Rose pruning - Knowledgebase Question

Chicago, Il
Question by ehfam4
January 28, 2010
I have an older rose plant in my yard which never seems to get larger even though I do get blooms evry year. I don't know the variety, but how do I prune it properly?

Answer from NGA
January 28, 2010


Roses bloom on new growth so pruning your rose bush will encourage lots of new growth and lots of flowers. Without seeing the shrub, it's difficult to offer pruning guidance but in general you can remove one half to two thirds of the plant without doing any harm. If this seems drastic to you, start by completely cutting out any dead canes. I wait until the leaf buds just begin to swell in the early spring so I can tell which canes are productive and which canes are dead. After removing the dead canes down to ground level, choose 5-7 healthy canes to keep and remove all the rest. You'll want your rose bush to have a vase shape when you've removed all the extra canes so make sure the ones you save are evenly spaced so your shrub doesn't end up looking lopsided. After you've removed all the extra canes, shorten the 5-7 canes you've kept. These can be cut back from a half to two thirds their length. In the spring new branches will develop along the saved canes and new flowers will form at the tips. To keep your shrub rose looking nice and producing well, prune off the spent flowers along with some of the stem. I cut back to a 5-leaflet leaf when I deadhead. New stems and new flowers will form just below the pruning cut. Hope this information is helpful!

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