How To Prune Floribunda Rose Bushes

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This article provides helpful pruning tips for Floribunda Roses
by Brett · All Zones · Pruning · 0 Comments · January 17, 2014 · 5,310 views

Floribunda roses (cluster-flowered) and hybrid teas (large-flowered) are pruned following similar techniques. The only difference is that floribunda stems are left longer with more buds on them to form the characteristic mass of flowers while hybrid teas are pruned low to promote vigorous new shoots.

Floribundas are often used in groups, masses, or as hedges opposed to the specimen-like use of hybrid teas. This means pruning is typically less precise, less geared towards producing an architecture for the plant.

The goal of pruning these rose bushes is to keep them near the size you want, force a domed shape to let light hit all over the plant, and to remove weak and overcrowded wood to promote thick, floriferous growth all over the plant.

Late Winter Hard Pruning of Floribunda Roses

Major pruning of floribundas is done in the late winter or early spring. It's best to time pruning after the threat of severe cold temperatures are gone and before the swelling of buds in spring. This way you can see what damage winter has done and know which canes have been killed and need to be removed.

Step 1

To start with, cut out dead, diseased, rubbing and crossing stems. If the bush is crowded cut out some old shoots completely to keep the center of the bush open.

Step 2

Cut back the strongest remaining shoots down to within 10 to 12 inches above the soil level

Step 3

Prune back less vigorous shoots more severely

Step 4

On older bushes, some older stems can be pruned back hard to a few inches above the soil level. This encourages stronger growth from the base.

Late Winter Hard Pruning of Floribunda Rose Hedges

The technique for pruning a tight hedge of roses is a little different because there is much more to cut and plants are bunched closer together. Starting with hand pruners could take what seems forever, so you'll want to use hedge shears/clippers first to remove some of the thinner, thorny outer growth from the exterior of the hedge.

Make cuts through only the soft growth of last year, which are the thin green tips. You can’t shear through woody growth, but you’ll be shearing within a few nodes of it.

Now that you have done your shearing you can get into the plant and remove the dead growth with your hand pruners, and long-handle lopper pruners if necessary for larger wood. After colder than normal winters there will probably be more dead wood to remove.

Removal of Unwanted Suckers

Suckers are thin, weak growth that emerge from beneath the graft union on grafted varieties of roses. These suckers usually grow long and produce foliage that looks different than that of your rose. These suckers should be removed and discarded.

To make sure the branch is a sucker, look carefully at the base of your plant. Suckers that sprout from the soil near the base of the plant are probably from the rootstock and must be removed. Instead of cutting the suckers off rip them out by hand at the base. Ripping wounds the rootstock, making it less likely to resprout at that point.

NOTE: It's not absolutely necessary to remove suckers when you're doing the hard pruning. You can wait until later on to make sure the sucker is truly a sucker instead of a cane from your rose. If when the leaves or flowers come you see a difference rip it out then.

Summer Pruning (Deadheading) of Floribunda Roses

Deadhead floribundas through the flowering season with your shears or hand pruners. Just snip them a few inches below the spent group of flowers being careful not to make your cuts beneath swelling flower buds!

Sometimes a long cane will bolt straight out of your nice dome of blooms. Simply cut it out as low as possible.

NOTE: Cease deadheading at the end of summer or at least a month and a half or so before the typical first frost date in your area. This will allow the remaining blooms to produce hips, the fruit of roses. On some roses, hips are an attractive feature that lasts through the winter. Also, some growers believe that allowing the hips to develop reduces winter kill of wood.

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