How to prune roses

Pruning Roses – When’s the best time?

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When to prune rosesYour rose plant looked so good in its first few years. Now, it rarely produces roses and has become untidy.

Dig it up and start again? No! There is a very easy and satisfying solution; pruning.

To get the most from your roses, it’s highly important that you prune to encourage new growth. Generally, it’s good to be cruel to be kind. How and when to prune roses may depends on the variety.

What kind of Rose do I have?

In order to establish the correct time to prune a rose, we need to find out what kind of rose it is.

Some roses like to be pruned before flowering or putting out leaves and others after flowering.

Flowers on new growth

If your rose flowers from this season’s new growth, then prune in early Spring. Do this just before the leaf buds open.

Flowers on old growth

If it flowers on last year’s woody growth, then it should be pruned after flowering.

Continuous flowering shrub roses

Shrub roses (that continuously flowers throughout the season) should be pruned only once, every couple of years and reduced by a third. Reduce by removing older growth.

When to start pruning roses & how

  • Hybrid Tea roses – Flowers from new growth. Prune early Spring down to 18-24 inches from the base.
  • Rambling roses – Flowers from old growth. Prune after flowering to 2-4 inches from the base.
  • Climbing roses – Flowers from old growth. Prune after flowering to required shape.
  • Modern ever-blooming roses – Flowers from new growth. Prune early Spring down to 18-24 inches from the base.
  • Grandiflora roses – Flowers from new growth. Prune early Spring down to 18-24 inches from the base.
  • Floribunda roses – Flowers from new growth. Prune early Spring down to 18-24 inches from the base.

Caring for your rose

After Winter, cut out any dead, dying or diseased growth. Don’t allow the rose canes to become overcrowded. Do this by removing weaker canes. Also, remove any crossing canes to prevent rubbing. When two rose canes rub together disease can easily enter in. Keep the centre of your rose plants open to allowing for plenty of air circulation.

The RHS website has more information on how and when to prune roses. You can read the article by visiting the advise page: Rose pruning: general tips.

James Middleton

An obsessive gardener since 1982. Day-time job - web designer and developer and University lecturer.

1 Comment

  1. How to prune roses in warm, frost free climate zones, such as in California or Florida, where roses don’t go dormant, prune in late fall or early winter, right before cool weather and winter rains push growth.

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