How to Trim Dead Flowers From Rose Bushes


Rose bushes produce large showy blooms that gradually fade, revealing the rose hip that contains the seeds. Some prefer to allow the rose to go to seed naturally to harvest rose hips in the fall for herbal teas or jams and jellies. For ornamental roses that provide a dramatic show of color and fragrance over extended periods, deadheading is necessary. Removing the faded bloom tricks the plant into thinking it has not produced enough seed to reproduce and encourages new blooms.

Step 1

Trim rose blooms once color has faded and petals begin to drop.

Step 2

Locate the first or second set of true leaves on the stem below the bloom. Foliage grows in clusters of three and clusters of five leaflets. Clusters of five leaflets are considered true leaves.

Step 3

Use sharp garden clippers to cut the stem ¼ inch above the leaf node so the cut angles away from the node. Stems grow from the nearest node, producing new blooms.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not deadhead roses after September as it may force the rose to prematurely enter dormancy.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden clippers


  • Rose Magazine: Deadheading Roses
  • Colorado State University Extension: Roses
  • Iowa State University Extension: Horticulture and Home Pest News

Who Can Help

  • Ohio State University Extension: Planting Roses
  • ACES: Growing Roses
Keywords: deadhead roses, remove spent roses, deadhead rose bushes

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.