Bonica rose - Knowledgebase Question

Name: Joan Genaw
Philadelphia, Pe
Question by jmgenaw
April 5, 2010
I just inherited a 25+ years old Bonica rose (tag reads Bonica Meidomonac)in my new home. This thing is a MONSTER. I have researched it online and it's supposedly a 4'shrub rose but this thing is at least 6' tall with a main trunk at least 6

Answer from NGA
April 5, 2010


The good news is that Bonica Meidomonac is considered an own-root shrub rose rather than a grafted rose. I say this because grafted roses that are left to their own resources can sometimes be overtaken by the more vigorous growth of the rootstock. With your rose, all the canes are Bonica which means you can prune it back hard without fear of losing the more delicate grafted part of the shrub. What you've done is a good first step. You can reduce the size of the plant by about one third without harming it. I'd cut everything down by two feet and then reach into the center of the plant and remove some of the older canes. Depending upon how many there are, you might end up with 5-7 vigorous canes (more if there are dozens of sturdy canes growing from the base of the plant). Once you've thinned out the canes you can selectively remove any thin stems and branches (anything thinner than a pencil). Step back and look at your rose. You can make it look a bit more natural if you now prune the remaining canes at random levels. New growth will develop below your pruning cuts so try to make cuts just above an outward facing bud, in the direction you want the growth to take. You can always prune it back more next year if it is still too large for the planting spot. Best wishes with your rose!

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