Roses are a wonderful addition to the garden. We have quite a few in our garden because they’re such a wonderful source of spring and summer colour. Most of our roses are planted in garden beds that are very close to the house. This means that we can see the beautiful blooms from inside the house all though the warmer months.
The sweet fragrance of some roses is also another reason that we like to keep our roses close to the house. They’re mostly placed in spaces where we can walk past them as we are coming and going from the house. So it’s easy to lean in and have a sniff as you’re going past and take in the glorious rose perfume!
While the colour and perfume of roses is a definite plus, one downside of having lots of roses is that they all need to be pruned! Pruning is important because it promotes new growth and also allows us to open up and shape the plant so that it stays healthy. A healthy, well pruned rose will produce big beautiful blooms!
Learning how to prune roses sounds quite daunting but it is not nearly as hard as it seems. I have been pruning the roses in our garden for five or six years now and I get more confident doing it each year. The more you experiment with your pruning the more you will learn how much each plant needs to be pruned and to what shape.
When to Prune Roses:
Pruning roses is generally carried out at two times of the year. The major prune is carried out during late winter and this is when dormant roses are pruned back quite hard. Roses can also be pruned during the warmer months to promote fresh blooms. This summer prune is much less radical and primarily involves deadheading old flowers and giving the rose bush a slight trim.
Some people like to carry out just one summer prune of their roses but I will try to keep deadheading and lightly trimming our roses to promote new flowers. I have found that the more you prune off the old flowers the more new flowers you will get!
Our roses have bloomed well into autumn when we have continued to lightly prune them and cut back old flowers.
How to Prune Roses:
Firstly make sure to use secateurs /cutters that are clean and sharp. This will allow you to make a clean cut and prevent any diseases spreading from other previously pruned plants.
I also recommend using gardening gloves you prune roses to avoid being spiked by thorns!
As mention earlier pruning roses in winter involves cutting the plant back quite significantly.
Winter rose pruning should be carried out in the later part of winter. I like to prune my roses in August (February in the northern hemisphere).
Firstly I try to open up the plant. This means trying to get as much air and light into the centre of the plant. To do this you need to prune off any branches that are growing inwards towards the middle of the plant. This will eliminate overlapping branches and the extra light/air at the centre of the plant will deter pests and diseases.
After removing any inward growing branches you need to cut all other branches to around half their pre-prune height.
Once again you want to encourage the plant to grow outwards rather than inwards so you will need to make a cut that is just above an existing outward pointing shoot.
Try to angle the cut so that any moisture will run off the cut rather than just sitting on top. This will help to prevent any moisture getting into the fresh cut and causing it to rot.
As the plant is actively growing all you need to do is give the plant a light prune to remove old flowers and encourage new blooms.
I usually cut my roses back by about twenty percent during mid to late summer. This allows me to tidy up the shape of the plant and stimulates it to flower for longer.
Also make sure to continuously prune off old flowers (or cut fresh ones to take inside) throughout the spring and summer. I find that this encourages the plant to produce more flowers.
As I mentioned earlier pruning roses initially seems quite daunting but it doesn’t need to be. I have no formal training but I’ve found that with some general reading and practice you can quickly become very confident with pruning roses!
Here are a couple of videos that I found which give some great tips on how to prune roses.
If you want to learn more about pruning roses why not to do some further reading using the links below!