Roses are a familiar flower bed staple, coming in a dazzling array of colours, sizes and shapes.
However, keeping a good display of healthy roses can be something of a challenge for many gardeners.
In order for them to produce healthy growth they need to be pruned. Pruning has two key benefits – it keeps plants healthy and improves their overall appearance.
While pruning can be intimidating, keep in mind that it’s tough to kill a rose bush with poor technique and most mistakes, no matter how bad, will eventually grow back.
Unsure of whether to carry out pruning on her roses now, Emma Sandford took to the Gardening UK Facebook page to ask for some advice.
She wrote: “When should I prune my roses? They have gone horrible with the weather and need cutting right back.”
The post received over 80 responses from fellow gardeners all sharing their experiences. The majority of them suggested waiting until late winter to cut back roses.
Sarah Anne said: “I gave mine a really good prune in February and they are the best they’ve ever been! Only had to deadhead them this year.”
Richard Weaving wrote: “Light trim any time. As far as pruning goes though, wait until February. Certainly don’t be trimming in summer.”
Rachel Ellis commented: “Best tip I had for my roses was to cut them back to where you count five leaves. Don’t know why but mine have been shooting out lots of new puds since I’ve been doing this.”
Shannon Fields claimed: “The best time to prune them is in February. My roses have been flowering like crazy since pruning them.”
Jasmine Bartlett said: “My roses were awful and woody. I wanted to dig them out but they were too well planted so I cut them off level with the ground around February/March time. To my surprise, they grew back again with young strong stems and flowered beautifully with amazing blooms.”
Mark Wilson wrote: “It’s a bit early here in the UK, yet I’m still deadheading. I would wait until October then reduce by half and tidy and then again in February time.”
Fiona Mitchell said: “The first pruning period is in the late autumn, just when growth has stopped and the second pruning period is in late winter/early spring – just before the new growth starts.
“If you cut back your rose bush quite hard in early spring, this will force it to send out new shoots (branches).”
The gardening pros at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) agreed that roses should be pruned during late winter when growth is just resuming, “usually mid-February in the south, but in northern and colder areas wait until March”.
Until then gardeners can deadhead their roses in summer after flowering. Deadheading roses involves removing faded flowers to divert the plant’s energy from producing rose hips to making more flowers.