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When should I prune my roses?

The best time to prune roses depends on the type of rose.

  • When to prune newly planted roses - Whatever the type of rose it should be pruned hard when it is first planted. This prevents them from becoming leggy and ungainly plants later in their life. We recommend that shrub, climbing, rambling and procumbent roses are reduced to about four buds on each stem and modern roses to three.
  • When to prune modern bush roses - All modern bush roses produce their flowers on the current season’s growth. Pruning should be done in February / March. Prune all stems down to 5 – 7 buds from the base of the plant. Remove all weak, damaged, and diseased wood.
  • Pruning once flowering shrub roses - In many cases, it is not necessary to prune summer flowering shrub roses. They will make attractive plants without much attention other than to remove any dead, diseased, or chafed branches. Since they flower on wood produced in the previous season, if pruning is required, it is best carried out after flowering. 
  • Pruning repeat flowering shrub roses - On these types flowering occurs on the current season’s growth. Pruning is best carried out from February to March. Remove growth that is overcrowded. Reduce some of the younger stems by a third, others can be cut back further. A light pruning can be done when deadheading in the summer.
  • Pruning procumbent roses - Probably most of the pruning will be confined to removing tangled growth and tidying.
  • Pruning climbing roses - Pruning goes hand in hand with training. Stems should be tied in a horizontal direction to encourage new flowering growth. A lateral stem will produce more flowering shoots along its length if it is trained as near to horizontal as possible. As the plant becomes older a pattern of pruning can be developed.  By leaving young stems long and reducing older stems by about a third. The aim is to keep the plant as full of younger wood as possible. Removal of old and woody stems needs to be done when exhausted and less productive.
  • Pruning rambling roses - Ramblers will often produce long, flexible branches from ground level. These are NOT suckers but will produce next year's flowers. Prune the older wood and leave as many young shoots as possible. Pruning should be done in late summer immediately after flowering. Some Ramblers require occasional pruning and are often better left to their own devices.

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The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas

Plant Centre Development The Rosarium restaurant and new plant house at our Garden Centre in Attleborough, Norfolk were part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and officially opened May 2019