Roses love a good haircut and a healthy diet. Pruned and fed roses produce almost twice as many flowers as roses that have been neglected.
Pruning may seem tricky, but don’t worry about making mistakes. It’s hard to kill a rose with bad pruning. Plus, regular feeding improves overall health, so flowers bloom more and are better able to resist diseases and pests.
Prune Roses in 8 Easy Steps:
- Decide if you want to shape the plant, thin it out or get rid of dead branches.
- Wear long, heavy gloves. Start from the bottom and work your way up. Prune less in the beginning. You can always go back and cut more and most goofs grow back just fine.
- Remove dead, black, shriveled, diseased or broken wood.
- Prune thick branches, called canes, with long-handled loppers.
- Make cuts on a 45 degree angle, about ¼” above buds that face outward.
- For hybrid tea roses, those with one bloom per stem, leave only 3-5 canes and prune 6-8”. For floribundas, roses with many flowers per stem, leave 8-10 canes, pruned 8-12”.
- Use bypass pruners for canes as big around as a pencil. Remove twigs or branches that cross or rub against each other.
- Cut off suckers, the stems that sprout from the roots.
Prune Shrub Roses in One Step:
Shrub roses, such as ‘Knock Out’, can be pruned with electric hedge trimmers. Remove about one-third of the growth, and you’re done.
Feed Roses to Get More Blooms:
- Pick a rose fertilizer that contains a balanced mixture of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). All-in-one fertilizers control pests and diseases. Time-release granular fertilizers add nutrients over several months.
- Lightly water the base of the plant.
- Follow directions for amount to apply.
- Feed every 4-6 weeks, or as directed.
- Water thoroughly after fertilizing.
Roses bloom even more if you cut off flowers as they fade.