10 Best Climbing Roses

Iceberg climbing roses
T.Kiya/Getty Images

Roses are grown every which way. They can be pruned into shrubs and trees, grown in containers, or they can be allowed to run wild—any way you like to help you savor their beauty and heavenly scent. And while some enthusiasts love a manicured rose garden, others favor the freedom and vigorous growth habit and appearance of climbing roses.

Climbers can be trained to scale up and over gazebostrellises, arbors, fences, and walls, softening the appearance of otherwise plain wood, metal, or stone structure. A vining or climbing rose also serves as a focal point wherever you plant it, providing eye-catching flower color and sense-tingling fragrance. Here are 10 climbing roses that promise both stunning looks and an unmistakably rosy perfume.

  • 01 of 10

    Altissimo (Rosa 'Altissimo')

    red altissimo rose

    F.D. Richards / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    'Altissimo' is a floribunda rose with clusters of small buds that open into stunning single flowers with velvety, bright red petals and central clusters of showy yellow stamens. Its leaves are glossy and contribute to the rose's brilliance. You can train Altissimo as a small climbing rose or a pillar climber. It can also be shaped into a tall shrub. Its mature size is 7 to 20 feet tall and 5 to 8 feet wide.

    For the best blooms, feed this rose twice year, once in spring and once in summer. Prune it just once, in winter.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 10
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained; type is not important
  • 02 of 10

    American Beauty (Rosa 'American Beauty')

    American beauty rose
    Bush Pasture Park Rose Garden, Salem, Oregon

    'American Beauty' is a deep, cupped dark pink rose that is hardy and tolerates shade. It has long canes that are ideal for training up walls or trellises. A hybrid tea rose, it grows 12 to 15 feet tall.

    Prune 'American Beauty' in the spring to remove dead wood from the canes (also trim to prevent crossing canes). Shorten healthy canes by one-third their overall length; shorten them a bit more if you live in a cold climate.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5b to 9b
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun; tolerates some shade
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, moderately moist, sandy to loamy
  • 03 of 10

    Cécile Brunner (Rosa 'Cécile Brunner')

    Cécile Brunner rose

    T. Kiya / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    'Cécile Brunner,' a hybrid tea, is a rampant climbing rose that can reach 20 feet in height and 6 feet in width. From its beautifully shaped buds come petite clusters of blush-pink flowers with a sweet, spicy, tea-like scent.

    This romantic rose plant blooms only once, in late spring or early summer, and needs just a single feeding in spring. It tolerates some shade and can grow in north-facing sites.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 6 to 10
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Rich, well-drained, evenly moist
  • 04 of 10

    Dublin Bay (Rosa 'Dublin Bay')

    Dublin Bay rose

     

    Joshua McCullough / Getty Images 

    'Dublin Bay' is a sun lover that produces medium to large-sized rich, velvety red flowers that are fully double and have dark, glossy green leaves. Its flowers have a mild, fruity perfume, and it grows 8 to 12 feet tall and up to 5 feet wide. This is a floribunda type of rose.

    This climbing rose can bloom for a very long time, often throughout the growing season. Keep it blooming brightly by planting it where it gets 6 hours of sun each day.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 6b to 9b
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained, sandy to clay
    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Fourth of July (Rosa 'Fourth of July')

    Fourth of July Climbing Rose

     

    Radius Images / Getty Images

    'Fourth of July' is a large-flowered climber that produces profuse clusters of large, semi-double blooms that are red-and-white-striped. It has a sweet rose scent reminiscent of freshly cut apple and is a repeat bloomer. It grows 12 to 14 feet tall and 3 to 6 feet wide.

    This woody vine is not bothered by polluted urban air and can live for decades with the right care. As with most roses, it blooms best and is most resistant to disease when grown in full sun.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 6a to 9b
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, loamy, slightly acid
  • 06 of 10

    Iceberg (Rosa 'Iceberg')

    Iceberg climbing roses
    T.Kiya/Getty Images

    Many groups and rosarians hail 'Iceberg' as the finest climbing rose, without question. Iceberg grows vigorously up to about 15 feet and boasts profuse flowering and repeat extra-large blooms. It offers full, ruffled blossoms and is a rampant, far-reaching floribunda climber. The only notable downside to this popular rose it that its flowers have little to no scent.

    'Iceberg' is known to be somewhat prone to black spot, which results from high humidity and poor air circulation. Ensuring good airflow through the plant is the best defense.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4b to 9b
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained
  • 07 of 10

    Peace (Rosa 'Peace')

    Rosa 'Peace'

     

    Maria Mosolova / Getty Images

    Believed to be the most widely grown rose in the world, 'Peace' roses have canes that can reach 20 feet or more, making it a rampant, far-reaching climber. It works really well on a fence or large wall and has full, ruffled, yellow-and-pink, extra-large flowers that can be 6 inches across. This is a hybrid tea rose with a fruity scent.

    Part of what make the 'Peace' rose so popular is its versatility. It works well in containers, hedges, borders, beds, and mass plantings.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 6b to 9b
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained, slightly acid
  • 08 of 10

    Royal Sunset (Rosa 'Royal Sunset')

    royal sunset rose

    Ryan Somma / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    'Royal Sunset' features dark, bronzy-green, glossy leaves on a stiff cane that climbs and spreads to 10 feet. It is a repeat bloomer and makes gorgeous bouquets with shapely, large, apricot-colored blooms. A hybrid tea rose, it is also known for its strong fruity fragrance.

    To make the most of this rose's repeat blooms, wait until the plant is at least two years old, and begin pruning in late winter, while it is still dormant. Deadhead throughout the growing season, but stop in late summer, so as not to encourage new growth that can be damaged by frost.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 6 to 10
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Loamy, well-drained
    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Souvenir de la Malmaison (Rosa 'Souvenir de la Malmaison')

    Souvenir de la Malmaison

     

    akimari / Getty Images 

    'Souvenir de la Malmaison' is a climbing version of an old bourbon rose. It is extremely vigorous and can have canes that extend to 20 feet in height and 8 feet in width. The strong-scented flowers are a very pale pink, full-petaled, and quartered.

    It's best to enjoy this rose's flowers "on the vine;" the blooms aren't the best as cut flowers.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5b to 10b
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Moist, fertile, well-drained
  • 10 of 10

    Westerland (Rosa 'Westerland')

    Westerland rose

     

    Marina Denisenko / Getty Images

    'Westerland' is an extremely fragrant, winter-hardy rose that makes an excellent shrub as well as a climber. Its blossoms are large, semi-double to double bloom in size, copper-orange to apricot in color, and strongly (spicy) scented. It reaches 5 to 12 feet tall and 4 feet wide.

    You can prune this climber lightly in late fall or early winter (depending on the climate) to help protect it from wind, but save any significant pruning (removing crossed canes, shaping, etc.) for spring.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5b to 9b
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Moderately fertile, well-drained, moist

Angle Your Canes for the Most Flowers

When training the main canes of your climbing rose up a trellis, fence, or other structure, tie the canes in place at a low angle, between horizontal and 45 degrees. This encourages the flowering leaders (smaller branches) to grow along the entire length of the canes. If you let the canes grow straight up, they will flower only at their ends.