Pruning Roses

Roses bring amazing color to your landscape from early summer to frost. Whether you enjoy cutting the long stemmed blooms of the Hybrid Tea roses, the bursting mass of color from Floribunda, Grandiflora, and Knock Out roses, or their multitudes of fragrances, the labor involved in caring for roses is well worth the reward! The FIRST RULE of growing healthy, vibrant roses, is PRUNING. Establishing a proper pruning routine will open up the plant, letting in light and air circulation, helping to discourage disease, and stimulate growth.

When roses are dormant (asleep and not producing new growth), nature provides the perfect environment for pruning. Typically in South Carolina, this occurs in January and February, when temperatures are low. Make sure you have the right tools for pruning – heavy duty ROSE GLOVES for protection from thorns, and most important… good, clean, sharp  CLIPPERS. These items, as well as a handy SHARPENING TOOL, are available in Wingard’s Gift Shoppe.


Hybrid Teas, Floribundas, and Grandifloras:
• First, prune out dead or diseased growth, then any branches that rub together.
• Young plants should be further pruned to about four canes, by removing weaker canes. Established plants can be allowed 8 or more canes.
• Prune remaining canes back to about one-third original height.
• Remove any suckers growing from the roots of the old plant.

Knock Out Roses:
• Don’t prune Knock Out roses after their first growing season. Give them a second growing season to establish shape and fullness. During the following dormant season, remove any dead branches, as well as branches growing sideways.
• Shape as necessary.
• Rather than making a straight cut across the top of the bush, make cuts at different levels throughout the body of the plant, and cut ends of “leggy” branches.

Climbing Roses:
• Don’t prune a climbing rose for 2-3 years and then only cut lateral branches. Never cut the main canes.

In General…

In the dormant season, when pruning, It is important to make a clean cut on canes at a 45-degree angle, sloping downward TOWARD the bush.

During the growing season, prune frequently by cutting just above 5-leaf leaflets, to encourage repeat blooming.

For a video going into detail about pruning roses, click here.

There’s always something blooming at Wingard’s!