Conflicting relationships have been found between diversification rate and temperature across disparate clades of life. Here, we use a supermatrix comprising nearly 20,000 species of rosids—a clade of ~25% of all angiosperm species—to understand global patterns of diversification and its climatic association. Our approach incorporates historical global temperature, assessment of species’ temperature niche, and two broad-scale characterizations of tropical versus non-tropical niche occupancy. We find the diversification rates of most subclades dramatically increased over the last 15 million years (Myr) during cooling associated with global expansion of temperate habitats. Climatic niche is negatively associated with diversification rates, with tropical rosids forming older communities and experiencing speciation rates ~2-fold below rosids in cooler climates. Our results suggest long-term cooling had a disproportionate effect on non-tropical diversification rates, leading to dynamic young communities outside of the tropics, while relative stability in tropical climes led to older, slower-evolving but still species-rich communities.