How To Prune Roses 101: Protect Your Roses For Winter

The rose is a very popular flower that many people love to grow. It's currently a myriad of various flower species and whatnot, so every one of them have their own rules when it comes to pruning.

When pruning roses for winter, you should take note of the type of rose you're pruning. Early spring is the best time to prune hybrid roses, for example. What's more, late winter should be the time to prune roses that repeatedly bloom while mid-winter is the time reserved for the pruning of climbing roses. Finally, not much pruning is required for garden roses.

When And How To Prune Roses In The Winter 101​

pruning roses for winter

Temperature Considerations

​When compared to pruning roses in spring, be more mindful of the temperature in winter (watch out for that 0°C or 32°F). You should get out your garden clippers around fall. This is for the sake of growth stimulation that will make the roses more resilient when the icy temperature drops drastically (or changes in temperature as frost freezes and thaws repeatedly).

Timing And Preparatory Pruning​

There are times when cleaning up the rose bush is best done in a preparatory way. Indeed, pruning roses in fall or at around late in autumn rather than on the cusp of winter (which when to cut back climbing roses is best done). Cut the bush real nice so that when winter comes the bushes will face fewer frost issues.

Months Of Major Pruning And Pruning Freshly Planted Blooms​

You should do the major pruning around mid-winter to all the way to summer (in other words, somewhere between January to May). As mentioned earlier, pruning roses you've just planted is a no-no. Let them become established first for about a growing season or two. When trimming them, do so lightly.

Take Fading And Dead Flowers Out Of Their Misery​

pruning roses for winter

Winter alone is enough to try the hardiness of the healthiest of rose blooms. So naturally fading or wilted flowers should be get rid of first during your late autumn pruning. This is referred to as deadheading roses. It should be done before wintertime in order to clean up the look of your rose bush.

Deadheading Traditionally Or By Limiting Blooms​

​Deadheading is what you do when it comes to how to prune roses after they bloom. Withered, dying, or dead blooms should be pruned by cutting at an angle and turning it to a five-leaflet leaf. You can also prune the stem below the low parts of the bush to end up with bigger blooms but fewer flowers overall.

​Deadheading Ornamentally And Snapping Right At The Base

pruning roses for winter

Although the blooms will take longer to appear by cutting the bush to a correct height while leaving the canes with a bit of foliage, it makes it more aesthetic this way. Deadheading should be done by cutting the boom at the peduncle, particularly for freshly planted blooms.

There Should Be Intervals Between Deadheading​

​Allow yourself to only cut every other flower or every second rose when you're deadheading. That's how to prune standard roses properly. This will allow you to give your rose bush some "hips" that will serve as a decoration or ornament for the plant during wintertime.

Prune Out any Dry/Dead Branches and Broken Stems​

It's also part of rose bush pruning maintenance to take out any unhealthy branches and stems that are already worse for wear or about to snap. For good measure, watch a how to prune roses youtube video to know how to properly get rid of these damaged branches that might get ripped out with still-healthy stems if they're left alone against a winter gale or blizzard.

Proper Pruning Technique To Keep The Healthy From The Diseased​

pruning roses for winter

As far as established climbing roses are concerned, you should prune down stems that are unhealthy, disease-ridden, or altogether broke with at least 6 inches into the wood that's still healthy and in perfect condition. Check out how to prune roses pictures and articles for more details.

Closely Prune Suckers Out​

Suckers happen when the knot or bud union of a grafted rootstock or understock roses generates a cane or canes that grow like crazy and "sucks" the nutrients of your actual rose plant, hence the name. The suckers should be pruned close to the point where they originated or grew. Search for developing suckers on the rootstock or understock for good measure.


When it comes to wintertime pruning and preparations, just like with how to prune roses in summer correctly, but this time you need to be more mindful of the temperature and your timing when pruning. When it comes to pruning roses for winter, it's mostly an exercise of mastering the art of deadheading roses.

There are about four ways to go about it. Aside from that, it's mostly an exercise of maintenance and watching out for those rose suckers. Let the winter and Mother Nature deal with what's left of the less hardy of the rose blooms, but when it comes to dead branches, you should be more merciless. Don't leave one broken stem behind.

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When pruning roses for winter, you should take note of the type of rose you're pruning. Early spring is the best time to prune hybrid roses, for example. #pruningroses #protectroses #wintergardening
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