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How to deadhead roses

Learn how and why to deadhead roses in our step-by-step guide, with a How-to video from Alan Titchmarsh.

Deadheading roses involves removing faded flowers to divert the plant’s energy from producing rose hips, to making more flowers. Deadheading roses will keep them looking their best throughout the season. Faded flowers can make a plant look tatty and, after rain, they can turn into a soggy, slimy mess. This can encourage fungal infections that may lead to stem die-back.

For many roses, deadheading is essential to keep them blooming and stop them looking untidy. In the video clip, above, Alan Titchmarsh deadheads roses, explaining effective deadheading techniques.

When to deadhead roses

Deadhead roses as and when you need to, when the flowers start to fade and look tatty. You can deadhead individual flowers or clusters of flowers. The sooner you deadhead the roses, the sooner new flowers will appear, as the energy the rose is using to make rose hips will be channelled into making new flowers.

Secateurs are the best tool to use to take cuttings and to help you choose the right pair for you we’ve reviewed different types of secateurs and put together a list of the best secateurs

In a hurry? Here is a selection of our Best Buys from our test:

Find step-by-step advice on deadheading roses, below.


You Will Need

  • Secateurs
  • Gloves

Step 1

For multi-flowered roses, take off each flower from the cluster as its petals begin to fall, snipping with secateurs or pinching it out. This will keep the plant looking good while the rest of the buds open. Once all the flowers in a cluster have finished, remove the whole stem.

Deadheading roses - removing the flower cluster
Deadheading roses – removing the flower cluster

Step 2

When deadheading roses with single-flowers, snip off the flowerhead and around 15cm of stem, cutting just above a strong, healthy leaf. Your next flower shoot will grow from that leaf joint.

Deadheading roses - removing a single spent flower
Deadheading roses – removing a single spent flower

Step 3

Rambling roses, which usually flower once during the season, can be pruned straight after flowering. Here’s how to prune a rambling rose.

Deadheading roses - rambling rose
Deadheading roses – rambling rose