How to: climbing roses on fences

Written by cricket webber
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How to: climbing roses on fences
Climbing roses can add mystery to your garden or they can grow thick enough to simulate a privacy hedge. (roses image by Clinton from

Roses add sophistication to any garden, but they can be particularly lovely against a fence. You can train climbing rose varieties to grow against any sort of fence, but be patient and work with the plant. Before you begin digging, consider using pen and paper to map out the measurements of your fence and determine how many rosebushes you will need. Your neighbourhood garden centre can recommend varieties of climbing rose which grow best in your specific location.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Strips of cloth or twine
  • Pruning shears

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  1. 1

    Plant a rose variety which naturally climbs walls and fences. Roses cannot be considered literally to be climbers such as plants like ivy, but some varieties send out longer shoots that can be trained to grow up a fence. Some varieties to try are the Knock Out roses, Betty Boop or Queen of Sweden.

  2. 2

    Position your rosebush close enough to the fence that it can use it for support, but leave room for the plant to grow. Roses need air circulation to remain healthy. Depending on the type of fence you want to train your roses to climb, you should plant your rosebush 15 to 30 cm (6 to 12 inches) from the fence.

  3. 3

    Give the plant time to grow. You cannot start training your roses up the fence immediately after planting because the act of replanting the bush shocks it slightly. Letting it recover after planting will ensure that you do not accidentally damage the plant.

  4. 4

    Tie a branch or cane lightly to the fence when it begins to droop. Use strips of cloth or twine, but make very loose ties. The plant will continue to grow, so leave some room for that growth.

  5. 5

    Guide the branches upward first, then horizontally as the plant grows. You are ultimately creating a fan shape. At first the plant may seem thin, but as the rose grows the lower areas will fill in.

  6. 6

    Prune your rosebush lightly after it displays new growth. Use very sharp clippers and cut diagonally. Remove any dead or older canes, especially after the bush is well established along your fence.

Tips and warnings

  • You can also use plastic florist's tape to tie your roses. The tape is flexible and will move as the bush grows but will not restrict the plant.

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