powdery mildew can be seen, depending on variety and locationEven powdery mildew can be seen, depending on variety and location
Some varieties drop their withered blossoms, some dont
Roses can be combined with clematis, Rosarium Sangerhasen / Sachsen-Anhalt

Suitable wire rope trellis for climbing roses

Please click on the graphics to see a detailed view of each design!

 = suitable         = partly suitable       = not suitable