It may seem a bit unnerving the first time you prune a rose bush, as it feels like you’re killing it… cutting off its leaves, turning it into topped, naked sticks… but trust me, it’s good for ‘em! And, if you are wary of your rose pruning skills, we’ve got you covered.
Roses are finicky, right? How do I prune them?
February is rose pruning time. We like to get going on this task as soon as Valentine’s day rolls around, because this is the time when roses are most likely to be fully dormant. Pruning your roses each year will keep your plants more vigorous, producing more blooms, and less likely to have mildew/fungal issues. How does one properly prune a rose bush?
For starters always have clean and sharp pruners at the ready, cleaning with rubbing alcohol when moving from plant to plant so as not to spread potential disease. The goal when pruning your rose bush is to create an open, vase-like shape, directing growth out from the center of the plant, allowing for maximum light and air flow. So, start by snipping away canes that are growing towards the center of the plant and removing any dead, damaged, or diseased wood. Then cut off about a two thirds, to a half of the plant’s height.
When making these cuts, cut at a forty five degree angle just above a bud that is pointing away from the plants center, which will encourage the plant to grow in this outward direction. When you’re done, now is also a good time to feed your roses with either compost or fertilizers.