‘Keep the show going’ How to deadhead roses for an extended flower display in your garden

Gardeners' World: Monty Don outlines how to prune roses

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Deadheading roses is one of the most important gardening jobs to do in summer, with plenty of bold flowerheads ready to be plucked once they finish blooming. Removing spent rose petals opens up plenty of room for new buds to flourish throughout the growing season, and is crucial to keep bushes, shrubs and climbers looking healthy all season. This is the best method to use to deadhead roses and “keep the show going” in your garden.

How to deadhead roses

According to British rose breeders, David Austin, there are two stages to deadheading.

The first is mainly aesthetic, removing the brown finished blooms so you can enjoy the remaining flowers “without interruption”.

The second stage encourages new blooms and helps to maintain a compact shape for a neat yet striking display.

While you can wait for the entire plant to finish flowering to remove the wilted petals, taking a ‘little and often’ approach will work much better if you want to prolong your display of fragrant roses.

Squires Garden Centres said: “Primarily, deadheading is all about keeping the show going: as blooms begin to fade, a plant’s energy becomes devoted to producing seed instead.

“This is a process which the gardener can craftily thwart for a time by deadheading little and often, allowing for an elongated blooming period.”

Not only will this simple pruning task improve the appearance of the plant, but it can also prevent rotting by eliminating wet fallen petals which can be problematic if they stick to the leaves.

How to deadhead single roses

Deadheading roses is as simple as pinching or cutting off the finished flower when there are just a few spent flower heads on your plant.

To remove individual blooms, all you need to do is grab a pair of clean secateurs and make one clean cut to remove the flower.

David Austin Roses recommended doing this “just below” the point where the base of the flowerhead joins the thorny stem.

Other buds or blooms that are bright and healthy should be left to continue flowering.

This should be done throughout the flowering season which begins in early summer.

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How to deadhead clusters of roses

Keep an eye out for entire clusters of finished flowers as these can be removed all at once.

To do this, cut the stem just above the first leaf with at least five visible leaflets.

Once all the wilted blossoms have been removed, you should move onto pruning the stem.

Using a pair of clean secateurs, cut back any “disproportionately tall” stems back to the height of the rest of the plant.

Try to create a neat, rounded shape as you cut back the stems.

Not all roses require the same care, so keep an eye on climbing plants and prune accordingly.

Rambling roses will proliferate in long tendril-like growths which will need to be cut back, so deadheading should be done a little differently.

As the plant only flowers once, it is important to begin pruning as soon as the petals begin to fall.

Squires said: “Roses can also be divided into single-flower and multi-flowered types, naturally, your pattern of deadheading will be affected by what types populate your garden.”

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