How to Prune a Hybrid Tea Rose


If you own roses, then sooner or later you must prune them. Unpruned roses become woody and less productive as time passes. Pruning promotes the health of a hybrid tea, encourages new growth, removes damaged canes, and helps give structure to a hybrid tea. Repeat bloomers such as hybrid tea roses need a heavy annual pruning in spring as the first buds break dormancy.

Step 1

Observe the first yearly buds on your hybrid tea roses. When these buds begin to swell in preparation for blooming, it is time to prune your roses.

Step 2

Prepare pruning tools for pruning hybrid tea roses. Select short pruning shears, long-handled pruning shears and a pruning saw for woody stems. Sharpen the blades of these shears by rubbing the blade with an oilstone to prevent injuring rose canes.

Step 3

Mix a solution of seven parts alcohol and three parts water. Soak a cloth with the solution. Clean all of your pruning tools with this cloth before pruning. Use the cloth in between pruning individual tea rose canes to prevent the spread of diseases such as powdered mildew.

Step 4

Remove all dead, damaged or weak stems. Cut all canes back to a healthy bud or branch that faces outward. This will encourage the rose bush to grow outward. Dead stems have no green wood beneath the outer layer. Damaged stems appear broken. Weak stems are typically growth that is thinner than a pencil.

Step 5

Remove diseased canes to keep tea roses healthy. Diseased canes have discolored cambiums. If you cut into them, the wood inside appears brown and withered instead of white and plump.

Step 6

Prune tea roses to thin out the center of the bush and improve air circulation through the bush. Remove 1/2 of the previous year's growth. You should also remove canes that rub one another or cross the center of the shrub. This will keep the shrub vigorous and will prevent the spread of diseases.

Step 7

Look at the base of the plant to ensure there are no new rose plants growing from the roots below the graft line. These new plants are called suckers. Sucker plants will steal the nutrients from a parent plant. Remove all suckers from your rose.

Step 8

Remove the oldest flowering canes of hybrid tea roses. These canes produce fewer flowers as they age.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never prune back hybrid tea roses to make them smaller than 18 inches in height.

Things You'll Need

  • Small pruning shears
  • Long-handled pruning shears
  • Pruning saw
  • Whetstone
  • Alcohol
  • Clean cloth
  • Leather gloves


  • Missouri State University: Roses: Care After Planting
  • Clemson: Pruning Roses
  • Washington State University Extension: Pruning Roses

Who Can Help

  • South Dakota State University Extension: Winterizing Roses
Keywords: pruning tea roses, growing rose bushes, Tea rose care

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."