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How to prune roses in winter


Pruning shrub roses and bush roses annually is important for the health and overall appearance of the plant. Winter is the key time to prune roses, apart from ramblers, which are pruned in the summer.

Prune shrub and climbing roses between November and February; bush roses should be left until late winter, around February, but avoid pruning in freezing conditions. Hard prune bush roses to promote healthy looking growth that produces plenty of blooms in the summer. Climbing roses also need regular pruning to prevent a tangle of old wood and encourage fresh new stems that flower along their full length. Prune shrub roses less drastically, by trimming to improve the shape and cut out dead wood and crossing stems.

Follow our practical step-by-step guide to pruning bush, hybrid tea and floribunda roses, below.

How to do it


Use sharp secateurs to remove the oldest, woody stems from bush roses, making sloping cuts just above a bud or sideshoot. Leave all the younger, green growth in place at this stage.


Cut out any dead or crossing branches and thin, twiggy growth using the tips of the secateurs, taking care not to damage other stems nearby. Also remove suckers coming from the rootstock.


Prune all young, green stems down to about four buds from the base on hybrid tea roses, and six on floribundas. Cut above an outward-facing bud. Aim to create an open framework about 40cm tall.

Our tip

Avoid spreading disease by always making sure your secateurs are clean and sharp.

Always try to prune when the rose is dormant – after autumn leaf fall and before the buds break in spring.

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Talkback: How to prune roses in winter
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Anni Cariad 24/02/2012 at 18:36

Help! My roses are still in bloom, it's been so mild and they are under a glass roofed porch. Do I still prune, or should I hang fire until they stop blooming?

Thank you,


Kevin Eastment 12/03/2012 at 13:24

I Have got 6 rose plnts comming (bear root)
I want to plant them in pots what do i buy to plant them (compost or somthing eles)

malcolm mill 26/05/2012 at 18:00


I have a patio / carpet rose, flowering carpet series - pink princess.

it grows wonderfully and still flowers at christmas.... it has grown BIG... 4ft tall and 6ft across.

we've just had a tree felled and it broke a lot of the rose... HOW can I prune it to reduce its size drastically.... its the end of may 2012.

Alina W 26/05/2012 at 18:06

Wait until its first flush of flowers is over, about July. Then prune it back to 6" below whatever height you want, always pruning to an outward-facing bud. You will inevitably lose some flowers, but it will soon produce more.

karenfletcher 12/06/2012 at 08:00

My climbing rose lost a lot this winter but survived. However, now I see some branches are dying back. Should I cut them right back to stop it going even further? It's just starting to bloom on other branches, so it's not a good time to prune... thanks for any advice.

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