Deadheading Roses Helps Your Blooms Grow So Much Healthier—Here’s How to Do It
Home & Gardening

Deadheading Roses Helps Your Blooms Grow So Much Healthier—Here’s How to Do It

Roses are among the most popular garden flowers—and nearly every garden has at least a bush or two of theses summer bloomers. But to keep your rose bush looking its best, you should deadhead roses that are wilted or fading, to help your rose bush put all of its energy toward creating new gorgeous blooms.

Here’s everything you need to know about deadheading and pruning your rose bushes to help them thrive and keep producing beautiful rose blooms.

What Is Deadheading?

Deadheading is the process of cutting off dead or wilting blooms from a flowering plant. Doing so encourages new growth and helps the plant produce more blooms than before. This way, the plant’s energy and resources aren’t siphoned off toward the dead parts and can be conserved for the healthier parts of the plant.

When to Deadhead Roses

Any time you see a past-its-prime flower, you should definitely deadhead the rose to help shift your plant toward producing new blooms. Taking a few minutes to do this weekly will be better than a longer, less frequent deadheading session.

Roses benefit from a deeper prune once a year to encourage new growth—either a month after the rosebush blooms, if it’s a variety that blooms once a year, or in March or April if it’s a rose variety that blooms multiple times in a year.

How to Deadhead Roses

1. Give your rose bushes a once-over.

werxj/Getty Images

Look for fading roses or already spent blooms that need to be snipped away. Keep your eye out for spotted or yellow leaves, which may indicate a diseased branch that’s worth pruning away.

Be mindful of the old saying—every rose has its thorns—and protect your hands from the thorns with a pair of heavy gardening gloves.

2. Decide how far to prune back your roses.

Lex20/Getty Images

When you’re deadheading individual roses that are past their prime, you need to cut the bloom off just below where the flower meets the stem. You can use your fingers to pinch it off, or a pair of gardening shears or scissors.

If you are deadheading a branch with multiple spent blooms, snip off the branch with your gardening shears at the next leaf joint.

For hybrid tea roses, look for the next node with a leaf that has five leaflets and cut just above that.

3. Clean up spent blooms or stems.

borchee/Getty Images

It can be tempting to leave the faded rose petals and stems at the base of the rose bush, but leaving the debris around can encourage diseases and fungi that can damage your plant.

4. Stop deadheading in the fall.

Getty Images

For most types of roses—including hybrid tea roses, grandiflora, and floribunda—you’ll want to stop deadheading in September, and let those last blooms remain. Your rose bush will go on to create rose hips, fruits that signal to your plant that it’s time to prep for winter. You can also harvest rose hips for tea or other uses.