How to Prune Your Roses Like a Professional: Ultimate Guide

by Maria Konou

The rose is the queen of flowers, and undoubtedly every lover of floral beauty has at least one species in their garden. In order to fully enjoy the enchanting beauty of this plant, it is necessary to know its preferences and apply the required care correctly. Among the most important points in the cultivation of roses is their pruning. But what actually is the positive impact and importance of rose pruning? First of all, it shapes the plant and gives it the desired appearance. The second reason is that pruning allows the rose to concentrate on producing flower buds and abundant flowering, rather than developing and elongating the stems. Thirdly, the removal of old and withered stems contributes to improving air circulation within the plant itself and protects it from the development of diseases. In this guide, we will teach you how to prune your roses to rejuvenate and strengthen the plant.

Pruning is an essential step for keeping your rose plant happy and healthy

how to prune standard roses

In this guide, we will teach you how to prune roses like a professional

should roses be pruned in the summer

How to Prune Roses Like a Professional: Ultimate Guide

General Rules for Pruning Roses

According to the general rules for pruning roses, pruning takes place in late autumn or early spring. If you choose spring, then it is important to know that you should prune the roses before the new leaves appear and grow. So the best period is between February and March. The start of foliage is a sure sign that the plant has woken up from its winter sleep. Even after this period, you can still remove dead stems and give shape to your shrubs.

Pruning of roses usually takes place in late autumn or early in the spring 

should you prune rose bushes before winter

Always use well-sharpened and clean gardening tools when pruning your roses. This will ensure that you do not injure the plant and infect it with unwanted diseases. Experienced gardeners advise washing your gardening tools with bleach or hydrogen peroxide after each use to properly disinfect them. For your safety and to protect your hands, work with gardening gloves made of thick fabric. That way, no rose thorn can hurt you!

Always clean and disinfect your gardening tools properly after you use them

what is the proper way to prune roses

Types of Pruning

There are some general rules that apply to all types of roses. There are three types of pruning – hard, moderate and light – and these are directly related to the type of rose you have, its strength of growth and its current condition. Light pruning removes about two-thirds of the volume of the plant and results in an elongated bush with numerous but small flowers. Hard pruning means removing more than half of the plant, usually cutting off 12-15 cm of the branches. Some florists apply the so-called ‘double pruning’ – pruning roses lightly in the autumn and the following spring.

Generally there are three types of rose pruning – hard, moderate and light 

what not to do when pruning roses

The most common choice of gardeners is the moderate pruning. It removes about 1/3 of the bush and keeps it healthy. In addition, moderate pruning ensures lovely blossoms for you to marvel at. Here is the process of moderate pruning:

  • Start by removing all dead and dying shoots, old wilted leaves or blossoms (if any), tangled and densely spaced shoots, and wild shoots (looking like a briar).
  • It is also recommended to cut off young shoots, which you will recognize easily since they are less than pencil-thick.
  • It is important that there are no crosses or thickened branches in the center of the bush.
  • The exact place to cut is a few millimeters (about 6 mm) from the leaf node, at a 45-degree angle. Cut the stem above the points where the new branches are growing, making the cut at an angle (diagonal) rather than horizontal.

These are the general rules and methods of pruning roses



how to prune roses

Pruning Tips & Tricks

  • Newly planted roses should not be pruned, and for annual roses it is best to apply light pruning.
  • Avoid pruning roses in winter when there are low temperatures and snow.
  • Stronger plants should be pruned more, and weaker and younger plants more lightly.
  • Always prune damaged branches to a healthy point.
  • You should remove terminally old stems.

Knowing all these little things will help you become a master at rose pruning

how to prune roses that are too tall

Different Rose Species: Pruning Specifics

#Climbing Roses

The prevailing opinion regarding pruning of climbing roses is to allow them to grow for a few years and ‘get’ a good height. The strongest stem is then selected to serve as a guide and base. Remove any weak, tangled, underdeveloped and withered branches. It is advisable to shape all branches to the same length, which depends on the fortification on which the rose is growing and climbing. In the case of single-flowering climbing roses, only prune the tips. In the case of repeat-flowering roses, repeat the light pruning of the flower-bearing branches after the first flowers have bloomed.

Climbing roses generally need a few years to grow before pruning

how to prune roses that have gone wild.jpg

#Floribunda Roses

Floribunda roses are distinguished by their profuse, unceasing flowering, which form beautiful and impressive bouquets. They are characterized by numerous blooms (up to 10 or more) on a single branch. They are a cross between the Tea Hybrid Rose and the Polyantha Rose and are planted alone or in groups. In the first case, just follow the general pruning rules. When planting this type of rose in groups, aim to obtain a hedge or fence. Apply light to medium pruning, depending on the condition of the plant, removing damaged, thin and tangled shoots. At flowering time, cut off the over-bloomed flowers, so that the new flower buds emerge faster and there is prolonged flowering.

Floribunda roses are a cross between the Tea Hybrid Rose and the Polyantha Rose

floribunda rose should roses be pruned every year

#Tea-Hybrid Roses

The flowers of this variety of roses form in three rows, so flowering is available throughout the active season, with short breaks. Tea-hybrid roses are grown not only for decoration in the garden, but also for cutting their flowers. Depending on the development of the plant, leave 4 to 8 main branches, with more buds on the strong branches and fewer on the weak ones. Keep in mind that the high buds form first, and then those on the lower levels.

With Tea-Hybrid Roses, leave more flower buds on the strong branches and fewer on the weak ones

hybrid tea roses how to prune roses correctly

#Miniature Roses

Miniature roses are distinguished by their small size and small flowers. They are suitable for growing both in the garden and in pots. Prune this variety of roses above the third bud for strong stems and above the second bud for weak ones.

Miniature roses are suitable for growing in the garden, as well as in pots

do you have to prune roses every year.jpg

#Weeping Roses

Weeping roses are a type of woody rose that have remarkably rich flowers. They are characterized by tall stems reaching up to 160 cm. In the case of weeping roses or so-called ‘fountain roses’, the branches descend gracefully, and the graft is of a creeping rose. This type of rose requires pruning in late winter or early spring. Identify dead and damaged parts, cut back the lateral branches, thin out any crowded growth, and clean up the plant.

Weeping roses are a type of woody rose with lots of flowers

how to prune climbing roses on an arch

In Conclusion

The hard work is now done. And at the end of this post, you are now convinced that pruning roses is quite a pleasant and easy task as long as you are well-informed with its specifics. To have the healthiest and best-formed roses, which in return will give you the most charming blossoms, do not neglect or belittle their pruning. And most importantly, prune annually!

Now you know how to properly prune your roses!

what is the proper way to prune a rose bush

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Maria Konou

Maria Konou is a specialist in the field of digital marketing and fashion. However, she has always had a way with words. That’s what led her to her dream job here at Archzine. She has worked in many different fields over the years, but according to her, being an author has been the most rewarding. Maria is a huge plant enthusiast, loves everything fashion-related, is very sustainably aware, and is always open to learning about new things.