Pruning Different Kinds Of Roses

As we all are aware that there are various different types of roses, so are there different pruning techniques. This section deals with the different pruning methods that are suitable for specific types of roses.

Floribundas, grandifloras and hybrid teas

After you have pruned grandifloras, floribundas and hybrid teas and got rid of the dead, diseased, weak, damaged or additional canes, you should choose only three to four new and most robust canes and allow them to remain on the plant. Remove the remaining canes along with their bud unions with pruning shears or, if necessary, using a saw. Once you have accomplished this, trim the canes left on the floribundas and hybrid teas to a height of anything between 12 inches and 18 inches just higher than the bud union. In the case of grandifloras, you should cut the canes somewhat higher. If you are using floribundas as hedges, you can afford to leave five or six canes on the plant and prune them to a height of about 24 inches (60 cm) to allow the plant to grow more compact and taller. This will also encourage the floribundas to bear additional blooms.


Ideally, you should prune miniatures to roughly half their eventual height during the summer. You can allow as many as six canes to remain on the plants even after pruning them. In fact, the plants will be fuller depending on the number of canes you leave on them.

If you are growing roses in decorative containers, you need to prune them in a manner that they have the right proportion to the container's size, especially when the plants are in full bloom. Going by this, your roses may require shorter or more pruning compared to what is usually suggested.


Climbers only produce blooms on old wood and, hence, they need to be pruned in a rather different way compared to the bush roses. Climber need to be pruned at the start of spring when the plants continue to be in their dormant stage or may have just begun new growth. You should cut away the dead or damaged canes only. In addition, you may also remove the canes that are either too long or undesirable. Any other type of pruning should be undertaken only after the plant has produced its first flush of flowers. This is necessary to ensure that you don't get rid of any flower bud while pruning the plant. In fact, this aspect is vital for the climber roses that only flower once annually. On the other hand, you can undertake heavy pruning of the climbers that produce repeated flowers. This heavy pruning should be a second pruning and undertaken only if the plants have been pruned appropriately after their first flush of flowers. Ideally, you should cut away the oldest canes from the point of the bud union with a view to leave sufficient space for new growths. In addition, you may also thin down any dense growth during the second pruning of the plant.

If you cut back the withered flowers immediately after they fade it will invigorate some climbers to produce blooms once again during the summer. If this is not done, these climbers may not produce the repeat blooms. It has been found that climbers that are trained to grow along a trellis or a fence usually produce more blooms. These plants also produce heavy blooms provided their cane ends grow down in the direction of the ground. When the climbers grow pointing towards the ground, it helps to produce additional laterals. As the climbers grow new canes, you need to train them in a manner that they develop pointing towards the ground. For this to happen, you should fasten the plants to their support using strings, twist-ties or cords.

Shrub roses and old garden roses

Unless the old garden roses as well as shrub roses, counting the species roses, are overgrown, they do not require any pruning. At the onset of every spring, cut away any dead wood, and weak or damaged stem. You should only prune these roses to control their size or keep the plant in good shape. Depending on the available space, you should keep the plant as large as possible. At the same time, try to ensure that the plant retains its natural look. If you need a heavy pruning, do it during the beginning of summer of once the plants have completed flowering, subject to the type of rose you are growing.

In fact, the canes of several types of old garden roses, especially centifolias, moss roses and albas, are supple as well as quite long and you can easily bend them over and fix them to the ground. When you do this, it helps you to control the plants more easily and also make them appear bushier. At the same time, pinning the plants to the ground promotes the development of new canes from the plant's base (also called basal breaks). Often, the canes develop roots at the juncture where they are pinned to the ground. Once the new plants develop, you can allow them to grow at the same place or transplant them elsewhere.


Similar to several shrub roses and old garden roses, the polyanthas are resilient plants and rarely fall victim to winterkill. Hence, these plants can be pruned in the same manner as the old garden roses and species roses, but not in the way you prune grandifloras, floribundas and hybrid teas. In case the plants have not become dense or unkempt, simply spruce them to get rid of the old, injured or diseased canes. On the other hand, the overgrown polyanthas should be pruned at the onset of spring. Ideally, such plants should be cut back to roughly half of their earlier height. Cut away the oldest canes, leaving the plants as somewhat luxuriant.

Tree roses

While tree roses are usually pruned similar to the pruning required for modern bush roses, the pruning needs to be balanced to make them look most attractive. The canes should be pruned roughly 12 inches further than the bud union at the trunk top. It is important that you take utmost care and effort to ensure that the canes to remain uniformly spaced in the region of the plants. It will be sufficient to allow anything between four and six canes on each tree rose to make them look fuller as well as attractive.

Pruning the new rose

A robustly growing young rose that has been handled properly possesses a healthy root system including plentiful small, delicate roots and many strong stems that are packed with nutrients necessary for the plant's growth in the subsequent season. When you plant a young rose like this in a good soil and water it properly, it will have an excellent growth and generally need just a modest pruning after planting.

However, the problem is that most of the roses one purchases from nurseries are generally not fed properly. In addition, such plants are grown in inferior condition and even dug out sloppily using any machine set at inappropriate digging depth. What is worse is that such plants may even be left to dry out while they are transported from the nursery to the gardeners.

After receiving the plants, soak them in water for about 12 hours, but never keep them immersed for over 24 hours. Next, cut away any dead wood and the top stems, leaving just a few buds. Since the roots of such plants will be absorbing water very slowly, the buds are unlikely to receive sufficient water supply. In such a situation, the top stems will die and this may often cause the entire plant to die. On the other hand, when the plant concentrates its entire energy just to a small area near the root system, it can supply adequate water and nutrients to these parts and ensure their rapid growth.

When you are pruning the new roses, ensure that the cuts you make help the last bud on the stem to grow outward. In case you allow any inward facing bud to remain on the plant, it is likely that they will result in the growth of crossed branches, which will require pruning once more afterward. Ensure that your cuts slope a little away from the bud. In addition, you need to make the cuts quite close to the buds to ensure you do not have any dead stub that may become polluted by canker. At the same time, be careful not to cut very near the buds, as this may often cause the buds to become desiccated. Ideally, the cuts should be made about 1/8 inch close to the buds.

Prior to planting your roses and cutting back any dead wood, scrutinize the plants, especially the roots, carefully. If you find that any root of the plant is torn or ragged at the end, cut it away instantly. However, be careful not to prune the roots excessively or cut away anything that is not damaged or diseased. Remember, more roots means more absorption of water and nutrient from the soil and this will help the plant to recover quickly from the shock of transplantation.

Pruning older roses

Hardy or resilient roses generally denote the shrub roses. Several shrub type roses grow robustly and become a permanent part of landscaped gardens. This plant will survive and produce flowers for several years. When these roses grow older, they slowly become compact plants and turn out to be extremely dense. In fact, they may give rise to plants, which are actually empty shells. The plants become so dense that very little light reaches their center. Consequently, there is hardly any new growth inside the bush, while the branches on the outside have fresh growth every time.

While you are pruning older, hardy roses, your main task is to make these bushes thinner to allow light to pass through the external canes and reach the innermost spot of the plants. Precisely speaking, pruning hardy or shrub roses is an continuing process that commences when the plants are young and takes place at least once every year. There may be occasions when, as a gardener or pruner, you may have to handle a shrub rose that has not been attended to for a prolonged period and needs to be revitalized. In the worst instance, you may be required to get rid of a plant and maybe replace it with a new plant or unearth a portion of the neglected plant and deal with it as you would with a new and small plant. In case you want to retain the plant, you should start by cutting away its older canes. In fact, this may prove to be an arduous task and you may require strong pruning shears with long handles, a sharp pruning saw and gloves that are quite thick.

When pruning the older canes, cut them down to the level of the ground. In case that plant is a huge one, it is advisable that you prune some canes in one year and leave the remaining canes for pruning in the subsequent year. As you thin the shrub, light will begin to penetrate the inner parts of the plant and encourage new growth. Such new growth will be producing more flowers compared to the older growth. Once you have pruned the older canes, you need to trim the plant from its top and preferably lessen the height of the rose step by step. This may possibly not be achieved in one year, but will take some years for you to bring a large plant to the desired size and shape. It has been seen that even when you cut some roses almost to the ground level, they generally spring back to develop into an attractive bush. However, you need to keep in mind that doing so may even kill the plant, especially if you are dealing with species like Rosa foetida or any of its numerous hybrids.


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