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Tips for deadheading roses

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Create greater flowering roses

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The dormant season is when gardeners do the heaviest pruning of roses, and we are pruning for well-being, form, potency, and greater flowering roses.

However, a bit of pruning does need to be completed throughout the growing season. The reasons are different. Pruning in the spring or summer generally is done to shape roses, or if the roses will continuously flower, deadheading, or the removing of old flowers needs to be done in order to inspire the roses and blooms to re-flower.

Deadheading defined

Deadheading repeat-flowering roses has numerous benefits. It will remove hiding places and food for insects which often become pests in our flowers and garden as well as conserving plant energy and producing more flowers. Likely, it also provides enhancements in air circulation, possibly reducing prospective fungal diseases similar to powdery mildew and leaf spot.

Essentially we are deadheading to eliminate old and lifeless flowers and blooms from the rose bush so that hips, the rose fruit, do not form. The deadheading of the cane provides more energy to produce new flowers and blooms and cane growth by sidetracking the energy typically used for hip development on the plant.

One-time-blooming roses are given deadheading only to give the rose bush a neater look and to capitalize on vegetative growth of abundant blooms.

Deadheading should vary between types of roses

To deadhead Hybrid Teas and Floribundas:

Remove a spent flower and its lifeless blooms and the cane beneath it back to the first outward-facing leaf with five leaflets. Deadheading back to a leaf with fewer leaflets often results in non-flowering new growth, called "blind wood".

To deadhead repeat-flowering roses:

Like shrub roses or climbers, this can be more variable. New flowering wood can be produced from a bud at the bract beneath a flower or from buds at any leaf axis.

On these roses, it is better to deadhead back to the bract beneath the flower blooms, and observe whether new flowering wood grows from this point. If flowers and blooms are not produced, prune back to the first leaf and start the observation process again.

Continue deadheading back to the highest leaf on a cane until you know the pattern or growth and bloom for a cultivar.

This might not be as clear cut as what to do for Hybrid Teas or Floribundas, but this will really become helpful when you have deadheaded your roses for a season and know what is best for them.

Try a little deadheading this season and see if you don’t get the best flowering roses ever. And then learn how to dry roses for a nice bouquet that lasts all spring and summer and beyond.

Information source: Weekend Gardener monthly web magazine.


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