When to prune rose bushes and how to do it

Pruning is one of the fundamental tasks for any rose lover. The flowering of the following year depends on it and, therefore, when to prune rose bushes usually raises many doubts. A logical concern since nature leaves us the responsibility of seeing how, with the following spring, our plant is filled with flowers. It will depend on our good work with pruning and the moment in which we do it that our rosebush will bloom properly. A compelling reason to know in depth when to prune rose bushes. And, what is even more important, how to do it at all times and according to the type of rosebush.

The rose bush is a rustic plant that generally requires little care to keep it alive. But be careful: for it to flourish properly, we have to pay more attention to it. Let us remember that the act of flowering supposes an energetic wear for the plants. One that only those who are healthy and strong can face. Something that, again, is our responsibility. If we are rigorous with both when to prune rose bushes and with the care of the rose bush in winter, we will enjoy a rose bush full of roses in the sunny months. It is well worth learning more about your needs!

So let’s see what dates of the year we have to mark on the calendar. And, above all, how we have to prune rosebushes according to each moment.


Far from being a secondary task, pruning rose bushes is vital for the plant. Not only do its flowers depend on it, both in number and size. It also depends on maintaining your poise and vitality. Two very important points for your well-being, and two good reasons to know when to prune rose bushes to benefit our plant.

Before we see those important moments of the year, let’s know something. The age of the plant influences when to prune rose bushes. If we have young specimens, the ideal is to leave the scissors still at first. And the reason is easy to understand. If we have followed the steps of how to plant a rosebush correctly, our plant will need at least a year to take root and grow its root system. The same time we will have to wait before pruning, to prevent this maintenance task from being detrimental to its growth.

With this point understood, let’s see the two important times of the year to prune rose bushes:

1. February pruning, the classic when to prune rose bushes

It is, perhaps, the best known pruning for plant lovers. Although it is called the February pruning, it is usually done in March and the reason is subject to a weather phenomenon: frost. February marks, generically, the end of winter. However, this date is somewhat unique since, only when the nights begin to be less cold, we can carry out this task.

Rushing when to prune rose bushes is dangerous at this time of year. It could mean that the flower buds would freeze, thus ruining any chance of blooming. But it is not the only thing that can happen. In addition, exposing open stems to frost can bring about the appearance of fungi. Some that can infect the plant, and make life very difficult no matter how many fungicides we use. For this reason and if we live in a very cold climate, the ideal is to delay when to prune rose bushes until the weather is more stable.

To prevent fungal attacks, nothing like using a healing paste after pruning. Discover this in our Verdecora online store

Late winter pruning is an important pruning. The intention is to suppress dead wood, eliminate suckers and leave only the branches that grow healthy and are focused towards the outside of the trunk. If, in addition, we want to encourage flowering, we will have to cut the upper branches horizontally. By making our rosebush less tall, the plant will need less energy to flower.

2. Pruning at the end of summer, one of the unknown

It is curious but, when it comes to when to prune rose bushes, we tend to believe that it is only once a year. And, although it is true that it is recommended at least once a year, there is another equally important pruning: the end of summer. Thanks to it, we will prepare our plant for the cold of winter and we will strengthen it to withstand its vegetative rest without any problem. A dormant season for which, let us remember, it is essential to have been cautious with the care of the rosebush in summer.

Regular use of compost in the summer months will help prepare the plant for the cold. Get to know the characteristics of this Verdecora brand fertilizer

This pruning, which is carried out between September and October, is a cleaning and thinning pruning. It seeks, fundamentally, to clean up the branches that flowered, eliminating both the flowers and part of the branch. To achieve this, the ideal is to cut approximately half of the stem and always on a new shoot.

In addition to this, it is advisable to shorten the branches that have produced flowers. Be careful with this, because it is only applicable to those rose bushes that bloom only once a year. If ours is for autumn flowering, it is better to reserve this work for the February pruning. If it isn’t, we’ll prune about two-thirds of its length. A way to allow the growth of new branches and, also, of new flowers.


Respecting the calendar is essential, but it is not the only thing to keep in mind. Because just as important as when to prune rose bushes is doing it correctly. An aspect that, many times, goes into the background but is of vital importance. In the same way that a bad moment can spoil our plant, so can a bad cut. And we are not only referring to its shape: we also refer to what we do it with and even the types of roses to plant that we choose.

And, since the details are important, let’s take a closer look at them:

1. What tools to use to prune rose bushes

An aspect as important as knowing when to prune rose bushes. Because, although we may believe that any of the pruning tools is useful to us, nothing is further from the truth. If we carry out the pruning with an inappropriate tool, we can cause significant damage. Let’s keep in mind that pruning is still inflicting a wound on our plant and that, as such, it can be the focus of various infections.

For this reason and to guarantee that pruning is beneficial for the rose bush, it is essential that we adapt the type of scissors to the characteristics of the rose bush.

Bypass shears for fine branches

A bypass pruning shear is perfect for young branches. get it here

It is the classic garden scissors, and one that we can also use to prune small bushes and trees. Its main advantage is lightness. Their drawback: they require dexterity and a lot of strength if the stems to be pruned are somewhat thicker. If so, the ideal is to use another tool.

Anvil shears for thicker branches

An ideal scissors for branches that require more precision and strength. Know its characteristics

The ideal scissors for a good lover of gardening. Thanks to their fixed blade, they present less resistance to prune. It facilitates the pruning of thicker branches without the need for much effort. Its cut is clean, a fantastic advantage for pruning rose bushes.

2. How to prune rose bushes

And we come to something as fundamental as knowing when to prune rose bushes. Because the type of cut we make to the plant will also influence its growth and even its health.

Usually, when it comes to pruning rose bushes, the ideal is to make diagonal cuts on a bud and slightly oblique. To be effective, we will have to prune less than five centimeters from the bud.

When we need to prune an entire branch, we will need to cut to the edge of where it inserts into the main stem.

3. How to prune each type of rose bush

Another essential aspect. There are rose bushes that admit severe pruning, while with others we will have to be more conservative. It is clear that pruning, well done, is always beneficial. But, if we overdo it, it can take longer than we want to see our plant grow and even flower.

Discover our variety of rosebushes

So, in broad strokes, let’s see how to prune some of the most common rose bushes:

mini rosebush

One of the examples of conservative pruning. We will always maintain between five and seven main branches, giving priority to young stems over woody ones. To promote growth, it is advisable to clear the central branches of the bush.

old rosebush

Rather than apply the two annual prunings, the ideal is to remove dead branches or branches that break the structure of the plant.

bush rose

We will have to give these types of rose bushes more time before pruning. From the moment of planting, the ideal is to wait between two and four years. They also do not require regular pruning. For them, the ideal is to remove the branches that grow inwards. As for the exteriors, we will concentrate on pruning the strongest branches by half.

climbing rose

When they are young, it is essential to guide them in their growth and remove only dead or diseased branches in the February pruning. It is also important to reduce lateral stems by around 15 centimeters at the same time of year.

Has this little guide on when to prune rose bushes and how to do it been useful to you?

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