How to Deadhead Rose Bushes

Deadheading roses is just a light form of pruning and ensures both the aesthetic and the health of your rose bush is in tip-top condition.

There are 2 main reasons for deadheading your roses - one is purely for the overall aesthetic of the blooms. Removing spent flowers that are wilted and brown so that the rest of the roses can be enjoyed in the flowering season. The second is to keep the health of the rose in top condition and to encourage even more growth and blooms throughout the summer.

Deadheading rose bushes regularly will ensure that the plant puts all of its energy into producing more flowers than wasting it on spent blooms and trying to produce seeds early in the season. 


How to Deadhead Rose Bushes

Types of Roses and Flowering Habits

Grab Your Tools

The tools you will need are as follows:

  • Sharp, clean shears
  • Gardening gloves
  • A bucket or green bin for the clippings


Before you start to prune, make sure that your shears are both clean and sharp. This allows for clean-cut reducing the rick of jagged wounds and fungal infections.

As many rose bushes have sharp thorns we recommend using a high-quality pair of gardening gloves to avoid any nasty scrapes. Invest in a pair of long gloves to keep the forearms covered too.

Make your job a little easier and tidy up as you go along. Carrying a small bucket with you is a great way to collect the cuttings as you work. When depositing into the compost bin avoid adding any cuttings that could be infected with blackspot. These can be disposed of separately.


When to Deadhead Roses

Deadheading roses can be conducted as needed throughout the flowering season, however, there are a couple of points in the year in which you can prune back more severely.

For cluster flowering and repeat-flowering roses, such as floribunda roses, simply prune back the single finished blooms within the clusters as they start to fade. This is the lighter part of deadheading and can be done as and when it's needed.

When all the flowers in one cluster have finished then this is when you can conduct more severe pruning by removing the whole stem.

For varieties that flower once in the season, such as rambling, they can be deadheaded as soon as the flowering season is over.


How to Deadhead Roses

Start by noticing which blooms or stems need to be removed.

Roses that are past their best will start to droop and wilt downwards. They will become more fragile and the petals will drop when touched. These faded flowers are the ones that can be pruned back lightly.

Keep the centre of the rose bush open by pruning back any buds and branches that are facing inwards or are crossing each other. If stems and flowers start competing for space this will overall reduce the size and the quality of the blooms.

Pruning these overlapping and inward growing roses will keep the rose bush healthy and over time improves the shape of the bush.


Where to Cut

To identify the correct shoots, start by choosing a set of 5 leaves that are growing in the correct outward direction.

Next, you need to find the bud eye. This is a dark dot just about the joining of the leaf and stem. From the cut, a new rose will grow.

If you have lots of roses to prune and don’t have the time to check out everyone in detail then a general rule of thumb is the place the cut about a quarter of an inch above the leafset.

All that’s left to do is make the cut. Place the secateurs at a 45-degree angle to cut to ensure water runoff, avoiding any fungal infections from developing.


See this quick and simple How-To video we found online. Click here to watch it.


Photo by David Rangel on Unsplash

Photo by Silvestri Matteo on Unsplash