Deadheading roses sounds more ominous than it really is. Find out about why it can help improve your blossoming throughout the season.
Why to deadhead….
Normally, once a blossom has a ripening hip or fruit, it will not generate more flowers until that fruit is gone. Cutting the dead blossom will cause your plant to grow a new blossom in its place, so you can have multiple flowerings throughout the season. It also may help control pests that are feeding on the dead flowers and open up the sunlight to lower parts of the plant.
Where to deadhead….
A general rule of thumb is to cut at the stem at the junction of the first leaf group. Just understand that the larger diameter stem opening that you leave, the larger the new bloom, and the longer it will take to grow. This means that pruning further down the stem will usually make bigger blooms, but a longer period. Generally, you will want to cut deeper into the stem for multiple blossum bloomers than ones that produce one. This is a good rule for hybrids. Figure on 4-8 weeks to reproduce.
For old-fashioned and antiques, just cut the dead blossums at the head as they die. Once all the blossums in a group are finished, you can cut deeper down on the stem.
How to deadhead….
Get your trusty rose pruners and cut using a slanted forty-five degree angle on the stem. You can also just break the stem at the leaf junction, but this will lead to smaller flowers.
If you have a problem with cane borers, use some basic white glue or gardening shellac to protect the ends. Otherwise, the plant will heal itself.
You should stop pruning spent blossums toward the end of the fall, no later than a few weeks before the first frost. The open canes are weak against cold weather.
NOTE: This will ONLY work with breeds that are supposed to have repeat blossums! However, you may want to prune dead blossoms if you have problems with pests that eat and live on them.
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