Man pruning a rose plant.

How to Prune Roses

Modern floribunda and hybrid tea roses benefit from hard pruning to encourage new flowering shoots, while shrub roses require relatively gentle treatment. Pruning also helps control the disease blackspot.

Floribunda roses

Also known as cluster-flowered roses, floribundas produce flushes of blooms through summer and early autumn. Compact dwarf floribundas are also called patio roses, and can be grown in pots. In early spring, remove dead, diseased, and crossing stems. Prune the other stems to outward-facing buds 8–12 in (20–30 cm) from the ground using sloping cuts.

Examples of floribunda and patio roses: ‘Arthur Bell’, ‘English Miss’, ‘Fellowship’, ‘Fragrant Delight’, ‘Pretty Lady’, ‘Princess of Wales’, ‘Remembrance’, ‘Sunset Boulevard’, ‘Sweet Dream’, ‘Tall Story’, ‘Trumpeter’.

Hybrid teas

These are large-flowered roses, with some varieties that repeat bloom, although they produce just one flower per stem. Prune in early spring, removing dead, diseased, and crossing stems. Cut the oldest stems to the ground, and shorten the remainder to 6 in (15 cm) from the base. In late autumn reduce their height by one third to prevent root damage caused by wind rock.

Examples of tea roses: ‘Alexander’, ‘Blessings’, ‘Deep Secret’, ‘Elina’, ‘Ingrid Bergman’, ‘Just Joey’, ‘Lovely Lady’, ‘Paul Sherville’, ‘Savoy Hotel’, ‘Tequila Sunrise’, ‘Troika’, ‘Warm Wishes’.

Shrub and species roses

Usually flowering once on wood made in previous years, these should be pruned lightly in early spring. Thin out congested stems to improve air flow, and remove dead, weak, damaged, or diseased wood. Also prune some of the oldest stems to ground level. Cut main stems back by a quarter and slightly reduce side shoots by a few inches. These roses often grow quite tall and benefit from being cut back by a third in late autumn to prevent root damage caused by wind rock.

Examples of shrub and species roses: ‘Blanche Double de Coubert’, ‘Boule de Neige’, ‘De Resht’, ‘Fantin-Latour’, ‘Graham Thomas’, ‘Louise Odier’, ‘Madame Isaac Pereire’, ‘Madame Pierre Oger’, ‘Maiden’s Blush’, Rosa gallica ‘Versicolor’, ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’, ‘William Lobb’.