Climbing Roses


We have a very tall arbor. We’d like a pink, thornless, blooming all summer and vigorous climber rose.  Any recommendations?


To have roses climbing over an arbor in your garden sounds like a wonderfully romantic idea. You say that you are interested in varieties without thorns. Such varieties are the perfect choice for planting in areas where one frequently walks or sits near. A few truly thornless roses and some nearly thornless roses do exist but you will be hard pressed to find them for purchase in Canada, especially climbers.  Most roses are not completely free of thorns but the higher up the plant you go the fewer thorns you find. If you are prepared to go with climbers that have thorns the choices are way greater. Your best bet would be to look for “David Austin” roses. These roses are renowned for their breeding across the world and are supposedly available in Canada. Take a look at for examples.

There only appears to be a couple of roses that seem to meet your criteria (climbing, thornless and pink). They are not necessarily recommended, as we are not specifically familiar with these plants.

Zephirine Droubin – A climbing Bourbon that may be the most consistently blooming, large flowered climbing rose, with the added benefit that it is thorn-less. The 4″ blooms (petals 16) are deep rose-pink, fragrant, and produced in great quantities on a continual blooming bush.

James Galway – David Austin describes it like this “A superb large shrub with long, slightly arching, almost thorn-less growth”. This is a tough disease-free rose that is excellent for the back of a mixed border can also be grown as a climber. The flowers are 4″ and full with over a 100 petals, with many shading to pale pink at the edges. There is a delicious Old Rose fragrance. Continual Blooming.

Unfortunately, Toronto Master Gardeners are not specifically familiar with the stock at local garden centres nor do we provide individual names of retail outlets. Call or visit a reputable garden centre or nursery in the Toronto area of which there are quite a few. Check out Landscape Ontario’s website at for names of companies. If you choose “Contact a Company”, select “garden centres” and search “Toronto, Ontario”. A list should appear which includes contact information.

Good luck with your project.