Pruning Roses: When and How You Should Do It

Anyone who has had experience with roses knows that they aren’t the easiest of flowers to grow. The key is to prune them the correct way. With a little bit of patience and care, you should have a much easier time with this natural beauty. 

When to Prune


Why is pruning important? It helps to ensure that the rose grows healthy and strong. Your pruning should take place just after the last frost of spring. Depending on the climate in which you live, this could be either in the early months of the year or between the months of January and April.

How to Prune


To prune correctly, you want to snip away any dead wood, as this will make it easier for you to see the rose more clearly. We recommend seeking out a local rose garden to observe the way their roses are pruned.

This will give you a better idea as to how you need to care for your garden. With that being said, it’s important to locate the same type of roses that you have to ensure that you follow the proper guidelines.

All roses grow with a dormant bud. When pruning, always cut a ¼-inch above any dormant buds with a leaf axle. Additionally, you want to make sure that your cuts are at a 45-degree angle.

Start your cut on the outside of the cane, with your cut sloping downward and away. This is an important component to pruning, as it enables the rose’s sap to rise up and mend the fresh cut.

Any foliage that is visible on your rose bush will make it much easier for you to find the proper pruning location. If there is no foliage, simply locate the dormant bud by looking for the area that once had connecting foliage. This is done by finding the part of the cane that is swelled out.

You can repeat this pruning process on roses that you display in your home. It’s a good idea to sharpen your blades frequently to ensure that you always make the cleanest cuts.

Roses that are grown in colder climates are easier to prune come springtime. All you need to do is cut any dead wood that didn’t survive over the winter. This will promote healthier growth and ensure that your roses are vibrant and beautiful.

Conversely, warmer climates can be a little trickier. Depending on your desired outcome, there are three different ways to prune your roses. If you want bigger blooms, cut the rose’s canes down to where there are only three or four remaining. 

This is known as severe pruning. You won’t get quite as many blooms, but the ones you do get will be large and vibrant.

If you’re shooting for a larger bush, prune the canes to where there are anywhere between five and twelve left. Known as moderate pruning, this is a great way to thin out some canes while yielding more plants.

And finally, if you want to get as many flowers as possible, consider a light pruning. This equates to less than 1/3 of your plant being thinned out. 

Tools of the Trade


Selecting the proper tools makes all the difference in the life of your roses. Furthermore, you will find that having the right tools makes caring for your roses much more manageable.

Pruning Shears


In what is perhaps the most important tool you can invest in, the right pruning shears will ensure that you provide your roses with the best care possible. You want to avoid pruning shears that sport a flat blade. 

Even though the other blade is curved, shears with a flat blade will cause you to crush the rose’s stem rather than giving it with a clean cut. As such, you want pruning shears that have two curved blades.

We recommend spending more on this particular tool. We have found that higher-priced variants tend to last longer, cut better, and are easier to use. And if you’re a lefty, make sure that you invest in a pair of pruning shears that come with a grip that is specially designed for you.

If you’re new to pruning, you may feel a bit overwhelmed with all of your options. It’s pretty common to find several versions of the same tool. It all depends on what you’re looking for in your pruning shears.

There are some models that are equipped with special handles that don’t put as much strain on your wrists. These are typically shears with swiveling handles. 

If you have little ones running around, you might want to invest in a pair that comes with detachable blades. This makes storing the pruning shears not only easier, but safer, as well.

Additionally, there are special models that are designed for miniature roses. These mini versions allow you to prune these flowers much more efficiently.

Pruning Saw


Whereas pruning shears are made for snipping stems, pruning saws are designed to clear out canes. You shouldn’t need to research pruning saws as much as you do with pruning shears. 

The important thing here is that the saw needs to be sharp enough to provide a clean cut to the cane. This will ensure that the bud union is protected from potential damages.  

Lopping Shears


These are essentially pruners with really long handles. The key here is leverage. If you’re dealing with really thick canes, you’re going to need more power to ensure that you have an easier time cutting.



Since you’re going to be handling tools with sharp blades, you want to invest in a pair of gloves that can prevent cuts. There is a fine balance between comfort and protection.

Obviously, you want a stout pair of gloves that can protect your hands from accidental injury. At the same time, however, you want your gloves to gives you the freedom to use your tools unencumbered.

If possible, try out a few pairs before buying anything to ensure that you’re getting comfortable, safe, and protective gloves.

Once you have everything you need, you are ready to care for your roses. 


Why Is Pruning Important?


If you’ve never pruned before, it can be rather intimidating. It’s important to keep at it until you find your groove. You will eventually develop a system for taking proper care of your roses. 

It’s likely to be a slow process at first, but don’t give up. The health and appearance of your roses depend on you. Many people find pruning to be easier when they understand the “why” behind it.

So let’s explore the reasoning for pruning and why it is so vital to the life of your roses. This will serve to give you some direction as you begin the pruning process.




Depending on the type of rose you have, the pruning process can vary from flower to flower. If the roses are Modern, they require pruning to ensure that they remain tight and compact.

On the other hand, miniature roses tend to grow quite tall and need some help to keep them in line. You will often notice that once fall rolls around, your miniature roses are in desperate need of attention.

Heirloom roses are the least needy of rose types, requiring less pruning than others. What makes them so well-loved is, in fact, their twiggy appearance. If you are a beginner who is wanting to learn the ropes with roses, Heirlooms may be your best bet.

You will likely have a much easier time maintaining these types of roses as you learn to properly care for them over the seasons.




Regardless of the type of roses you have, removing dead canes is vital to their life. It is important to prune away any bad canes the moment you see them. Failure to do so can quickly result in weak, lifeless flowers.

We like to clear away any canes growing in the middle of the plant, as this promotes better circulation in the flower. 

Remember, the ultimate goal in pruning is to remove any part of the rose that is either diseased, damaged, or dead. This will allow your flowers to grow healthy and vibrant.




Newcomers may not be familiar with the natural growth of roses, but veteran green thumbs know all too well how quickly roses can get out of hand. While it’s true that certain types grow more wildly than others, it isn’t uncommon to find your roses big and open.

The more attention you can give your roses, the better they will look and last. Proper pruning will keep your plants from getting out of control, making their care much easier. Stay on top of your roses, and you should find them to be quite manageable.


In Summary


The only downside to roses is that they die rather quickly after they are cut for display. If you want to give roses as a gift, our Eternity® Roses will last a whole year! 

We have many arrangements to let that special person in your life know that you care. If you would like to gift just a single rose, our Florentina is a perfect choice. It comes in a beautiful glass vase for easy display.

You can choose from a variety of colors to ensure that you select the most suitable gift.