Climbing Roses are superb for clothing walls, draping porches or adding romance to pergolas with their foliage and colorful blossoms. What to pick? A Climbing Rose or a Rambling rose? While these roses produce long stems and attractive blooms, they differ in several ways.

Here is a summary of the main differences between Climbing and Rambling Roses:

  • Rambling roses are vigorous shrubs with long, flexible stems which emerge from the base of the plants and are easy to train on trellises, over archways and pergolas. They are useful for scrambling through bushes and into trees, covering unsightly objects or large expanses of wall. Very strong-growing, they grow bigger than Climbing Roses and need space. Many Ramblers grow up to 20 ft. high (6 m) and 8-15 ft. wide (2-5 m). Less vigorous, and more controllable, Climbing Roses are shrubs with long, arching, stiff stems that are well adapted to training on arches, arbors, obelisks, pillars, fences, trellis and walls. Most Climbing Rose varieties grow from 6-12 ft. long (180-360 cm) and will spread about 3-4 ft. wide (90-120 cm). They are well adapted to small gardens.
  • Rambler Roses usually produce an abundance of small flowers held in large sprays, sometimes up to 20 blooms per stem. Climbing Roses produce a profusion of large, single or clustered, flowers.
  • Most Rambler Roses bloom once in late spring or early summer for several weeks. They may not repeat flower, but they make up for it with the massive quantities of blooms they produce in their main flush. Their long canes are literally smothered in roses, forming impressive cascades of colorful blooms. Most Climbing Roses usually repeat flower throughout summer and fall. Most bloom two or more times every season: first on old canes, and then on the current season’s growth. A few cultivars bloom continuously from early summer to fall.
  • Many Rambler varieties produce crops of decorative hips in the fall, which persist in winter and glitter in the sun.
  • Tough and reliable, Rambling Roses are generally very healthy and disease resistant, tolerant of partial shade and poor soils.
  • Rambler Roses require less care than Climbing Roses. They can thrive on neglect, although they may look unkempt and become unmanageable after a few years. Climbing Roses require more  attention and an annual routine of pruning and training.