Some climbing rose varieties are shade tolerant.

What Is a Clmbing Rose Bush That Grows Well in Shade?

by Elisabeth Ginsburg

Climbing rose bushes make the most of vertical garden space, adding beauty, fragrance and focal points in small or large landscapes. Generally roses prefer six hours or more of daily sun. However, some climbers will flower and thrive with less than that amount. No rose will do well in deep shade, but if the chosen site receives between four and six hours of daily sunlight, especially morning sun, shade-tolerant climbers will provide years of color and interest.


Climbing Iceberg rose (Rosa "Korbin" Iceberg cl.) is the climbing form of the white rose Iceberg (Rosa "Korbin" Iceberg). Hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4b through 9b, climbing Iceberg is a large-flowered, hybrid tea rose with lightly scented double or semi-double flowers of pure white. The shrubs flower in flushes throughout the growing season and reach a height of 8 to 15 feet, making them suitable for trellises and arches. As with all repeat bloomers, prune lightly after flowering to stimulate the next flush of blooms.

"Golden Showers"

Another shade tolerant climber is the yellow-flowered "Golden Showers" (Rosa "Golden Showers"), hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9. The plants feature very large, fragrant, semi-double flowers that open golden yellow and fade to white as the petals age. Red anthers at each flower's center, contrast with the yellow petals. At 8 to 10 feet tall, "Golden Showers" has a spread of 2 to 3 feet, making it suitable for tall pillars as well as other supports. The rose is a repeat bloomer. In 1957, shortly after its introduction, "Golden Showers" was an All-America Rose Selection winner.

"Zephirine Drouhin"

Dating back to the nineteenth century, the shade-tolerant Bourbon rose, "Zephirine Drouhin" (Rosa "Zephirine Drouhin"), is a true heirloom climber. Hardy in USDA zones 5 through 9, it features semi-double cerise-pink flowers, each of which is large -- 3 1/2 to 4 inches across. The canes are nearly thornless, a feature that makes the shrub a good choice for high-traffic areas. "Zephirine" is a repeat-flowering variety with a strong fragrance reminiscent of raspberries. It is a well-mannered climber, reaching up to 12 feet, with a 3- to 6-foot spread.

"Sally Holmes"

"Sally Holmes" (Rosa "Sally Holmes"), is a shade-tolerant climber with the look of a wild rose. The petals are pale pink in bud, opening to white, with prominent golden stamens. Once open, the large, fragrant flowers last a long time on the plant and are also suitable as long-lasting cut flowers. "Sally Holmes" is hardy in USDA zones 5 through 9 and grows about 7 feet tall and wide. For shorter supports, like pillars, it can be pruned to a smaller size. "Sally Holmes," with its relaxed habit and nearly thornless canes, mixes well in a variety of planting schemes.

About the Author

Elisabeth Ginsburg, a writer with over 20 years' experience, earned an M.A. from Northwestern University and has done advanced study in horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden. Her work has been published in the "New York Times," "Christian Science Monitor," "Horticulture Magazine" and other national and regional publications.

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