How-To Video: Pruning a Rose Bush

Pruning roses is easy—they’re such tough plants that you can’t really hurt them. It’s pretty hard to “over prune” a rose. So be brave—and wear some rose gloves!

Product Update: We are proud to carry Dr. Earth products. The product featured in this video has been replaced with Dr. Earth Total Advantage Rose & Flower organic fertilizer.


Tools needed

    • Gauntlet gloves – leather gloves with leather arm protectors
    • Sharp, clean pruner
    • For large rose stems (and large bushes), long-handled pruners

Simple principles

    • Roses bloom on new (current season’s) growth, so you want to encourage lots of new growth by pruning
    • Remove dead, damaged, or diseased branches
    • Remove branches that cross each other or rub against each other
    • Open up the center of the bush (roses like heat and sun in the center of the plant)
    • Shape the plant
    • Reduce the size of the plant
    • Promote new, flowering branches
    • Make cuts 1/8 to ¼ inch away from a branch or ABOVE leaf nodes, not more not less
    • Cut at a 45-degree angle

Getting Started

    • Remove dead/damaged branches
    • Open up center, removing crossing branches
    • Reduce size by at least 1/3 or more
    • Reducing entire bush to 12- to 18-inches tall will plants compact and tidy—but not necessary
    • Remember to cut about 1/8 inch above a leave node
    • Step back and assess: is the plant well-balanced? If not, prune to balance

Climbing Roses

    • Same principles as above, except:
    • Leave main, sturdy, arching canes
    • Prune branches growing off main canes leaving only five to seven leaf nodes.
    • Prune 1/8 inch above leaf nodes
    • Support main canes coming from ground level by tying with sturdy plastic plant tie.

When do I feed?

    • Once new growth is about two inches long, feed with Dr. Earth Total Advantage Rose & Flower Fertilizer.
    • Then, after each blooms cycle. (Approximately every eight weeks.)
    • Remember, blooms take a lot of energy to produce, so roses need a lot of food!