Is cutting roses good for the plant?

jannie(z7 LI NY)June 17, 2006

I recall hearing that it is good to cut flowers from your rose plants, because it encourages growth and acts like gentle pruning. I further heard one should cut just above a five-leaf growh, because that is a natural point for spreading, and it also encourages any "repeat bloomers." I have about a dozen roses bushes, all are babies under 2 years old. I have had maybe thirty flowers so far this spring and I've already cut most of them off. I displayed my flowers in my home. A few flowers matured on the plant and the petals just fell off. Just wanted to check in. Do you agree with this practice?

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mike_in_new_orleans(9a/ coastal LA)

You heard correctly. Unless the rose is a once-a-year bloomer, as some of the old garden roses are, it's helpful to prune them after flowering. And generally speaking, pruning to a 5-leaf leaflet is the recommended approach. But it's not rocket science. Repeat bloomers will still re-bloom without this "deadheading." They just might repeat a bit quicker with the deadheading. It simply signals the plant to try again rather than diverting some of its energy toward developing seeds from the spent bloom hip.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2006 at 5:54PM
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I have a potted old rose. Makes very fragerant small pink flowers. There is a "shooter" about 6 feet high coming out of the pot. Been just watching it waiting for blooms and it looks like it will happen soon at the very top. Once it blooms, should I clip the shooter short at one of the lowest five leaf sections or should I clip at the top and see what happens?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2006 at 8:01PM
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rosyone(z8 north Louisiana)

Another method of deadheading that seems to be gaining favor in recent years is snapping the spent bloom off at the abscission layer at the base of the petiole. Here's a good link on the subject.

Here is a link that might be useful: Confessions of a Compulsive Deadheader: Part II

    Bookmark   June 18, 2006 at 11:13PM
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I just purchased my first rose bush. The nursery gal, also told me about the 5 leaf cutting. I am confused and need perhaps, illustration? So you have 5 leaves, and couldn't you have many along one branch? Just where does one cut? I want to be sure I do this correctly. Thank you.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 1:53AM
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diane_nj 6b/7a

Marie, a rose leaf (leaf set) is made out of several leaflets. In the picture at the link below, there is one leaf at the top of that stem, that leaf is a "5-leaf(et)" leaf, meaning that the leaf is composed of 5 leaflets. That's is what we mean by "cut down to the first 5-leaf(let) leaf", not to cut down the stem past 5 leaves. People don't make the distinction between the "leaf" and the "leaflets" which compounds the confusion. The reason that the "5-leafet leaf" rule is not hard and fast is that roses can set 3-, 5-, or 7-leaflet leaves, and it confuses people when they can't find a 5-leaflet leaf.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cutting or

    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 8:19PM
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dmaivn(NSW Aust)

I think this depends on the health of the plants to start with. It also depends on the time of the year.

The main problem of taking the blooms agressively is that the bush will lose vigour very quickly. The blooms are taken with the best leaves which are needed to do photosynthesis to keep the whole bush going. When the plants are not very healthy (disease, blackspot, ...) the lower leaves are sick. The best leaves are with the blooms. If you take them off agressively, this will kill the bush.

Therefore one must make a good judgement on the bush. If it is huge, has many blind shoots and lots of healthy leaves, you can go agressive. As long as you do not attempt to take more than 30% of good leaves from the bush, it will be OK. Also the season is important. If it's Spring, you can be agressive. If it's Summer, mid Autum to early Winter, you cannot be agressive without killing the vigour of the whole bush for next year.

A lot of the ideas about dead-heading for modern roses comes from the cut flower world. They can be agressive because the roses are grown in green houses with climate control and pest control. They are fed constantly makingthem grow quick like veggies. Therefore they can replace the leaves very quickly.

In your garden, unless you take care and feed your roses extremely well, agressive dead-heading (or cutting the blooms for the house) must be done with extreme caution. You migth really enjoy doing this in one season but the next year, the bush will be sick and become much smaller. Generally it's OK to be agressive to a well-established and large bush.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 11:11PM
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