Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Cut Back Rock Roses

By Kimberly Johnson

Rock roses also go by names Pavonia lasiopetala and Texas swampmallow, among others. They are evergreen shrubs that are not a member of the rose family, but have 4-inch wide blooms that closely resemble those of a wild rose. The rock rose is a hardy bush that can quickly outgrow the planting site. Cutting back the plant annually will control the growth and rejuvenate it for the next growing season. Wait until the very early spring just before the rock rose begins to develop new foliage for the year.

Grasp one of the vertical stems on the rock rose and trace it back to the base of the plant. Press your fingernail gently into the stalk until you reach an area near the base that feels harder than the remaining stem. This is the woody section of the stem.

Cut the stem off approximately 1/2 inch above the woody section of the stem using pruning shears.

Cut all of the remaining rock rose stems back to the same height, using the first cut stem as a guide. Use pruning shears to make the cuts.

Rake up all of the cut stems from the ground and place them into a compost pile or the trash.


Things You Will Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Rake


  • Rock roses bloom on new growth, so severe cutting back does not prevent the bush from blooming that year.

About the Author


Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.