How to Prune Rose Bushes & Spent Flowers


There are many different types and varieties of rose bushes that can add a special touch to a flower garden or backyard. They do require some yearly maintenance and pruning, however, to help keep them healthy and looking their best. It may seem a bit intimidating if you do not know where to begin, but once you know a few things about how to prune rose bushes and remove spent flowers, you will be ready to get started.

Step 1

Determine when to prune your rose bushes. Rose bushes that bloom more than once a year are called ever-lasting and should be cut back in early spring to allow the blooms to grow on new wood. Once-a-year blooming roses, however, grow on old wood and will only require light pruning of dead branches to reshape it in the fall. This should be done after the flowering season is over.

Step 2

Remove all dead wood. Use a pair of pruning shears to trim off any canes that are discolored or wood that is obviously dead. When trimming dead canes, cut at the base or just below where the wood first becomes discolored.

Step 3

Cut away any branches that are rubbing together, broken, or too small and weak to hold up blossoms.

Step 4

Step back and inspect the rose bush. If there are more limbs growing on one side than the other or the bush appears lopsided, you may wish to even the sides out to make it more visually appealing.

Step 5

Trim the remaining canes back to 1/4 inch above an outward facing bud (small bump on the stem where new growth will begin).

Things You'll Need

  • pruning shears


  • University of Illinois Extension: Our Rose Garden
  • Rose Gardening Made Easy: Pruning Rose Bushes - How to prune all kinds of roses
Keywords: rose care, rose pruning, dead-heading roses

About this Author

Kate Hornsby has been a professional pet sitter for a number of years and a small business owner for over twenty. She is the current Atlanta Pets Examiner and has written several articles on pet care and operating a small business. Hornsby attended the Academy of Art online, studying Interior Architecture and Design while pursuing commercial flight training at Aviation Atlanta in Georgia.