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Altissimo – Climbing Rose

Altissimo is my favorite red climbing rose in the garden. It is officially designated a large-flowered climbing rose. I looked a long time to find a red climber that I could sign up for by the way.

Altissimo’s roses are scarlet red with yellow stamens.

Altissimo’s flowers are warm scarlet red and 5″ across. I suppose this is a major part of its appeal, considering so many red roses are decidedly on the cool side of red: A dark pink rose does not qualify as red in my book.

If you had some weathered wood, say a fence or barn, Altissimo would be stunning next to it.

Altissimo was introduced in 1966 by Georges Delbard (France). Altissimo grows 7′-20′ tall and can be trained as a pillar rose. It is disease resistant…we never spray it. I have friends who have trouble with blackspot on Altissimo at times.

With roses, you can’t trust a lot of what is written and you can’t trust the pictures. Garden micro-climates and gardeners’ cultural practices make it difficult to translate experiences from one garden to another. If you like a rose, give it a shot.

Altissimo large-flowered climbing rose
Altissimo is a superb garden rose with show-quality flowers.

Altissimo is a solid choice for gardeners seeking a rose that can handle more shade in borderline areas of the garden. We grow it in an embarrassing amount of shade and basically ignore it (no fertilizer, no pruning, no watering) and it trundles along. During summer, Altissimo lights up the garden, seemingly throwing up flowers on some schedule of its own making.

Altissimo is a rarity in rose gardening: an excellent garden plant that produces show-quality roses.

The canes are very stiff and not as pliable as the canes of many climbing roses. Train them early while they are still relatively flexible. The stiffness of the canes means it is possible to grow Altissimo as a shrub rose.

Altissimo is winter hardy USDA zones 5-9. The fragrance is mild at best.

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