Garden Action

The premier gardening information source

How to prune your rose bush

How To Prune Your Rose

Pruning Your Roses
Roses are very tolerant plants, and with a little care will flourish for many years.

Roses grow by producing new shoots, the upper part dies off after a couple of years.

When the upper part of a stem dies, the lower part produces a new shoot which then goes through the same cycle.

If a rose is not pruned, it will turn into a mass of live and dead stems, preventing the circulation of air and cutting out light. 

Pruning removes old wood, thus allowing air and light to reach all parts of the plant - this  helps prevent disease. Click here for details on light, medium and hard pruning.


Type Newly Planted Roses Established Roses


Hybrid Tea Hard pruning at planting time. This will encourage a strong root system and healthy shoots. Prune 15cm (6in) from soil level. Medium pruning in March as soon as signs of growth are noticed.

Floribunda As for Hybrid Tea, but prune 10cm (4in) from soil level. Medium pruning in March as soon as signs of growth are noticed. Aim to prune some older stems to 10cm (4in) from ground level and prune only 25% of some new shoots from the lower part of the plant. This will encourage stems of different length and therefore more flowers.

Standards Prune stems back to 6 buds. Medium pruning - try to maintain a wine goblet shape.

At planting time, cut the stems back to around 80 cm (2ft 6in) - this may well have been done at the nursery. 

Subsequent pruning depends on which type of rambling rose you have.

Type 1
These are the very strong growing rambling roses which can grow as much as 5m (16ft) in a single year. This type only requires pruning to keep it in bounds. Prune as much or as little as you require.

Type 2
This type produces a mass of new shoots mainly from the base of the plant. Flowers are produced from stems that have grown the previous year. After flowering cut back roughly half of the shoots that have produced flowers right to the base of the plant. The non-flowering shoots should be tied to supports so that they are nearly horizontal or fanned out. It is also possible to cut back all the shoots if a rambling rose has got out of control.

Type 3
This type produces most new shoots half way up older branches. Flowers are produced from stems that have grown the previous year. Cut back stems that have flowered back to a new shoot.

At planting time, do not prune at all. If you do, the roses may revert back to bush form in some cases. Instead, fan out the branches so that they are not all pointing upwards. Climbing roses produce flowers more evenly if the branches are fanned out. Each main branch needs to be attached to the support (trellis or wires) with ties.

Annually (in March), little pruning is required other than to keep the plant in bounds and remove any weak or diseased stems. Prune side shoots to about 10cm (4in) long. Older branches should be thinned out by cutting some of them back to about a half of their length. Cut back to just above a new shoot.

Only prune to cut out dead or diseased wood, and to keep the plant in a good shape. Do not prune on planting. Pruning should cease about 6 weeks before the first frost date in your area.




Name: jim@GardenAction
E-mail: Private
Date posted: November 07, 2011 - 01:41 pm
Message: Try not feeding them. Your conditions may be too good.

Name: Rosemary Worledge
E-mail: Private
Date posted: November 07, 2011 - 10:51 am
Message: I have a rose bed with 12 roses. 4 different varieties. All very very healthy and still covered in blooms My problem is they have all got tall 6ft approx. They are all only supposed to 3.6 - 4ft I would much prefer them to grow the stated hight on the labels. I reduce the height in the autumn and prune again early spring. The roses are fed early and again late june or July. I am very proud of them but is there something I can do to stop them growing so tall. Thank you