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The Art of Pruning Roses

The Art of Pruning Roses

Rose stemspray roses

Roses bloom in a many different colors, from white to yellow, orange to pink and many colors in between. There are more than 100 species of roses, so as you prepare for flower-filled summer months, the idea of pruning these budding beauties may seem a little daunting. Don't worry – Teleflora is here to help! No matter if you are a life-long rose enthusiast or are just curious about how to care for them, here are a few steps to guide you:

How to prune your roses

You should plan to prune your roses consistently and carefully to maintain a beautiful-looking plant. It is best to wait until your roses are dormant, usually in colder months. Try to get rid of dead wood and leaves that may have accumulated around the base of the plant. Leaves, grass and other vegetation can sprout up around your blooms, so keep the area as clean as possible – these unwanted weeds may take nutrition from your rose bush. Use clean, sharp tools and aim to open the center of the plant to light and air circulation. Make sure your cuts are nice and clean, not ragged.

When to prune

Most rose pruning is done in the spring when the leaf buds begin to swell on your plants, but timing is really determined by the species of rose plant and the climate in which you live.

If you aren't sure about what kind of rose you have, pay attention to it for a season. If a flower blooms on the new growth it sends out that season, prune it while it's dormant. If it blooms early on last year's canes (or stems), don't prune until after it flowers.

Ways to prune different roses

Different species of roses require different kinds of attention, so here are some guidelines by rose classification:

  • Blooms once on new growth:
    Modern Ever-Blooming Roses & Floribunda: These roses bloom best on the current season's growth. Remove old wood in the spring around the base of these plants and prune them to about one-half to two-thirds the plant's height. Leave three to five healthy stems evenly spaced apart and cut them at various lengths from 18-24 inches to promote continuous blooming.

    Hybrid Teas & Grandiflora: These flowers also bloom on new wood, so plan to prune in early spring. First, remove dead and weak wood. Then create an open space with the remaining stems by removing the center canes and any branches that cross inwards. Snip the remaining stems by about to about 18-24 inches.

  • Blooms once on old growth:
    Ramblers: Remove dead wood and winter damage by pruning these right after flowering. Keep their size in check by snipping the stems all the way back to 2-3 inches.
  • Repeat bloomers:
    Modern Shrub Roses: If your roses bloom on mature stems, leave them unpruned for the first two years. After that, remove one-third of the oldest canes (in addition to any dead, diseased or dying canes) every year.

    Climbers: Climbing roses can be prone to repeat blooming. Remove winter damage and dead wood in the spring, and do so again after flowering to keep the size under control.

    Bourbons and Portlands: These will also often bloom on both new and old wood. Remove all dead wood before they flower. After the first flowering, you can prune them to one-half their size.

  • Minimal pruning needed
    Alba, Centifolia, Damasks, Gallica, and Mosses: This group of flowers only blooms once, and grows flowers on old wood. These roses don't require much pruning at all, so just remove dead or thin wood and shape the plants to your liking after flowering.

You may also like to read about the meaning of rose colors.

This article is brought to you and
published by Teleflora.

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