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Roses are like jewellery for your garden. Most roses need thorough pruning to stay in shape. March is the perfect time to do this, followed by a more modest pruning session later in the year. Your will enjoy profusely flowering roses for a long time!

Rejuvenation treatment

Once the worst of the frost is over in March, it’s time for the ultimate rejuvenating treatment for your roses: spring pruning. It’s difficult to get it wrong: you are more likely to prune too little than too much. Do make sure your tools are clean and sharp.


Start by trimming away dead and thin branches. Next, don’t be afraid to prune the new shoots; new branches will grow naturally. Pruning methods vary per rose variety:

  • Shrubs with large-flowered roses and spray roses can be cut at 5 to 7 centimetres or 2/3 eyes above ground level (you will find the eyes where the leaves used to be, they have the shape of a smiley face).
  • Standard roses are pruned in the same way as shrubs, but calculated from the grafting site (the thickened nodule above the stem with the branching).
  • For climbing roses, prune side branches back towards the main or frame branches. Leave 2 or 3 eyes.
  • Botanical (wild) roses should not be pruned, unless they grow too large.
  • Shrub roses should be pruned every 2 to 3 years at 5 to 7 centimetres above ground level.

Knee height

Later in the year, it is time for intermediate or topiary pruning. Shrub branches that have grown too large can be cut back to half their size. It is best to prune off dead flowers, so that all the energy goes to new flowers. In autumn, bring the shrub back into shape, but not lower than knee height to avoid frost damage.


  1. Make fragrant pot-pourri with the petals.
  2. Put a rose branch in a vase.
  3. If you want rose hips, don’t prune all the flowers.

Pruning roses for growth and flowering Pruning roses for growth and flowering Pruning roses for growth and flowering

Also interesting to read:
Fragrant garden roses; from sweet to herbal
Enjoy the long flowering period of roses all season long

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