Welcome to our Head Gardener’s Journal

In this monthly column, we will share technical aspects of our work and also keep you up to date about ongoing projects. If there is any topic you might want to hear more about, please ask during your next visit!

Pruning Once-Flowering Roses

Once-flowering roses bloom on previous year’s growth. This group of roses comprises old-fashioned roses such as alba, gallica and damask roses as well as ramblers. Once the abundant flowers have faded in July, the roses need to be pruned. This is a balancing act between pruning them hard enough but not too hard: over-pruning would reduce their impact, under-pruning might result in an untidy, gangly plant the following year.

Rosa ‘Félicité Parmentier’, an alba x damask hybrid.
After flowering, in late July, the plant is ready to be pruned and the shoots are taken back by about 30 cm, resulting in a much more compact shape.
Rose after pruning.

Next year, in the early spring, any dead or diseased wood will be removed, but the length of the shoots will remain unchanged. 

The same principle is applied to rambling roses such as ‘Cedric Morris’.

Rosa ‘Cedric Morris’ after flowering.

Throughout spring, rambling roses produce many strong new shoots which will flower in the following year. A lot of this year’s flowering shoots can therefore be removed, and the new, strong growth tied to the wall in their stead. Thus, the rose is rejuvenated.

Removing old shoots and tying in young growth.
Rose after pruning.