Introduction: The Annual Winter or Spring Pruning of a Hybrid Tea Rose

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Roses are the world’s favorite flower. They can be seen in vases and in the gardens everywhere. In order to ensure optimum health and flowering, different types of roses need to be pruned in different ways. Today I’m sharing how to do the annual winter or spring pruning of a hybrid tea rose.

Hybrid tea roses have long stems and large flowers, both of which makes them very popular. It takes a lot of energy for them to bloom and repeat bloom so they need regular pruning throughout the season. The main reason for this pruning is the fact that hybrid teas flower off of new growth. Their big annual pruning is done in either winter or spring (depending on your climate zone) and sets the tone for how the rose will perform. When I lived in Santa Barbara I pruned roses in January and now that I’m living in Tucson, it’s February. Just wait until the danger of frost has passed to prune your hybrid teas.

Step 1:

Things to know & how to do the annual winter or spring pruning of a hybrid tea rose:

1- Make sure your pruners are clean & sharp . You don’t want to spread any diseases or make raggedy cuts.

2- Hybrid tea roses bloom on new growth; that’s the main reason you want to do this pruning.

3- As a general rule, you want to take a hybrid tea rose down by 1/2 its current height. If the canes are really small in diameter, I take them down a bit more.

4- I start by removing 2 or 3 of the outer canes (the long stems) & work my way into the rose.

5- Remove any dead or weak growth.

6- Remove any canes which cross over another. You open up the center of a hybrid tea rose to let in sun & encourage air circulation.

7- On the canes to remain, prune just above an outward facing node. You don’t want the angled cut to be too close or too far above the node. The video illustrates this also.

Step 2:

Pic1- Here’s how to make the cut – at an angle & not too close to or too far above the swelling node.

Pic2-This rose was pruned on 2/26 & this taken on 3/16, almost 3 weeks later. Lots of fresh new growth emerging.

8- Work around the rose until you have it opened up & properly shaped. I also remove any of the old foliage that remains on the canes. We want all that healthy new foliage to emerge!

You’ll see in the video that I paint wood glue on all the cuts to help prevent cane borers from getting in. I’d never done this, but my friend who’s a professional gardener here in Tucson, said they can be a problem. You can also use a sealing compound. I’ve read differing opinions about whether the glue or the compound really works, but I gave it a try anyway. Have you had good results with either?

After I got through with the pruning, I spread and gently worked in some compost around the base and drip line of the rose. I use a local, organic compost which is very rich – the rose is loving it.

I pruned this rose last September to rejuvenate it and this winter pruning will make it even healthier. Roses also appreciate organic feeding which is something I do 2 or 3 times throughout their blooming season. If you do this annual pruning along with regular pruning throughout the season, your hybrid tea roses will give you lots of beautiful blooms. Yes please!

Happy gardening & thanks for stopping by,