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How to Deadhead Roses

All those who have roses will know the importance of deadheading to keep their bushes healthy & full of roses. Deadheading is the process of removing the stem in which the rose bloomed.

Normally, the stem is trimmed at the first or the second five leaf set down the bloom. Once the fully bloomed rose withers, it will try to form hips or rose fruits. Your rose plant will spend its strength & nutrients unnecessarily developing the rose hips. Since we mainly have roses for their beautiful blooms, there is no point in allowing your plant to waste its strength by producing rose hips.

Therefore, as part of your rose bush maintenance, you need to trim the stem after the rose withers. Better yet, trim while the rose is still beautiful so you can make a lovely arrangement for your home!

How Do I Deadhead a Rose?


There are many varying opinions about how roses should be deadheaded. Some say that the rose stem has to be cut down to the third five leaf set down from the bloom while others say that it has to be done at the first or the second five leaf set.

You need to take into consideration a number of factors before you deadhead your rose.

One approach may be right for exhibition quality blooms while another may work for optimum viewing in your garden.  With some experience you will learn what works best for your roses.

When you deadhead, the size of the new roses that you get will depend on the thickness of the stem from which the new shoots come. So if you want your rose bush to produce larger blooms,  deadhead further down the stem than the first or the second five leaf set.

However, you need to remember that when you trim the stem at a much lower level, your rose plant will take a long time before new flowers bloom. If you trim it on top, the size of the flowers will be relatively smaller but new flowers will bloom faster.  

When you are deadheading your rose bush, make sure to trim the rose stem at an angle. Normally it is suggested that it should be trimmed at a 45 degree angle, with the slant going out from the middle of the bush. It should be trimmed neatly with well-maintained pruning shears without causing damage to the stem.

Will Deadheading Make My Rose Bush Vulnerable to Pests?

If you are afraid of insects boring into the stem, you can seal the open end with some white glue. This is usually more of a problem with larger stems or canes; smaller stems quickly self-seal.

Proper deadheading does not just save your rose plant’s strength but it also helps its general health. The base of the rose often serves as a hiding place for insects. These pests can cause damage to your roses.

Therefore, deadheading should be done at the right time and at the right way. If you are serious about your roses then you need to take a few extra minutes for proper deadheading so that your roses will not waste their nutrients on rose fruits.

While trying to deadhead your rose plant, never try to break the stem with your hand or leave the stem hanging on the plant. Besides being unsightly, it could damage your plant.

After consistent & tender care, you can see your rose bush produce more blooms and look healthy.

That said, once you've got it down deadheading is actually very easy and just the tip of the iceberg when caring for your roses. Before you can have a good bloom you also have to learn to prune your roses properly. So unless you already know how you'll need some help with this.

Watch how to deadhead a rose

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