Our handy guide covers all you need to know to deadhead a rose, including why, when and how.
What is deadheading? #
Deadheading refers to removing the spent blooms from a rose. It keeps the rose looking beautiful and healthy, and encourages the rose to produce more flowers. Deadheading is an ongoing job through the season, straightforward to do and easy to keep on top of.
What is the difference between deadheading and pruning? #
Deadheading a rose means just removing the flowers that have died, and is an ongoing job through the season. Pruning is a more intensive job, but only needs doing twice a year – lightly at the end of the season once all the flowers have died, and once more intensively in spring. It involves not only removing the dead flowers, but also stems and leaves. For more information on how to prune, see our pruning guide.
Why do I need to deadhead my rose? #
Deadheading roses is an important job to keep them in top condition. Not only does it keep them looking fresh and cared for, it divert their energy away from producing hips and therefore produces more flowers. Additionally it prevents dead blooms from becoming a soggy mess after rainfall, which in turn helps prevent fungal infections developing that can result in stem die-back.
What will happen if I don’t deadhead my rose? #
If you don’t deadhead your rose, it will put energy into producing hips – these are rose seed pods. Deadheading means that the rose is instead encouraged to put energy into growing more flowers, keeping your rose in bloom and looking fantastic. Dead blooms can also be unsightly to look at, ruining the effect of the whole plant in flower. Regular deadheading keeps your rose bush looking incredible.
On occasion, especially after heavy rain, dead flowers can turn a bit slimy or mushy. Not only are these not great to look at, but they can encourage the growth of fungal infections that can lead to stem die-back and damage your rose. Even if you decide not to regularly deadhead your rose, it’s important to keep on top of it after heavy rain.
Should I cut off rose hips? #
This is an entirely personal choice. Most rose growers remove spent blooms before hips can appear, for the reasons listed above. However, hips can also be beautiful to see, ranging in colour, shape and size depending on the variety. They are a good source of food for wildlife, and can even be harvested for your own consumption (see here for our rose hip tea recipe!)
How often do I need to deadhead my rose? #
Deadheading a rose is an ongoing job throughout the season, but it doesn’t have to be intensive. Regular deadheading keeps your rose looking beautiful, growing strong and healthy. You should also check your roses after heavy wind or rain, as these can damage the blooms, and removing them encourages the production of more.
Equipment needed for deadheading roses #
- Sturdy and comfortable gloves – to protect your hands from thorns
- Sharp cutters – to quickly and efficiently remove dead flowers
- A container or bag for discarded cuttings
See our gardening essentials range for our hand picked selection of garden tools and equipment.
How to deadhead a rose #
Deadheading single flowered roses #
To deadhead single flowered roses, such as hybrid tea roses, cut off the dead bloom and approx 15cm of stem, ideally just above a strong and healthy leaf. The next flower shoot will start to grow from that leaf joint.
Deadheading cluster flowered roses #
To deadhead cluster flowered roses, such as floribunda roses, cut each flower from the cluster as the bloom starts to fade. Once all the flowers in a cluster have died, remove the whole stem back to a healthy leaf joint.
Deadheading climbing roses #
As these varieties grow tall, it can be harder to reach any spent blooms. That ok though, as realistically the faded blooms that are harder to reach are also harder to see! We would recommend deadheading once or twice through the season, just to keep on top of it but without it being too intensive for you to do.
Deadheading rambling roses #
Ramblers can also grow tall, so as above it is less important to regularly deadhead. Rambling roses also tend to only flower once per season in a large flush, so they can actually be pruned once they’ve finished flowering. See our pruning guide for more information.