What I know about Roses: Pruning Time


I will admit that I am definitely a novice in the Rose growing department. 

Take for example Summer 2012/13. I was actually chopping the poor plants right back when I was supposedly just meant to be de-heading at this time of year. I can't say that I was really paying attention to where I was chopping them or if I was doing it with any kind of method. In fact, I think it would be classed as more like a real good hack job.

Because of this I feel I may have actually set them back a tad as far as their shape and growth goes, but slowly and now with my increasing knowledge and some TLC they are back in force and I am confident that they can only continue to look better as I get better and learn more about pruning them, feeding them and just generally looking after them.

I was chatting to my neighbour last month and noticed that her roses has already been pruned and I casually mentioned to her that I thought it was way too early to prune in May.
She told me her sister had visited from Geelong and had pruned them for her. Apparently the guest speaker at her local garden club was a researcher of roses and had told them that May is now the best time to prune before the winter frosts set in. Interesting!

My neighbour didn't go into details here but I assume that the studies have revealed a correlation between the time of pruning and winter frosts. Whether this is better growth or a reduction in their susceptibility to disease and pest attack is yet to be known here, but the frost has a lot to answer for it would seem. 

Now I don't mind the odd gardening experiment, and although we are well past May and not quite July Im going to prune earlier this year and put this pruning theory to the test.

Today Im going to share with you my very simple tips on how to prune your roses. I haven't killed mine yet so you are going to have to just trust me on this one and follow away. 

(FYI: The rose bush in the pics is a newby and whilst thin and on the small side it still flowered for me and did ok over summer in the heat. I am working on getting it and the others to grow and look a bit stronger but I have it competing with a big Plane tree in the front yard too that sucks the life out of the soil so Ill blame it for now...)


Go hard or go home is the best way to describe how much to prune off. 

You need to cut off at least 1/3 -1/2 of the bush. I love a good chopping and I know its good for the roses so I cut at least 1/2 off.

It may seem like too much, especially if its one of your favourites, but I can tell you that roses are very hardy and they will shoot like wildfire once again which is what you want. Pruning really does assist the plant to reduce disease, increase air circulation and to let in more light; all of which are essential for beautiful blooms.


Once you have your 1/2 plant estimate sorted, and just before you chop have a look at where the new growth buds are situated on the stems. You need to prune so that you have outward facing buds under the pruning line and the stems should be cut off at a 45 degree angle. 

I got the kids involved at this point as they always love helping and they loved using the secateurs and chopping away. 


Next have a birds-eye peek into the middle of the plant.  

Can you see any really old stems, these will look warty and crinkly, as well as any stems that are growing in towards the middle of the rose bush? 

If yes, then you need to remove these and do this by cutting them right back at the base of the plant. 
This opens up the plant and assists with circulation and by chopping off the old stuff it encourages the rejuvenation of new growth.

What you are aiming for is a shape, what I like to think of as nature's version of a vase. All the stems should be coming outwards and upwards from the base forming like a V shape, with an empty space in the middle. Get the picture?

The next thing is to propagate and tidy up.

I would recommend throwing unused stems in the bin rather than the compost as this reduces the risk of spreading fungal diseases into your soil and as for propagating, just take your cuttings and grow more of your favourites. 

I will tell you right now that it is very handy to have some cutting powder as part of your gardening repertoire in the shed. You can use this for all cuttings, and all you do is you just dip the end of your cuttings in, fill up one of your favourite pots with some potting mix and stick it in. Simple.

Within a month or two placed in a nice warm, sunny spot with a bit of water you will see shoots in no time at all.
Watch those babies grow!

 Here's one I prepared earlier and was a cutting I took from Cam's pops place at the end of summer. Not bad! I will be planting it out in the garden in Spring.

As mentioned I have remembered and learnt a lot since I started growing a few roses in my garden, but I always like to check my facts and correct them if need be. I wouldn't want to be blamed for the death of your roses now would I? 
So being the huge fan of Gardening Australia that I am, I have referred to a few magazine issues as well as this link from the website, just in case. 

What are your rose pruning tips and do you feed yours after you prune them? Tell me what I have missed.
Ill be tackling the Aphids next.

Thanks for visiting today
Elisha x

Im joining in today at Cooker and A Looker with the 'Im Pinning Around' link party...

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