How to Deadhead Roses

pink flowers with green leaves

Deadheading roses is a great way to encourage more blooms and prolong the plant’s flowering period. Our guide on how to deadhead roses will help you keep your rose bushes and shrub roses looking great for longer.

What Does Deadheading Mean?

Deadheading is a gardening term that simply means cutting away spent blooms. It is a form of pruning that removes finished blooms from the plant, keeping it looking its best and promoting more flowers.

Why Should I Deadhead Roses?

Roses are iconic garden flowers, and they deserve to look their best. Removing faded blooms keeps the plant looking tidy – after all, nobody wants a rose bush covered in dead flowers!

Removing spent blooms diverts the plant’s energy from producing seeds and rose hips, leaving plenty of scope for new flowers to form in their place. This elongates the plant’s flowering season and makes way for plenty of fresh blooms throughout the growing season.

What You’ll Need

Thick gardening gloves and protective clothing: Roses are thorny plants, so ensure your hands and arms are well-protected against cuts and scrapes.

Bypass secateurs or deadheading snips: Handheld cutters are an essential tool to make the job quick and easy, producing a nice, clean cut.

A bucket or container: If you’re removing a lot of spent blooms, you may need something to hold all the flowers in before they get added to the compost bin.

When To Deadhead Roses

The best time for deadheading roses is towards the end of the growing season, when faded flowers are obvious, making rose bushes look untidy and past their best. However, pruning roses regularly throughout the season helps keep them neat, producing a steady supply of new blooms. Deadhead a single flower whenever you notice one fade, and your plant will look stunning all season long.

Where Do You Cut Roses When Deadheading?

Where you position your cut largely depends on the type of rose being pruned. Here’s how to deadhead roses of different varieties:

Hybrid Tea Roses

Deadhead roses on hybrid teas by finding the highest node that has a leaf with five leaflets. Make the cut just underneath that.

Shrub Roses

Many shrub roses are self-shedding and don’t need regular deadheading. However, if you do need to remove a spent flowering head, cut it away just below where the base of the bloom meets the stem.

Rambling Roses

As a general rule, rambling roses only flower once per season, so unless they look unsightly, there isn’t any need for deadheading. The odd variety flowers repeatedly and should be deadheaded two buds back from the main stems.

When Should You Stop Deadheading Roses?

All good things must come to an end. At some point, new growth will pause, and there will be no further blooms for the rest of the season. Stop deadheading hip-producing roses in September so the spent roses can transform into hips, decorating the plant until you carry out the main prune in winter or early spring.

Deadhead roses improve the plant’s appearance, remove spent flowers, encourage further flowering, and promote healthy growth. Deadheading roses isn’t a particularly onerous task. It is best done little and often to remove individual blooms and keep the plant looking its best. Doing so can significantly affect the plant’s appearance and is definitely worth the effort.