How we go about pruning our roses depends upon what kind of roses they are. If you don’t know what kind of rose you have, take time to observe its nature. Does it bloom more than once in a season? What is its growth habit? Does it have very upright canes? Is it bushier with smaller branching and twigs? Does it have quite long canes and vigorous growth? The answers will help you decide how to prune your rose.
Modern bush roses are repeat-blooming and include hybrid teas, floribundas, grandifloras, miniatures and minifloras. Remove any dead, unhealthy or unproductive shoots, then any shoots that are crossing or crowding the center of the bush. Shorten remaining canes by one-third to one-half of the overall height.
With Floribundas, buds may not be visible on stems that have had large sprays of flowers. Cut to the approximate desired height, and a nearby dormant bud should be stimulated into life.
Miniatures require very little pruning. They naturally have a twiggy growth habit. Remove some congested canes if desired. You may also shorten the height by one-third.
Minifloras are roses intermediate between a floribunda and a miniature. Prune as for a floribunda, but on a slightly smaller scale.
Shrub roses are also repeat flowering and include modern shrub roses, English roses, hybrid musks and rugosa roses. The growth habit for these roses is much more twiggy which is reflected in the pruning technique. For modern shrub roses, English roses, and hybrid musks remove one or two old unproductive canes if needed, and shorten remaining main canes by up to one-third. Little thinning of canes is required.
For rugosa roses little pruning is required. Tip-prune long stems and occasionally remove an old stem completely.
Old Garden Roses have their own particular forms and growth habits that provide a pleasing aspect in the garden. Most require only light pruning, if any at all. Prune occasionally to remove old, unproductive canes or to thin very dense, inner growth. If shoots need to be shortened, prune no more than one-third of their length. Repeat-blooming types, such as Bourbons, Portlands and Hybrid Perpetuals, can be pruned while dormant. Deadhead throughout the summer to encourage more blooms.
Utah Rose Society