When Do You Prune Roses?- Rose Pruning Answers

Last Updated on 29/08/2022 by Barney

A question that comes up weekly in our field of work ‘when do you prune roses?’

Rule number 1……

Do not be scared of pruning roses! they are incredibly resilient, tough  shrubs and really rather uncomplicated. We think people do not plant enough roses. In fashion one minute, out of fashion the next and then  the over complicated pruning instructions  littering websites. No wonder roses are not planted enough.

However not having a rose in the garden, is in our opinion a tragedy. What other plant  flowers repeatedly (variety dependant) from Spring until the first frosts?

Rule number 2…..

Use a pair of good quality sharp secateurs.

This makes pruning roses easier, more enjoyable and most of all leaves a clean cut. Leaving ragged cuts on rose stems could cause stem die back and introduce disease into the plant.

Rule number 3…..

Gloves, gloves, gloves!

Invest in  a decent pair of gloves if working on a thorned roses, especially climbers and ramblers.

When Do You Prune Roses?

Generally roses are pruned 3 times a year. Some groups differ and they will be highlighted later.

Autumn Pruning Roses…

to be carried  out in November.

This is not entirely essential as all you are doing is reducing the overall height of the plant to prevent damage by wind-rock. Just reduce the height of the stems by 6 – 12 inches. Remember though to make clean cuts in the stems

Winter Pruning Roses 

to be carried out mid February to mid March

This is largely dependant on where in the country you live in and the prevailing weather. If you prune lets say in December and the weather is warm the rose could start new growth. This would then get damaged cold weather and further frosts.

If you leave pruning later than March, say April then you will be wasting the plants energy by removing new, young growth.

a rose will show you when it needs to be pruned. Look up the most vigorous stems, when the growth buds start to swell about half way up the stem from the base of the plant it’s time to prune. 

Summer Pruning Roses

to be carried out during the flowering season

This is largely just the removal of faded flowers to promote further flowering if growing a repeat flowering variety of rose.

Year Round Pruning

Whenever you spot a dead or diseased stem, take it out to encourage new, vigorous growth.

So that’s it. nothing to be scared of. The job of pruning roses really is that simple.

External Resources

Royal National Society of Roses