Why now is the perfect time to prune your rambling roses, according to Monty Don

Follow Monty Don’s advice on pruning rambling roses for more flowers next year Why now is the perfect time to prune your rambling roses, according to Monty Don

Paul’s Himalayan Musk rambling rose growing up a tree in an English garden
(Image credit: Tim Gainey/Alamy Stock Photo)

Rambling roses can make a spectacular display in your yard every summer. Grown over a pergola or arch or into a tree, with their numerous flowers in bloom they’re a wonderful feature. They can bring beautiful fragrance to your plot, too.

Although there are exceptions, generally ramblers flower once a year, and our favorite gardener, Monty Don, has reminded us that by this point in the year, most of them have finished. And in the case of varieties that aren’t going to produce another flush of flowers, it’s therefore the moment to prune them. 

For Monty’s top tips on pruning rambling roses in July, just read on, and check out our guide on how to prune roses for expert advice on keeping every type in tip-top condition.

Monty Don’s top tips for pruning your rambling roses

Kew Rambler rambling rose

'Kew Rambler' rambling rose

(Image credit: David Austin Roses)

Monty Don gave the lowdown on pruning rambling roses on his website. Now we’re sharing his top tips along with some of our own. 

1. The ramblers you should be pruning now are those that have finished all they are going to do in the way of flowering this year, Monty explains. That’s most of them, and varieties such as ‘Wedding Day’, ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’ and ‘Félicité Perpétue’ should be pruned once they’ve finished flowering, he says. 

Bear in mind, though, that the exact timing of this task will ultimately depend on where you live.  

Like the idea of adding a repeat-flowering rambling rose to your backyard? Look out for varieties such as ‘Malvern Hills’, ‘The Lady of the Lake’, ‘Super Fairy’, ‘Phyllis Bide’, ‘Paul Noël’ and ‘Ghislaine de Féligonde’ if that’s the case. 

2. Not sure if a rose you have is a rambler or a climber? Ramblers tend to be the much more vigorous of the two, explains Monty, with masses of small flowers. Generally, they flower once in the year. The best climbing roses, on the other hand, tend to have stiffer stems, as a rule the blooms are large, and they do repeat flower. But as we’ve noted above, there are exceptions, and some varieties of ramblers repeat flower.

Paul’s Himalayan Musk rambling rose growing on a tree

'Paul’s Himalayan Musk' rambling rose

(Image credit: Tom Gainey/Alamy Stock Photo)

3. What you need to do in the way of pruning depends on where you are growing a rambling rose, Monty advises. Those grown into a tree won’t need it, aside from cutting straggly growth, he says.

But where space is an issue, or you are training the rose, Monty recommends that this year’s shoots should be either tied in or cut back.

When it comes to any damaged or very old shoots, Monty says these should be cut back to the ground.

4. You might be training your rambling rose around a vertical support, for example as part of your pergola ideas or trellis ideas for gardens. If that’s the case, take Monty’s advice to wind stems in a spiral. Meanwhile, he says that the more horizontal stems can be trained, the bigger the number of blooms next year. 

cottage garden with rambling roses climbing a stone wall

(Image credit: Kasia Fiszer)

5. The job’s not quite finished yet if you're keen to perfect how to grow roses this year. Monty also advises that loose growth should be tied in, and your rambling rose should be mulched well. You can find out about mulching in our expert guide.

6. As for the other roses in your garden, they need ongoing care to ensure you get blooms for longer this summer. Dead-head them as petals fade, says Monty. There's more expert rose care tips in our guide too.

7. Don’t forget another advantage of rambling roses. As well as bringing you a profusion of blooms, many varieties have attractive hips, creating color and interest in the fall garden.   

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Sarah Warwick
Freelance writer

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She’s spent most of her journalistic career specialising in homes and gardens and loves investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement. It's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house revamper.