Keeping Climbing Roses Well Fed

When in bloom, climbing roses look lovely in a garden. As long as they receive ample sun and are planted in well-drained soil, climbing roses should be healthy. They do, however, need to be well fed, with ample nitrogen. At the same time, there shouldn’t be too much nitrogen. It needs to be combined with other things for the best nutrition, along with the best height and flowers.

When to Start Feeding

As soon as you see new growth on the climbing roses in the spring you should start feeding them. Begin by watering very thoroughly around the base of the plants until the ground is soaked. This will ensure that the roots receive ample water to begin their growth.

After this, wait 2 days and then apply fertilizer around the climbing roses. This offers nutrition, but also makes sure the soil can be worked without any effort. Different people prefer different types of fertilizer, with some favoring slow-release and other liquid fish fertilizer.

Rose Food

Commercial rose food is fine for climbing roses, and the first feeding should come after the fertilizer has been worked into the soil. You’ll need to ideally use a small cultivator so that the food is well worked in to the top 1/2 inch of the soil around the base of the plants.

As to the amount of food to use, follow the directions with the food and don’t exceed it or you can end up damaging the climbing roses. Once you’ve applied the food, water the roses again. Keep the water to the soil, not on the foliage of the climbing roses.

How Often to Feed

It’s important to keep your eye on the growth of the climbing roses, as you should repeat feedings after every flush of bloom. Follow the same process that you used in spring. Water the soil thoroughly and then add fertilizer before working the food into the soil and then watering once more. This will ensure the best possible growth for the climbing roses.


Knowing the types of climbing roses you have is important. Many climbers will bloom during the summer, but climbers that are rambling roses tend to give one bloom per year, and this will come in late spring or at the beginning of the summer.


Good mulching at the end of the season is vital to the growth of all plants, including climbing roses. It’s an excellent way to keep the roots protected and prevent the moisture from evaporating from the soil.

Start by using organic mulch around the climbing roses (leave a small donut of bare earth around the stem of each plant). It needs to be several inches deep (you can also use compost). This is the base, and you should finish with a top dressing. This needs to be manure that’s been composted or well rotted.

The advantage to the top dressing is that it will continue to give nutrients to the climbing roses, releasing them slowly into the soil so that there’s a continuous feed to the climbing roses.