How to Speed Up Rose Bush Blooms


Among flowering plants, roses are some of the best known of the world. Roses have been so symbolic of royalty that the dynastic war between the Lancaster and York houses were known as the War of the Roses. In your own garden, you can get your roses to bloom sooner and more frequently by following a few simple steps. Roses will experience early growth and blooming if pruned early, as well as fertilized. The second bloom cycle can be hastened for roses that bloom multiple times if the spent blooms are deadheaded.


Step 1

Remove rust from your pruning tools by rubbing them with steel wool. Then sharpen them to insure that you make clean cuts when pruning your roses.

Step 2

Sterilize your pruning tools by cleaning them with a solution of bleach and water in between cleaning plants. If one of your rose bushes is diseased, this will keep you from spreading the disease to your other bushes.

Step 3

Eliminate dead or spindly canes from your rosebush by cutting them back to the bud crown. Cut the cane at an angle and just above an outward facing bud.

Step 4

Prune away any canes that cross or rub against one another. Also remove canes growing in the center of the rosebush to promote air circulation through the plant.

Step 5

Eliminate any sucker canes from your rosebushes. These are shoots that come from below ground level. If your rose hybrids are grafted onto root stock, these suckers will be from the parent plant. They will usually have different leaves and thorns than the parent plant. To get rid of the sucker, dig the dirt away from the rosebush to expose the roots, and then pull the sucker off with a wrenching motion. Make sure that you are wearing protective clothing and gloves, to prevent being injured by thorns.

Step 6

Prune cluster flowered roses lightly. Older plants may require moderate to heavy pruning. As a general rule, never remove more than one-third to one-half of your canes.

Step 7

Seal cuts with nail polish to protect canes from cane borers.

Step 8

Deadhead rose blooms by cutting the spent bloom off just below the flower head.


Step 1

Work Epsom salt into the soil to increase basal breaks.

Step 2

Scatter alfalfa pellets that have been milled for horses around the base of your rose canes to encourage new growth.

Step 3

Check your rose canes in a few weeks to make sure that the alfalfa pellets have not formed a crust over the soil around the rose bushes. If a crust has formed, break this up with a garden digging fork.

Step 4

When the new growth has reached 2 inches long, fertilize your roses with a commercial rose fertilizer.

Step 5

Mulch your roses with compost that includes straw, shredded leaves, salt hay, sawdust or shredded bark.

Tips and Warnings

  • Pruning your roses early leaves them susceptible to late frosts. Only prune your roses early if you are certain that all danger of frost has passed. Do not use alfalfa pellets that have been milled for rabbits on your roses. Only alfalfa that has been milled for horses contain growth hormones that is beneficial to roses. Although roses thrive on bone meal, recent concerns about mad cow disease make it a questionable fertilizer for the safety of gardeners who apply it, since bone meal is made from the bones of bovines. There are no known reports of mad cow disease in the United States. However, the Centers for Disease Control will not guarantee that mad cow does not exist in the US. Rose growers are prone to having open wounds, scratches or skin breaks from thorns even when wearing protective clothing. For this reason, many gardeners will not use bone meal on their roses.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Loppers
  • Pruning saw
  • Steel wool
  • Sharpener
  • Fingernail polish
  • Shovel
  • Bleach
  • Gloves
  • Protective clothing
  • Safety goggles
  • Epsom salt
  • Alfalfa pellets for horses
  • Rose fertilizer
  • Compost


  • Prepare roses now to get your beautiful spring blooms
  • Antique Roses
  • Spring 2009 Rose Garden Care

Who Can Help

  • Rose Varieties
Keywords: roses, pruning roses, rose care

About this Author

Tracy Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arkansas.