How to Shape Rose Bushes


A well-shaped rose bush enhances the natural beauty of delicate roses in bloom. When planted in the front yard or along walkways these delightful flowers invite guests to your home with a profusion of color and rich heady fragrance. Without attention, they may become overgrown and lose their overall shape in the process. Keeping them in shape requires a little basic maintenance and care, but your efforts will be rewarded with well-shaped rose bushes bursting with blooms.

Step 1

Shape rose bushes once new growth appears. Although you must use care not to remove flower buds, general shaping can be done any time when the plant is actively growing.

Step 2

Select branches or stems that extends beyond the overall shape of the plant for trimming. This includes overgrown, twisted or misshapen branches as they disrupt the overall appearance of your rose bush.

Step 3

Cut the branch on a 45-degree angle ¼ inch above a leaf node. The direction of the bud indicates the direction in which new growth will grow. To encourage growth toward the outside of the rose bush, cut above an outward facing bud. If the stem has two opposing leaf buds, remove one bud, leaving a leaf bud on the side where you want new growth to appear.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid trimming away flower buds as this will reduce the overall blooms.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden clippers


  • University of Illinois Extension: Our Rose Garden
  • AgriLife Extension: Follow Proper Pruning Techniques
  • UC Davis: Pruning Climbing Roses

Who Can Help

  • Washington State University: Secrets of Pruning Roses
  • Clemson Extension: Pruning Roses
Keywords: shape rose bush, overall shape, leaf buds

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with 4 years experience in online writing and a lifetime of personal journals. She is published on various sites, including Associated Content. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.