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How to Prune Roses: The Two Best Methods

If you’re lucky enough to own a rose bush, you’ve likely been able to enjoy its beautiful blooms this spring. But, if you’ve never owned a rose bush or spent much time in the garden, you might be wondering about how to keep your rose bush looking its best.

One of the most common ways to keep your rose bush filled with gorgeous blooms is to prune it. Down here on our sunny Florida farm, we actually prune our rose bushes all year round. Since they can thrive even in the winter, we can prune them more often. But, depending on your climate, you might only prune your roses once per year. 

When to prune your rose bush?

The best time to prune your roses will usually be early spring or late winter. This period of the year is when new growth begins so by pruning your roses at this time, you’ll be even more likely to experience a full, healthy rose bush. 

That being said, if you live in a cooler climate, there’s a chance you might not even be able to begin pruning before May. For example, in Colorado, it’s best to prune rose bushes in late April to early May.

But, as always, we also suggest doing your own research about the weather in your area to make sure you don’t prune your rose bushes too early.

What do you need to prune your rose bush?

Now that you know when to prune your rose bushes, it’s time to learn what you’ll need to prune your rose bushes. Depending on how you’re pruning your roses, all you might need is a pair of gloves.

Rose bushes are known to be thorny so you’ll just want to find a pair of gloves that are thick enough that you won’t get pricked. 

Besides gloves, a pair of pruning shears can also come in handy. You won’t need anything too heavy duty since rose stems aren’t too hard to cut through. But, generally a pair of Bypass pruners will be best because they’ll cut through the stem without crushing it. 

Why should you prune your rose bush?

If you’re a new gardener, you might be wondering why it’s important to prune your rose bush. Above all, most people prune their rose bushes in order to keep them healthy. You should always cut off all parts of the rose bush that are diseased, damaged, or dead in order to prevent further damage.

Besides that, pruning certain stems can provide air circulation to the bush, which can help decrease chances of your bush developing mildew or fungus.

As rose bush farmers, we pride ourselves on our rose bushes like our lovely Pink Floribunda Rose not only for its health, but also for its beauty. One way we ensure a bounty of blooms every spring is by pruning. Pruning can help your rose bush produce even more blooms and create a balance of blooms and foliage.

Different Ways to Prune Your Rose Bushes

After learning about some of the benefits of pruning your roses, you might be getting impatient to know some of the two best methods to prune your rose bushes. But don’t worry, you don’t have to wait much longer.

We’re now going to dive into two of our favorite ways to prune roses: deadheading and hard pruning. 


Deadheading is a type of pruning where you remove the dead/dying blooms in order to encourage further blooms and improve the appearance and shape of the rose. We suggest deadheading flowering shrubs like roses that can flower multiple times.  

To deadhead your roses all you have to do is pinch or cut off the finished flower, just below where the base of the flower joins the stem. You can also remove the entire flowering head by cutting the stem just above the first leaf with five leaflets, but this is normally for when all of the roses on the same flowering head are dead or dying. Check out the video below to see how we deadhead our roses. 

Hard pruning

Hard pruning on the other hand works wonderfully for roses growing in harsher conditions. In climates with wind, snow, and ice, hard pruning before winter can help protect them from harsh conditions. Hard pruning also works well for repeat blooming roses. 

With heavy pruning, roses can sometimes be cut back until they are only 4 to 5 inches of canes about the ground. It can feel scary, but you’ll be surprised how hard pruning can completely refresh an older rose bush. 

It also works wonderfully for reviving and rejuvenating a sick or neglected rose bush.  Heavy to moderate pruning is best for repeat blooming roses such as hybrid tea roses and floribundas during the spring. In areas that receive winter weather, complete with wind, snow and ice, roses are pruned back heavily to protect them from harsh conditions. 

Overall, gardening and pruning is a skill that is perfected over time. So, read up all you can, but remember that each time you prune is a learning experience and you’ll get better and better as the seasons go on. 

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