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How to Dethorn Roses

By Ann Johnson ; Updated September 21, 2017
If making a bridal bouquet, you'll want to first remove the sharp thorns of roses.

When the florist delivers roses to your home, the stems are typically thorn free. This is because the florist first strips the prickly thorns from each flower's stem before making the arrangement. There are tools on the market designed specifically for removing thorns. These rose strippers come in varying designs, typically used in the same way, by running the tool down the length of the stem. If you are bringing in roses from your garden, and want to remove the thorns, it is possible to do the task with a knife, if you don't have a rose stripper.

Hold the blade above the thorn, gently touching the stem and the top of the thorn.

Scrape the blade downward, along the stem and going under the thorn, to remove the thorn.

Move to the next thorn and repeat.


Things You Will Need

  • Paring knife


  • Wear protective gardening gloves to avoid pricking your hands on the thorns.
  • If using a rose stripper to remove the thorns, follow the manufacturer's instructions, as it they vary according to the design of the stripper you use.
  • It is possible to remove a thorn by simply pushing it to one side and snapping it off, yet you risk pricking your finger.
  • Consider only removing those thorns that will be below the water level of your vase.


  • Dethorning your roses can shorten their vase life, as microbes entering the wounds clog the stem's water-conducting cells.

About the Author


Ann Johnson has been a freelance writer since 1995. She previously served as the editor of a community magazine in Southern California and was also an active real-estate agent, specializing in commercial and residential properties. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University, Fullerton.