Certain varieties of roses have long arching canes six feet or more in length which can be tied to trellises or other supports, so they are called climbing roses. There are two types: large flowered ones which have thick, sturdy canes and blossoms 2 to 6 inches across, and rambling ones with more flexible, thinner canes and smaller blossoms. Large-flowered climbers take two growing seasons to become established and flower bearing. They bloom in their second season. The rambling roses bear thick clusters of smaller flowers. Because they have no tendrils to attach themselves, the canes of climbers either lean or stand alone to be fastened loosely to supporting structures.
Height and Spread - The large flowered type of climbing rose typically grows from 10 to 15 feet. The rambling type grows from 10 to 20 feet. These plants will spread as they are permitted, since they must be guided by tying and pruning to climb over a designated support.
Flowers and Fruit - Large flowered climbers may bloom twice a year, in the early summer and in the fall. They produce flowers that are from 2 to 6 inches across. Climbers come in a wide range of colors: reds, pinks, yellow, and white. Flowers on ramblers are usually less than 2 inches wide and appear once a year in late spring or early summer. They may be double or semi-double in red, pale pink, yellow or white. The flowers of many of these climbers have a fragrance.
Foliage - Like other roses, the foliage of climbers is deciduous. The leaves drop from the plants at the end of the growing season. Elliptical in shape with finely toothed edges and a pointed tip, their leaves may be from 2 to 3 inches long and 1 inch wide. They are often reddish-green when they emerge, turning to medium green at maturity. Some climbers have shiny leaves, while others have leaves with more of a matte surface. They are smooth textured, their veins sometimes traced in red. They are borne opposite each other on leaf stalks, usually three or five to a stalk.