Rosa ‘Francis E Lester’

Climbing and rambling roses for shade

If you read the books on roses, most advise that these versatile plants need a full day’s sun, or at least plenty of sunshine. But they will actually grow well with just four or five hours of sunshine. I have already written about shrub roses that will grow well in shade, now it is the turn of climbing and ramblings roses. 

Rosa ‘Graham Thomas’
Rose ‘Graham Thomas’. Image: David Austin Roses

What nearly all roses don’t like is growing under the canopy of trees or large shrubs where the combination of dryness at the roots and one-sided light will draw them and make them grow poorly. The exceptions to this are the rambling roses when planted to grow up through trees. Here they usually have to start off in fairly heavy shade but once they get their roots down the stems will be drawn up through the branches and out into the light and then hang down creating beautiful festoons of flowers.

Climbing roses for shade

Many of the English climbing roses are excellent on north or shady walls especially the following:

  • Rose ‘Crown Princess Margareta’ has glorious, neatly formed rosettes of a lovely apricot-orange flowers with a strong, fruity fragrance. A well-rounded, slightly arching growth and a repeat flowerer too. Ideal for a shady spot.
  • Rosea ‘Graham Thomas’ has been voted as the world’s favourite rose and holds the RHS award of garden merit. It has cupped blooms in an unusual rich shade of yellow, with a fresh, lovely tea fragrance.
  • Rose ‘Mortimer Sackler’ is a graceful rose, bearing large sprays of loosely double, soft pink flowers. It has a lovely Old Rose fragrance with delicious hints of fruit. An exceptionally healthy and repeat flowering rose. RHS Award of Garden Merit.
    Rosa ‘The Pilgrim’
    Rose ‘The Pilgrim’. Image: David Austin Roses
  • Rose ‘The Generous Gardener’ is an exquisite climbing rose with large, cup-shaped flowers of delicate appearance and palest pink colouring. Strong and delicious fragrance. Extremely healthy. RHS Award of Garden Merit.
  • Rose ‘The Pilgrim’ bears large, perfectly formed, soft yellow rosettes which are produced freely. The flowers have a delicious mixed fragrance of tea rose and myrrh. A very healthy and reliable plant with attractive, bushy growth. RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Fabulous rambling roses for shade

Rosa ‘Francis E Lester’
Rose ‘Francis E Lester’. Image: David Austin Roses

The following ramblers will be good for growing through trees or over large structures like garages and outbuildings:

  • Rose ‘American Pillar’ is a very striking rose with almost single flowers of deep carmine-pink with a white eye. Very tough and reliable with large hips.
  • Rose ‘Felicite-Perpetue’ is a strong, healthy and hardy rose. Small, neat, full-petalled pompon flowers in soft white are produced with great abundance. Almost evergreen. RHS Award of Garden Merit.
  • Rose ‘Francis E Lester’ is one of the most reliable of all rambling roses. Huge bunches of small, single white blooms, delicately tinted with soft pink. Strong fragrance. Extremely healthy. Small orange hips in autumn. RHS Award of Garden Merit.
  • Rose ‘Rambling Rector’ has small, semi-double, creamy white flowers, produced in abundance. Delicious fragrance and masses of hips in autumn. It’s a magnificent sight in full bloom. RHS Award of Garden Merit.
  • Rose ‘The Garland’ is a beautiful, vigorous variety bearing bunches of small creamy salmon flowers. Richly scented with orange hips. RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Find out more at David Austin Roses.


Have you tried?

Have you read?