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How to Prune Roses


As a garden enthusiast, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing your garden in bloom.  Here at the Wonderful Garden Company, a perfectly pruned rose bush is amongst our favourite sights, so if this is something you have never tackled or you are thinking of introducing them to your garden but you’re not sure how to maintain them?  Then just follow this simple guide which is packed full of hints and tips to achieve the perfect prune.   

Types of Roses 

Before we discuss how to prune, it’s a good idea to mention the different types of roses out there as each one requires slightly different treatment.

Climbing Roses

Also known as a rambler, a climbing rose makes a beautiful statement thanks to its vast coverage.  A climbing rose usually requires some form of support in order to flourish to its full potential, such as a wall, fence or trellis.  

When to prune a climbing rose

Mid to late winter is the ideal time to prune a climbing rose so we recommend between December and February.  Pruning during this time will encourage an abundance of late-season flowers.

How to prune a climbing rose

  • Start by removing any dead heads and foliage.
  • Then prune the oldest stems first or any that look past their seasonal best, cutting these back by a third or half, depending on desired growth and shape.
  • Steer clear of cutting the main cane as this is where the growth stems from so by cutting this back too far will prevent growth and ultimately flowering. 

Shrub Roses, Hybrid Teas and Floribunda Roses

These are the most common type of rose usually resulting in a mix of types.  Each of which is all pruned in a similar way. They are known for their large colourful blooms and a vast amount of flowers.   

When to prune Shrub Roses, Hybrid Teas and Floribunda Roses

Late winter into early spring is the ideal time to prune these roses when regrowth is about to begin.  The main aim with these roses is to create a beautiful shape resulting in a nice full bush as these will take pride of place in your borders.

How to prune Shrub Roses, Hybrid Teas and Floribunda Roses

  • The strongest stems should be shortened to around 6 to 8 inches from the base with the other stems shortened to around 4 to 6 inches from the base.  
  • Don’t forget to prune older stems right back from time to time to allow for a better regrowth.

General pruning tips

While some roses require specific attention there are lots of general tips that can be applied to any rose when it comes to pruning, so let’s look at these in more detail:

  • Feed your roses -  We recommend using a good fertiliser at the beginning of spring.
  • Prune according to position - Roses at the back of a border would require more height than those at the front of the border.
  • Cut away any dead leaves and stems - General rule is that anything brown is dead whereas green is living.
  • Cut on a downward slope away from the bud - This stops any water collecting in the bud.
  • Keep your pruning essentials sharp - This enables a good clean cut. A good pair of secateurs goes a long way.
  • Invest in a good pair of gardening gloves - Not only will they keep you protected from thorns and scratches but there are some fantastic designs out there too, after all, who says they have to be boring?!
  • Deadheading throughout the year will encourage new flowers to bloom, whatever the season.
  • Prepare for winter in autumn - Cut back any long stems, and don’t leave your roses top heavy to protect against frost and high winds.