Climbing roses are a popular and attractive addition to many British gardens. Known for their versatility, these beautiful plants add a touch of elegance and charm to the surroundings. One popular method of showcasing climbing roses is training them to grow on a wooden fence. In this article, we will explore the process of training climbing roses on wooden fences, the materials needed, and ways to maintain their health and beauty.

Background and Significance

Climbing roses, unlike their bush counterparts, grow vertically and need support to thrive. Wooden fences provide an ideal structure for these plants, allowing them to climb and showcase their stunning blooms. It's worth noting that not all roses are climbers; many rose varieties are shrubs or bushes that remain low-growing.

By training climbing roses on a wooden fence, you'll be able to take advantage of vertical garden space, add visual interest to a bland or unremarkable area, and even create natural privacy barriers. Additionally, this technique allows you to achieve a more organised and controlled garden aesthetic.

Choosing a Wooden Fence

The first step in training climbing roses on a wooden fence is selecting a suitable structure that can withstand the weight of a fully-grown plant. Opt for fences made from durable, rot-resistant materials such as cedar or redwood. Make sure the fence is sturdy, well-constructed, and properly supported. The chosen fence should have horizontal and vertical support slats, making it easier for the climbing roses to wrap around and secure themselves.

Planting Climbing Roses

When planting your climbing roses, it's essential to allow sufficient space between multiple plants to ensure adequate air circulation. Poor air circulation may lead to mildew or diseases. Follow the guidelines provided by the plant nursery regarding the distance between plants, usually between 1.8 to 2.4 metres apart.

Position the rose plant close to the fence, angling it in a way that encourages natural growth towards the structure. Once it's planted, take time to prune any dead or weak stems, creating a healthier foundation for prolific growth.

Training Techniques

Training climbing roses requires patience, as they establish their growth pattern over time. Initially, tie the main canes or branches of the rose plant loosely to the fence using a flexible material such as garden twine or plastic ties. Avoid using metal wires, as they may damage the plant.

As the plant grows, gradually spread the canes out horizontally in a fan-like pattern. By growing the canes horizontally, you encourage the development of lateral shoots, which will produce more blooms. It's essential to continue to tie the new growth to the fence throughout the growing season.

Maintenance and Care

Part of the beauty of climbing roses lies in their abundant growth. To keep them healthy and looking their best, it's crucial to carry out regular pruning, particularly in late winter or early spring. Prune any dead or weak stems, as well as any lateral shoots that are growing too far away from the fence.

Water your roses regularly, especially during dry spells, and provide a quality rose feed to promote healthy growth. Throughout the growing season, inspect the rose plants for any signs of pests or diseases, treating any affected areas as soon as possible to prevent the spread.


In summary, training climbing roses on a wooden fence can be a gratifying addition to any garden. With patience, care and regular maintenance, these stunning plants will flourish and provide a beautiful backdrop in your garden.