Rosa Red Cascade: A Repeat-flowering Miniature Climbing Rose

Rosa 'Red Cascade'

Some of the most picturesque American roses (to my British eyes, at least) have been encouraged to clamber over fences. That’s how Rosa ‘Red Cascade’ managed to sneak its way into my heart. If ever a rose was destined to make a plain fence seem more interesting, this is it. The first time I noticed it growing was in tough conditions, in full sun, on a mesh fence, in a graveyard in Jackson, Mississippi. If it had been flowering at all, I’d have been impressed, but this plant was liberally covered with red blooms.

While ‘Red Cascade’ is often sold as a miniature climber, ‘miniature’ describes the flowers more accurately than the habit of the plant. The Antique Rose Emporium has trained one to grow up a 15ft (4.5m) pillar. 

It doesn’t naturally climb. More of a scrambler than a rambler, Red Cascade will form attractive and surprisingly uniform ground cover if the plant is not persuaded, from its earliest days, to cover a pillar, trellis or fence. Longish stems sprawl or arch away from the centre of the plant, which looks (to quote my sweetheart, who loves this rose) “like an upside-down octopus”. As the shoots don’t grow straight upwards, to get it to climb, you have to gather them up and tie them against their support. Since the stems are thorny, this is no mean feat.

The foliage is rambler-style with pretty, elongated leaves and twiggy older growth. The roses are a true red and keep their colour as they age. Each rose may only be an inch or so (3cm) across, but what the flowers lack in stature they make up for in bounty. A thriving ‘Red Cascade’ rose produces several hundreds of flowers during its long flowering season. The blooms are fully double, with their petals arranged in an informal ruffle rather than a neat rosette.

'Red Cascade' Rose

Many repeat-flowering roses take some time to recuperate after their first flush of flowers and benefit from summer pruning to produce another good flush later in the season. For me, an ever-blooming rose is fake news – a breeder’s marketing term – but Rosa ‘Red Cascade’ is about the closest you can come to it, given a situation that pleases it

And, as roses go, it doesn’t ask for much. New plants need to be watered and fed until they are completely established, but can survive very poor conditions and complete neglect after that, as many a deserted homestead or graveyard will testify. And by ‘survive’, I don’t mean ‘just about cling on to life’ as so many neglected roses do. The foliage will stay healthy and blackspot free, though anyone who habitually carries a pair of pruning shears might find a few twiggy pieces to prune out.

A true passalong plant, ‘Red Cascade’ roots readily, so makes a great starting point for someone who wants to try their hand at propagating roses. After all, if you end up with too many red roses, and they’re as versatile as this one, you’ll not have too much trouble finding homes for the spares!

Rosa ‘Red Cascade’ was bred by Ralph Moore, the father of miniature roses, in or before 1976. I haven’t seen it grown or offered for sale in England.

Red Cascade flowers close-up

18 thoughts on “Rosa Red Cascade: A Repeat-flowering Miniature Climbing Rose

  1. Maggie Wilson says:

    I will have to look into this rose – I don’t think there are too many that manage the extreme cold winters where I live, but that might not be a great concern for this robust Red Cascade.

    • susurrus says:

      It’s hardy to zone 6. Have you tried any of Buck’s roses? Carefree Beauty has a good reputation. Alternatively, Morden roses were developed in Canada, so they should be hardy.

      • Maggie Wilson says:

        Hm. According to one grower’s site, Rosa Red is hardy to zone 6. I live in zone 2. Give or take. We have lots of very hardy species roses growing naturally, but low to the ground. I may have to satisfy my appetite for lush, climbing displays by looking at your pictures.

        • susurrus says:

          I’ve heard about the lengths rose lovers go to to keep climbing roses alive in cold climates – removing them from their supports each year and burying them in mulch – but I’d not attempt it.

    • susurrus says:

      It’s funny how so many people who have commented are from colder climates. You might like to check it is hardy enough for your conditions before taking the plunge.

  2. Oddment says:

    What a lovely, comfy image at the top! The homes in the background, with the porch and with the curtains in the window, set off that tumbling rose so perfectly that I had to spend a minute or two just pretending I lived there. Thank you for the insights on this rose. I am strongly drawn to anything which might live despite me.

    • susurrus says:

      It’s a tough rose, not just a pretty one, but it’s a sun worshipper. I don’t know if it’d be hardy enough for your climate, though a blanket of snow is not as harmful for a rose as you might suppose.

  3. Laurin Lindsey says:

    Love this little rose. I first found them at the Antique Rose Emporium in Brenham. About 5 or more years ago I used some in a design. The owners didn’t get irrigation and neglected the installation. Little survived. I think the eventually moved. New owners don’t seem to be gardeners either. Yet when I drive by I see the Red Cascade roses thriving and blooming. Just put 3 in a courtyard with wrought iron trellises. I can’t wait to see them fill in. : )

    • susurrus says:

      That’s the best test of any plant’s toughness. I’m sure your latest ones will soon be the pride of the neighbourhood.

      One of my biggest surprises when I visited the Ozarks was seeing how many wooden houses had been outlived by the bearded irises that had once been in their garden. The house was gone and the only evidence it had ever been there was that bearded irises were thriving. I hadn’t realised how tough irises can be when the conditions suit them.

  4. bittster says:

    I love this kind of rose the best, the ones which ramble and twist all over a corner of the garden. It must be those childhood books about secret gardens and the thickets of roses that fill the garden with fragrance and color!

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