How and When to Prune a Rose Bush
February 29, 2024

The quintessential British rose – what’s not to love? It has a stunning scent, gives gorgeous floral displays and comes in a whole spectrum of different colours. It even comes in different forms, from traditional bushes and shrubs to climbing and rambling varieties. No wonder it can be so easily spotted in gardens up and down the UK.

This beautiful flower never fails to put on a great show, but the question is how do you maximise it? Well, the answer is in the pruning

Pruned well, a rose bush can be trained to give the most spectacular display, year after year. In this guide we’ll walk you through exactly how to prune a rose bush, and when to prune roses too, so you can reap those sweet-scented rewards time and again. 

When to Prune Roses

Different types of roses need pruning at different times of the year. Here’s when to cut back each type:


  • Rose bushes should be pruned in spring, around mid-March.
  • Shrub roses need pruning to size either in winter or after flowering in late summer. They can be pruned at both times of year if they’ve grown vigorously.
  • Rambling roses are best pruned in late summer, directly after flowering, ready for training the following year. 
  • Climbing roses can be pruned anytime throughout the winter when the flowering is over. They can then be framed up to encourage more flower shoots to fan outwards and give a bigger display. 

How Do You Prune a Rose Bush? 

One of the most common types of rose plants, rose bushes look stunning in gardens, and many are now grown in pots which make great focal points on patios. 

To prune a rose bush, whether it’s in a flowerbed or pot, use some bypass pruners to cut back each stem to an outward-facing bud. The buds on each stem grow alternately inwards and outwards, so if you prune just above one that faces outwards, the bush will grow in that direction, rather than towards the centre of the plant, and give a better show. 

Make sure you prune just above a bud rather than just below it. 

Watch us show you exactly how to prune a rose bush in the video below.

How Much Should You Cut Back? 

When pruning rose bushes, cut back about a third of the top growth. This will keep their size in check and give a good display of flowers in the upcoming season. 


Once pruned, your rose bush will be ready to bloom at its best and give you a great show to admire every flowering season. Have a read of our Rose Plant Care Guide to make sure you’re really making the most of these gorgeous plants.

Need some pruners? Pop into your local Robert Dyas store or shop our pruning essentials online where you’ll find everything you need.