If you’re fairly new to growing roses, you may have heard about rose pruning and wondered why you would need to cut your roses annually. After all, roses seem like hardy plants that grow perfectly well without much interference from you. And though that is mostly true, proper rose bush maintenance ensures that your plants will continue to grow optimally and last much longer. Find out why you need to cut roses back and how it’s done.
Before we dive into how to cut roses to grow, it helps to understand why it’s important to prune your plants. Pruning is actually just one in a series of small maintenance tasks to ensure that your plants continue to grow well and last longer. So why cut roses?
Firstly, you’ll want to control the size of your rose bush and make sure it doesn’t get out of hand. Proper rose maintenance is not just about looks though; it’s mostly about keeping your plants happy and healthy.
When a rose branch is cut off, the plant will produce auxin, which is a plant hormone that promotes the growth of new stems and offshoots. We prune roses in order to encourage further growth. Cutting roses also removes unhealthy parts of the plant, which makes way for healthy flowers to grow.
Most gardeners cut their roses in February or March. It’s a good idea to wait until the end of the frosty season before you start pruning. Most plants, not only roses, tend to be pruned just ahead of spring when they will start blooming again.
But there are some types of roses that need to be pruned a little earlier. Climbing roses, for example, are best cut back during the late autumn months or early winter. Rambling roses are preferably cut during late summer after the bloom has died down.
Pruning roses isn’t too difficult. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Gardening or pruning shears
- Long gardening gloves that are thorn proof
- Rubbish bag or garden can
Once you’ve put on your gloves, use the gardening shears to make a cut at about a quarter of an inch above a rose bud. Avoid going much higher than this as plants can find it hard to produce new growth from this stem.
It’s best to cut stems at a 45-degree angle. This encourages growth while keeping the plant open for air circulation. At the same time, it avoids rainwater collecting on top of the bud eye. That’s important because moisture build-up could make the plant prone to fungal disease and other infestations.
You’ll want there to be plenty of air reaching the plant, so it’s best to also remove dead stems and twigs cluttering up healthy branches. While you’re pruning the stems, remove the dead twigs and canes.
When you’re deadheading your roses, you’re basically removing faded flowers. This ensures that all the energy is redirected to the stems and away from the dying flowers. Deadheading not only serves the purpose of keeping your flowers healthy, it also ensures that your rose bushes will look a little tidier. Simply snip off a flower head at about 6 inches down the stem.