Proper rose cutting techniques

by | Mar 17, 2010 | Resources, Market News, Ask Pahl's Market

What is the proper way to cut roses? 

Cut roses for bouquets and arrangements should be cut (with pruning sheers) with as much stem as possible.  Cut back to just above a leaf join on the cane.  This will allow the rose bush to branch from that point and produce more blooms.  The rose stem should be recut (at an angle) right before it is added to the arrangement.  All flower arrangements will last longer if the flower stems are recut daily and placed in fresh water.  Keep arrangements out of full sun to prolong their life.  Pruning and shaping shrub rose bushes also requires a sharp set of pruning sheers. Pruning roses is usually done in early spring.  It involves removing canes that cross other canes and opening the interior of the plant to increase airflow and light to the center of the bush.  Try to cut the canes at an angle as close to a leaf node as possible.

Many shrub roses (especially rugosa, morden,  and meidiland varieties) can  be a little exuberant and throw out long arching canes.  Trimming and shaping during the summer to keep the bushes under control can be done the same way.  In late fall, after the ground has frozen, you can prune back the canes to 12-18 inches and mulch around the base for winter protection.


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  1. bess allen

    Is it proper to cut roses at the point of five leaves?

    • Jason Himmelwright

      To properly deadhead roses, especially tender roses, it is correct to prune them back to just above a five leaf junction on the stem. That promotes quicker re-blooming from that point. If you are asking about hardy shrub roses then that would be correct for the process of promoting more blooms too. In the early spring we recommend pruning your roses back to the point on the stems that is green. Sometimes winter causes roses to die back a few inches and that dark brown tissue should be pruned off. Thank you for your question. Pahl’s


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