How To Deadhead Roses

How To Deadhead Roses

There are many reasons to deadhead roses and it isn’t as complicated as common myths suggest. The term “deadhead” simply means to cut the old, wilted flowers off of plants. This improves the appearance of the plant but more importantly, it often stimulates the production of more flowers.

It’s a widespread belief that roses must be cut down to a set of five leaflets. Don’t believe it. Tests have shown that simply removing the old flowers works just as well and even better. There’s no need to spend time counting leaflets on your rose bushes!

Using scissors or pruners, just snip the stem below the wilted blossoms. As long as you’re cleaning up the plant it might be most efficient to remove those flowers that will go by in the next day or two. Shrub roses can even be deadheaded with hedge shears if that is easier.

Continue with a regular fertilization program for your plants after deadheading. Some roses will produce new flowers right away and others will bloom in the fall. A few rose varieties don’t repeat bloom at all.

Note that for those roses that don’t flower again, deadheading removes the seed pods, called rose hips. Since these seeds can be ornamental, varieties such of Rosa rugosa are often not deadheaded at all. When in doubt about which roses to deadhead, bring a sample bloom into the garden center to discuss it with our staff.

Wilted flowers make this Sunny Knockout a bit less of a knockout.
Simply cut off the dead flowers – no need to make that cut above a certain number of leaflets.
Knockout roses continue to produce flowers all summer and deadheading can speed that process! Some roses make attractive seedpods, which are called rose hips. If you like how these look in the fall, don’t deadhead roses after the end of August.

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