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How to Prune Rose Blooms

By Contributing Writer ; Updated September 21, 2017

There are two reasons to remove rose blooms: to deadhead the rose to keep it blooming, and to bring roses inside as cut flowers. It doesn't matter why you remove your rose's blooms; just remember that all blooms are removed the same way. The same cuts are used in the same places whether you are deadheading your roses or cutting roses for indoor blooms. Two terms you should know when deadheading roses are "buds" and "leaflets." Buds are those brownish-green bumps on the canes where new growth emerges. Leaflets are individual leaves that emerge from the same stem. Rose leaves are usually produced in threes, fives or sevens, with stems emerging along the length of the cane.

Prune roses in mid-morning or early afternoon. The foliage must be completely dry to prevent the spread of disease.

Choose blooms whose petals are wilting and have a faded color, with brown or yellow edging each petal. These blooms are fading, and, if left in place, will produce hips (seeds), causing the rose bush to stop flowering. If you are removing blooms to bring inside, choose flowers that are just starting to open, as these will last longer as cut flowers.

Make cuts above a strong outward-facing bud. Choose buds that are right above a five- or seven-leaflet stem.

Make cuts on a 45-degree angle 1/4 inch above the bud. The cut should slant away from the bud. This means the bottom of the cut is closest to the bud.


Things You Will Need

  • Heavy work gloves or rose gloves
  • Long-sleeved shirt or jacket
  • Pruning shears


  • Always use sharp pruning shears.
  • Sanitize your pruning shears between plants and between cuts on roses with disease or pest problems. Use a 1:10 bleach water-dilution as a sanitizing agent.
  • If your rose is small or not thriving, prune off as little growth as possible. This gives your rose a little extra growth for photosynthesis.
  • Dispose of or burn rose clippings to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Make cuts as clean as possible. Do not crush or tear the cane.