The Q&A Archives: Pruning Roses

Question: When is the best time of year to prune roses in Yorktown Virginia ?

Answer: Pruning roses can be confusing because different varieties require different treatments. Most gardeners grow hybrid teas or grandifloras. You need to prune these more heavily to encourage bigger flowers. Here are the basics: In the early spring, remove the dead and damaged canes as far back as necessary. Then, remove any suckers that arise from below the graft union, if there is one (the swelling near the base of the plant). Next, select the healthiest canes (thicker and bright green) and cut off the rest. If your roses are just a couple of years old, save about 3-5 canes. Save more on older plants. Lastly, cut the flowering canes back by one-third to one-half. Make your cuts about 1/4" above an outward-facing bud. Another tip: When it's time for a bouquet, cut the stems just below the uppermost leaf with 5 leaflets. This will encourage better flowering.

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