How to Trim Rose Plants

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When trimming rose plants, simply cut off the wilted flowers and any browning foliage. Avoid pruning back more than one-third of a plant at once with helpful information from a sustainable gardener in this free video on roses.

Part of the Video Series: Rose Gardening
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Video Transcript

Hi this is Yolanda Vanveen and in this segment we're going to talk about how to trim rose plants. Now we all buy roses or we move into a home where there's roses that have been in an area for a hundred years. And they're gorgeous and they're just kind of overwhelming. These group of plants right here has been here forever. They're a beautiful compact rose. Now they just kind of take over and get wild medusa-like if you let them go. So in the early spring, I like to trim them back to about eighteen inches; that's my rule. And then through the summer, I want to trim them back as needed. So they will grow no matter what you do and I found too you could leave them they'll keep growing more roses; but the more you trim out the spent roses, the more new roses you get. So any type of medusa plants or suckers that are coming out just trim them out. And the rule of thumb too is when you're trimming something out; I'll show you; and the rule about trimming is you don't want to trim back more than one third of the plant at any one time. And a trim is more like a haircut; you're just barely cleaning it up. Pruning is actually attacking it and really cutting it down. So when you're trimming it you're just cleaning it up. You want to trim where the leaf line meets at an angle. So you just want to trim that right at an angle and then that is where you cut it out. But you don't have to be that strict. I found that the plant will fill in no matter what you do and I hack them; I like to really hack them 'cause it seems like the more you hack them, the better they fill in, the more flowers you get in the end. And so when you're trimming just to make sure don't trim too much. You don't want to get into the actual stem. You want to make sure there's leaves. You got to trim down when there's leaves 'cause if you get down when there's no leaves, it won't grow back. So the rule of thumb is not more than one third at any one time and trim in the early spring; the most hack it back; that's pruning, just hack it down. And then through the summer, through the fall, prune it back a little more and then it starts freezing at night too; I like, try to just make it even it up, clean it up and as it turns brown, it gets frozen, cut those parts out. And you will find the next year, you will have a beautiful rose bush.


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