The Q&A Archives: How to prune roses

Question: Our roses were all new last year, they did better than we expected, but we are new at this and it will be our first time to prune. We'd appriciate any info, pictures or diagrams on

Answer: Rose pruning is fairly straightforward. Pruning encourages new stem growth and new blossoms, so you'll want to prune your roses even if they don't actually go dormant.

The best time for you to prune your roses is in February, before spring weather arrives. The hybrid teas shouldhave only 3-5 good strong canes coming from the graft area. Begin by selectively removing anything that is really thin and grows straight up. Suckers like these are non-blooming. The remaining canes should be some distance from one another and look like a vase; open in the center, with canes extending from a central point all around. Then cut the canes back to 12-18 inches of the graft. New wood will form on the canes, and new stems will produce new blossoms.

The floribundas grow more vigorously and produce many new canes and stems each year. They have a tendency to be dense growers and some people use them as hedges. Cut back the previous season's growth by about one-fourth and leave as many of the strong canes and stems as possible. You'll be rewarded with many small blossoms over a long season.

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