Disbudding Roses for Better Blooms
By Mark Whitelaw
Disbudding is the early removal of bloom buds. This practice allows the rose to send nutrients to the buds that remain. The result is a more fashionable, larger rose one more suitable for display.
On Hybrid Tea roses, you'll notice the terminal bud (the one on the very tip of the stem) is the first to form. Shortly after, secondary buds are formed around the terminal bud. Early removal of these secondary buds sends the rose's energy to the terminal bud, producing a larger bloom. The removal of these secondary buds should be done early in their development. It is easily done with the fingers or pair of tweezers.
On roses that produce multiple blooms, like those of Floribundas or Grandifloras, it is the terminal bud that is removed. On these roses, the terminal bud will open first. By the time surrounding blooms form, the terminal rose is almost fully blown. The result is a floral spray with a hole in the center. By removing this terminal bud early in its formation, the rose's energy goes toward those that remain. The result is a floral spray that is full without the hole in the center.
If you're interested in displaying roses for competition or just producing a nice specimen for the dinner table, try disbudding a few of your roses. I think you'll be pleased with the results.