When & How to Prune a Rose Bush


Prune a rose bush to keep it healthy and encourage new growth. Well-pruned roses will flower more often and produce larger blooms. Pruning removes over-crowded canes and allows better air and sunlight circulation. It also lets you shape the bush to a desired form.

Step 1

Trim the repeat-flowering rose buds when they show evidence of swelling, usually in early spring, after the threat of frost has passed.

Step 2

Prune once-flowering roses immediately after the flowering in the summer. Do not prune this variety in the spring because the flowers bloom on last year's old wood.

Step 3

Cut out dead, gray or dull brown wood where it meets healthy wood. Prune where there is growth toward the base of the cane.

Step 4

Snip off suckers growing from the base of the rose bush. These errant canes are taking nutrients from the rest of the plant.

Step 5

Thin it out by pruning the spindly, twiggy canes. Remove those that are crossing or rubbing against each other. Cut as far down as possible If they are growing toward the center of the rose bush.

Step 6

Shape the tree by cutting off the ends of the unwanted canes if it is lopsided or becoming too large. Limit the cutting to about 1/3 of the plant. Pruning a rose bush by more than 1/3 could result in damage.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not let children have access to your pruning shears.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Gloves


  • Rose Gardening Made Easy: Pruning Rose Bushes
  • Rose Care Tips: Wish You Had a Healthier Rose Garden?
Keywords: prune a rose bush, rose bush, prune roses

About this Author

Kelly Shetsky has been a broadcast journalist for more than ten years, researching, writing, producing and reporting daily on many topics. In addition, she writes for several websites, specializing in medical, health and fitness, arts and entertainment, travel and business-related topics. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Marist College.