Rose Pruning Advice

Rose Pruning Advice

Rose Pruning Advice 

Pruning of Roses is an area shrouded in mystery for many Gardeners seeming difficult with so many different types of roses, but nothing could be further from the truth, its very easy, as long as you get the timing right and leave some strong stems it's almost impossible to kill a rose, however hard back you cut a rose it will always bounce back! All that's required is one main pruning session a year in winter and regular summer deadheading in your garden to keep your roses looking great and for them to continue repeat flowering.

First thing to do is make sure you own a good quality pair of secateurs and gloves and buy before you need them, ready for when you venture out into the garden to tackle the growth of your roses.

Available through our website are the best gloves and secateurs on the market which we use at the Nursery and in Our Rose fields on a daily basis and are still going strong after many years of use, We highly recommend theses products which are well worth the investment.

Our Secateurs are Swiss made Felco Number 2 precision made from light weight steel, with soft rubber hard wearing handles and very sharp. The blades are set so that the remaining stems are left un-damaged and not bruised or crushed, leaving a nice clean cut which is less likely to die-back or become diseased. 

Our Gold Leaf Rose Gloves and Gauntlets are made from Deer Hide giving unbelievable fitting and comfort when used and most importantly excellent protection from those sharp thorns making pruning an enjoyable and stress free job! You need Gloves for normal pruning and deadheading of roses and Gauntlets for tackling big growth on Climbing and Rambling Roses offering additionnal protection for wrists and arms, available in Gents and Ladies sizes,  try to do your pruning and deadheading when foliage and stems are dry and your gloves will last even longer.



When you first receive our roses they will arrive with you already hand pruned when appropriate, so all you will need to do at the start is plant and watch them grow and come into flower, New growth on Climbing and Rambling Roses will need supporting, training and tieing in to trellis or wires and this information will be provided with the rose in our free Planting & After Care Guide.

Summer Dead Heading 

After the rose flower has finished blooming and the petals start to fall away the remaining flower head if pollinated will then start to form a round hip and seeds, the forming of hips on the modern roses we supply is something you don't want to encourage as leaving them on the rose then sends a message back to the rose that it's job is done for the year and there is no need for it to flower anymore that year and all the plants efforts will then be put into producing hips and seed. 

Cut these dead flowers off as soon as possible after flowering and the rose will then re-invigorate itself and re-shoot and re-flower, repeat this through summer and autumn and you will get up to 3 or 4 heavy flushes of flower from June to Hard Frosts on many of the varieties we supply and depending on the length and temperature of the summer.

Deadheading is easy, simply hold the old finished flower and prune off 2 or 3 leaves or 6 to 9 inches down to just above a leaf, the more leaves you leave the quicker the rose will re-flower as it will have more immediate energy, for roses with large heavy single flower heads and trusses make sure the stem you leave is at least the thickness of a pencil at the point of cutting, this will make the new shoot strong enough to support the flower head of the next rose flower helping to stop blooms from drooping. Put all your waste cuttings onto the bonfire or bin rather than discarding on the ground around your roses, this will help to keep them disease free.

Winter Pruning

This is an important job for roses, nearly all gardening books and so called TV Garden Experts tell you to do your main pruning in March, trouble is, this advice goes back to old books and information from a 100 years ago when winters were generally much harder, longer and colder and the Rose rootstocks used for propagating the roses onto much less hardy than the modern Rosa Laxa Rootstock used today buy most UK growers.

Most UK roses in March have long new shoots on them by this point, cutting them off in March will simply delay flowering for 4-6 weeks and lose you at least one flush of summer rose flowers.

There are a very small number of exceptions that require little or no pruning other than general shaping or removing dead wood, from our selections available we recommend that Weeping Standards, Ground Cover Roses, Patio Climbing Roses, Rambling Roses and Roses that only flower once a year on the previous years growth like Canary Bird, Helen Knight or Rambling Rector are treated this way with regard to pruning

So for all other roses in Midlands and South we strongly recommend Main Winter Pruning in November or December, For UK areas North of Midlands, we recommend Pruning in January to Early February. In March for all areas, re-check the roses you have pruned for any further winter stem die-back, and if any is seen simply cut this off below the brown stem to healthy wood just above a leaf.

Main Points of  Winter Pruning 

When you are hard winter pruning your roses these are points to consider and remember:

  • Pruning any Rose hard, is usually very beneficial and very unlikely to kill it.
  • Pruning a Rose back hard encourages completely new shoots from the base of the plant which will become main flowering branches in subsequent years.
  • If at the point of cutting the core of the wood in the centre of the stem is white, the rose is alive at this point, if the core is brown at the point of cutting the stem is dead and you need to cut the stem back further until you get to a white core, sometimes this can take you back down to the very base of the plant.
  • Where possible cutting back to thicker stems, minimum pencil thickness will promote new shoots strong enough to support the flowers and trusses in later months 
  • Although not essential, cutting the stems at a slight angle will help stop water sitting on the cut stems and help to prevent die-back problems.
  • Cutting dead, thin, weak and old stems out of the middle of the Rose Bush or Standard Head, creating an open airy structure and plant will help prevent disease problems through the season.
  • Dispose of your Rose Pruning Cuttings in the bin or on a bonfire, don't leave them laying around under your pruned roses long term or putting them on the compost heap as this will also encourage disease problems in the future.

Remember to also feed your roses twice a year in Spring and Mid Summer with a Granular Rose Feed such as Empathy After Plant Rose Food ( Roses in Containers 3 times a year) with a Granular Rose Feed which should also contain trace elements including Iron, Manganese and Boron. We also recommend 'Toprose'.

We recommend you winter prune the following different types of roses in the following way

Repeat Flowering Climbing Roses
These will need support using wires or trellis, Initially try to train the branches horizontally  to create a framework and help keep leaves and blooms lower down in later years, tie in new growth with soft string, after 2-3 years the rose should reach the desired height and once reached after flowering prune off to your desired height, in following years flowering side shoots will shoot off from the main branches you've left and these should be pruned back to 2" from the main stems every year during the winter. In later years, cut back at least one of the main stems to about 6 - 12" from the ground, this will encourage brand new basal shoots which you should then re-train as main flowering branches.

Patio Climbing Roses/Repeat Flowering Ramblers
These can be grown in an obelisk, on short pillars, arches and narrow trellis, simply tie in growth as it goes up, no hard pruning required other than pruning to desired shape, summer dead-heading of large numbers of tiny dead flowers and hips can be done more easily by lightly trimming the whole plant using hedge shears.

Traditional Rambling Roses
Just plant and let go, some initial support and tying in may be needed, Rambling roses can be left for many years without pruning, if the rose does get too big, cut back after flowering in summer as many ramblers flower on the previous years new growth otherwise leave the hips for a colourful autumn display..

English and Shrub Roses
Cut back all growth to around 60cm or 2ft in the winter.

Hybrid Tea & Floribunda Roses
Cut back all growth to around 30cm or 1ft in the winter.

Patio Roses
Cut back all growth to around 15cm or 6" in the winter.

Standard Roses
H.T and Floribunda: Prune top growth back to approx 25cm from main stem, Patio 15cm. Weeping Standards should only be lightly pruned to desired shape but always check for and remove any dead or diseased wood in the centre of the head.

Re-check your roses regularly for stem die-back and prune out any dead or diseased brown stems and wood immediately, allowing die-back to reach the very base of the rose plant or the main stem of a Standard Rose could well kill the rose completely or lead to the complete loss of a graft on a Standard Rose.


    Find Us

    Map of Postal Address

    Postal Address Only

    56 Spalding Road,
    PE12 7HG

    Tel. 01406 424 089
    Fax 01406 490 006

    Nursery Address

    Cackle Hill Farm,
    Boston Road North,
    PE12 8AG

    Visitors welcome by appointment


    Your Cart

    Sub-total: £32.88