How To Cut Back Overgrown Rose Bushes By 4 Steps

I love roses ever since I can remember. I didn’t know before that I need to trim it down to keep it healthy and produce the loveliest blooms. I don’t want my roses to be touched for fear it will die. All I did was water it regularly and pick some of its flowers. However, after I learned how to take care of it, pruning once a year gives the best out of it.

Have you neglected your roses? Don’t worry, it’s never too late.


There are two kinds of rose plants. One-time bloomers produce flowers only once a year while the repeat bloomers do so twice or even all throughout. The most beautiful heirloom rose only blooms once a year, while many of the hybrid plants (modern shrub roses and climbers) are more on repeat bloomers.

Do you know that it’s a good thing to own a one-time bloomer? They are now very rare. In fact, you may be the only one who has it in your entire area. These beauties are the first to bloom in early summer. Therefore, know your rose.

How To Cut Back Overgrown Rose Bushes: A Step-by-Step Guide

Pruning your roses is beneficial to your rose plants. In return, the plants will be healthy and give flowers all throughout the season. The best time to cut back roses is on spring when the buds start to swell on your rose plants. The bumps on the canes should be huge and reddish in hue by then. Timing your pruning before those buds open.

Here is a short tutorial on how to cut back your overgrown roses:

What You Will Need

  • Long sleeve shirt: To protect you from the scorching sun
  • Thorn-resistant gloves (leather or coated): To protect your hands from sharp thorns
  • Garden Cutter (bypass pruners and long-handled loppers): To be used to cut back the roses
  • Hydrogen Peroxide: Used to disinfect the blades
  • Sturdy Shoes: Feet Protection
  • Goggles: Safety for the eyes

Steps On How To Do It


Work safely. It is essential that you should wear suitable clothes and bring important tools before doing the trimming of your roses. I prefer to do it in the afternoon when the heat of the sun is not that strong. But if you’re going to do it on a hot sunny day, you need to prepare yourself for protection.

Believe me; It is better to be ready rather than dressing a wound after.


  • Put on your gardening attire. Wear shoes, long sleeves, and long pants to protect your skin from the sun. The clothes are protection from sharp thorns. 
  • Wear your thorn-resistant gloves and safety goggles. Thick gloves, coated or leather material will do as long as it will protect your hands from the thorns and from the hard garden scissors or cutters.
  • If you’re using garden shears, dip the blades into hydrogen peroxide to disinfect that blades before starting the activity.
  • Assemble your tools. Ensure that all are sharp. Blunt blades can damage your roses.

When the above steps are done, then you are ready to cut back your rose plants.




Check your rose plant first from top to the base. Roses tend to open at ground level for sufficient sunlight. Overgrown bushes intertwine on the ground, so expect many fuzzy tip growths instead of packed canes shielded with buds.


Reach Out
  • Don’t be in a hurry. Trim a part out of the side of the rose plant using a portable pruner to clear your way to the center of the bushes.
  • Reach out to each of your rose plants. Start snipping off dead or dried-out canes. Prune surely, one at a time.
It takes a lot of energy to support thick or matured canes, that’s why they can’t produce many flowers. The best canes that give the flowers are the young and new shoots. Some rose bushes stand pruning well, you’ll be happy to see plenty of flowers the next year.


Trim Off
  • Snip out all the dried canes starting at the base of the rose. Use the loppers to cut the denser canes while you can use the pruners for the smaller ones.
  • Leave at least 1/3 of the healthy canes of the rose plant. To give you an idea, its size should be near like a pencil’s diameter. Then you can work on getting rid of the rest of the canes using your hand pruners.
  • Then again, trim half of the remaining canes of the plants. Snip each stem for about ¼ inch on top of a leaf bud that is facing outwards. Make it at 45-degree angle. It is best to make the cut a slanting style making the direction away from the bud. Spread over wood glue on the surface of the cut stems. Sealing them and avoiding wood borers to penetrate inside the stems.
  • Trim all leaves from the left behind stems. To eliminate suckers, try digging down to the roots. Take it out where it originates to avoid more of them to grow. 


Tidy Up

Tidy up, and clean the ground surrounding each rose plant. Remove all the cutout leaves to discourage fungal infection that the dead leaves may hold. Apply rose plant fertilizers at the base.

remember that

Do not panic when you don’t see new blooms the next season. Give time for your plants to recover. A year after, you’ll be surprised to see plenty of flowers.

Don’t be scared to prune overgrown roses after many blooms. Pruning makes the plants healthy. Do this annually as part of the proper rose care.

  • It controls their shape
  • It encourages new blooms
  • It improves air circulation
  • It lessens plant diseases

    As gardeners would say, “You must be brave to prune your roses.” I totally understand what they mean now that I know how to cut back overgrown rose bushes. It does not mean overcoming the thorns while cutting the thick bushes, but the determination to do so with ample love and care.

    Have you tried trimming your roses? Do it. It’s fun, therapeutic and fulfilling!

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