Celebrate National Rose Month | Plant Your Very Own Rose Garden

Gaga's Garden - Susan Fox
by Gaga's Garden - Susan Fox
June is National Rose Month. Did you know when asked 85% of people say the rose is their favorite flower? As a gardener that loves flowers if you don't have roses its just a matter of time before you get some. Then you will want to talk about pruning. Gardeners and rosarians alike have turned pruning into 'the great debate' and an art form. So let's get down to the "bidness" of pruning.
Spring Rose Garden in Bloom
Do yourself a favor, as an act of kindness to your plants and yourself start with sharp, clean tools. I always clean my tools and lubricate them before I put them away. Here are two ways to keep track of pruners so they won't be accidentally misplaced while pruning. The needlenose Corona Floral Snips shown allow you to do delicate close work. You will also need a pruning saw for large canes.
A rosarians tool kit for pruning
The needlenose pruners really get a clean close cut without leaving an unsightly longer stem close to the cane.
DeWit Tulip Trowel Digging Fork Essential
I keep my DeWit Tulip Trowel handy and use it to plant miniature roses and round out the holes when planting large rose bushes as well. Its just part of my tool essentials.
Petite DeWit Custom Basil Break Fork
I watch for basil breaks like this when I am pruning and carefully remove the mulch from around the basil breaks to be sure I don't accidentally knock it off while pruning. (new canes growing from the bud union). Don't cry if you do, you will only feel like it. :)
Convertable Loppers
ReCap of Essential Pruning Tools: A Fine Toothed saw for cutting dead wood |

Hand Pruning Shears Long Handled Loppers for thick canes and hard to reach places | And heavy garden gloves. These Convertible Loppers/Pruners by Corona are ingenious and you will absolutely wonder how you ever made it before you had them.
An Outside 5 leaf Mature Leaflet
The question I am asked most often is where do I prune the spent bloom? Prune or deadhead spent blooms to an outward facing mature 5-7 leaf mature leaflet as pictured above.
Making Cuts
Cut at 30-45 degree angles. Make all of you cuts down to the cane above the bud union or to a strong outside bud.
How Much To Prune?
If you live in the north its easy to determine how much to prune. Prune all the dead wood killed from the winter cold. In moderate climates there are three basic types of pruning:

Severe or heavy: The plant is cut back to 3-4 canes, 6-10 inches high. Many people who show roses use this method because the rose plant then produces a few very show blooms.
Fragrant Cloud, HT known for fragrance
Moderate: 5-12 canes can be left at about 18-24 inches high. Moderate pruning produces a much fuller bush and is suitable for garden roses.
Spring Rose Garden Bloom 2014
Light Pruning: 1/3 of the plant is pruned. Light pruning produces a profusion of blooms on short stemmed flowers.
Rainbow Sorbet, floribunda favorite
All three methods can be used by gardeners in the same zone. Its just a matter of preference. You decide what works best for your garden. Remember a rose garden is a gathering place. A place to enjoy a wine and rose tour with friends and impromtu happy hours for the grown ups and children. I will never forget when a friend brought his little daughter into the rose garden and caught her breathe and said "this looks like some other kind of place." It is darlin', a rose garden is a gathering place.
Kids Love To Dig In The Dirt
Dewitt Tulip Trowel Essential Planting Tool
Prune Miniature Roses at 5 leaf Leavelets too
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  1 question
  • Terry Terry on Jun 13, 2017
    Hi! I love all of your tips! And of course Roses are my favorites! But I planted 3 roses one red, one beautiful pink and an apricot color, I inherited of them about 5/6 years ago! My problem is they have all turned RED! can you tell me what happened? They are planted in a zigzag line about 3' apart, it's not that I don't like red but I'm confused about whey they did that! Please help!

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  • Patsy Patsy on Aug 22, 2014
    hello , I lovee your rose's do you mind if I save some photos.. i love to keep rose pictures.. <3

  • Lori Vicknair Lori Vicknair on Apr 26, 2015
    As we live in South Louisiana (about 1 to 2 1/2 hours from the coast depending on which coastland you choose), Dad told me to prune my rose bushes in February and August. I prepped a rose bed in the winter and then bought 5 cheap bushes at a local dollar store. One bush turned some buds that summer, but it died while the other 4 grew fast but never produced a bud for 2 whole years until this spring! CAN I tell you they flourished with so many buds I cannot get over it! I simply pruned them back far in February and only used fertilizer once and they are beautiful! Only thing is they are all the same color r and I positively purchased different colors. Oh well, they are still beautiful and growing crazy!