Easy Peasy Rose Pruning Tutorial

So, you want to prune your roses? You’re in luck because it’s super easy to do. The hardest part of pruning roses is getting the courage to make that very first cut. It can be a bit intimidating for a first time rose gardener to take a pair of loppers or pruners to their rose bushes, but pruning is the best thing you can do for them. Pruning roses is what encourages the plants to put on more growth & it helps keep them healthy. If you want your roses to flourish then you have to prune them every spring, there is no way around that. Read on for my simple rose pruning guide.

rose bush pruning picture
Before pruning.
pruned rose bush picture
After pruning.

Materials

  • Rose bush
  • Pruners or loppers
  • Rose fertilizer
  • Water

Method

  1. Identify what type of rose bush you have (hybrid tea, floribunda, etc).
  2. Plan your pruning per your rose bush type (prune off half of the height of hybrid tea & floribunda roses).
  3. Make sure to remove any dead/diseased canes completely by pruning them near the crown of the bush.
  4. Find an outward-facing bud & prune above & away from it at a 45-degree angle. Repeat on every cane.
  5. Remove any canes that cross over one another & any canes that are growing in the middle of the plant. Aim for an empty vase shape.
  6. Add fertilizer on the soil around the perimeter of the bush & water in.

Tips

  • Always wear protective clothing, like thick gloves & long sleeves whenever you prune roses. It goes without saying that the thorns are very sharp & you will not go uninjured without protective gear.
  • Sterilize your loppers/prunes in between pruning multiple rose bushes, especially while pruning a diseased bush. You do not want to pass on a disease from one plant to another.
  • Sometimes a lot of winter damage means that you will have to prune off a lot of the rose bush, don’t worry, roses are very resilient & with a little TLC you will have that bush growing in no time.
  • Don’t skip the fertilizer. Roses are heavy feeders & they need fertilizer if you want them to be good producers.
new rose leaves picture
These are the new rose buds, make the cut above one.

I ran a little late pruning my roses this year because our weather has been a bit up & down this month. We had steady 50-60 degree weather a few weeks ago & then it dipped back down & snowed twice last week. Luckily, the forecast looks steady now & I had the time earlier this week, so I was finally able to do my big spring clean-up. Pruning an entire rose garden all in one go is never a gardening task that I look forward to, but I always feel so accomplished once the job is finished. I have 16 rose bushes & counting, so it can definitely seem like a gigantic task, especially coming out of the lazy winter gardening season. Plus, it’s can get a little disappointing seeing how much winter damage your roses have. We had a mild winter, so most of my roses are already thriving, but I have a couple that may not have made it. We’ll just have to give it a little time & see. A couple of years ago, I had roses that barely made it out alive after a harsh winter, then they struggled through the growing season. But they made a big come back the following year & were the first to flower out of all my rose bushes. Like, I said they are a resilient plant, even though they may seem delicate.

before rose pruning picture
Another before pruning picture.
pruned rose bush picture
& the corresponding after pic. Don’t be afraid to prune hard.

I wasn’t able to get my trusted rose fertilizer in time, so I fertilized with Epsom salt this year instead. It should be interesting to see the difference in growth, at least initially, until I can get my hands on my usual fertilizer. It seems that this year will be the year of gardening experiments for me, so going a more natural fertilizing route is on par. I bought Epsom salt a couple of years ago after reading a lot of people, including Martha Stewart, rave about Epsom salt & roses, but I never got around to using it. Looks like it’s my time to try it out. Maybe I’ll have a new favorite (& much cheaper) rose fertilizer?

rose pruning image
Sometimes you have to prune really hard.
rose bush picture
& sometimes you get to a prune a bush a little late. It’s all good. Prune away.

Well, there’s no time like the present to prune your own roses. Get suited up & get out there. Your roses will thank you!

Like this article? Read my rose reviews for the Elina Hybrid Tea Rose, Bewitched Rose & Barbra Streisand Rose.

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