Popular Roses and How to Prune Them

Pruning Strategy by Rose Type, Such as Hybrid Tea, Floribunda, and Knockouts

Welcome to the rose pruning sorter! This article will help you sort your rose into the type it belongs to, and then send you in the right direction for more specific tips if you need them. Whether you know your rose’s name, color, or even just its size and growing pattern, this page can help you make good pruning decisions for it.

Each type has a brief blurb of the pruning strategy, followed by details that identify the group. The link in each group directs you to a page with more details on its...MORE pruning. Plants that are grafted have rogue-type rootstocks that will produce suckers that must be removed.

  • 01 of 07


    Pruning strategy for miniature roses: These are pretty easy to know how to prune. In spring, use shears to cut their height in half, and later during the bloom season, deadhead with shears. If you are willing to take more time and care, you can instead prune them in early spring as you would hybrid tea roses.

    Appearance: Under three feet usually. Look like doll-roses, with scaled-down flowers and leaves.

    Grafted? No.

  • 02 of 07

    Hybrid Teas

    Close-Up High Angle View Of Hybrid Tea Rose
    Susan Fox / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Pruning strategy for hybrid tea roses: This is the most intensive rose to prune. Every early spring, cut out all of the plant except for a chosen handful of thicker, healthy, strong canes that you cut back by a third or so of their length. Deadhead blooms to a strong node. Rip out all suckers by hand.

    Appearance: Four to five feet high. One flower to a stem, not flowering in clusters.

    Grafted? Always.

  • 03 of 07
    Floribunda roses
    'Else Poulsen' (Poulsen 1924), an early Floribunda cultivar. By Anna reg - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 at, Link

    Pruning strategy for floribunda roses: Same as hybrid tea but leave behind a denser, twiggier growth in a dome shape. Using shears to achieve this is ok.

    Appearance: About three feet high. Many small flowers in clusters.

    Grafted? Usually.


  • 04 of 07


    Wild Blue Yonder Rose
    Rosa Wild Blue Yonder, grandiflora rose, All America Rose Selection. Georgianna Lane / Getty Images

    Pruning strategy for grandiflora roses: Same as hybrid teas.

    Appearance: Up to six feet. Flowers in clusters of five to seven.

    Grafted? Always.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Shrub Roses

    Rainbow Knock Out Rose
    Rosa Rainbow Knock Out, All America Rose Selection. Georgianna Lane / Getty Images

    Pruning strategy for shrub roses: Low maintenance, just deadheading and some cane removal to keep in control and rejuvenated. Knock Out and other recent popular low-maintenance varieties don’t even need deadheading.Varies based on final size and bloom period.

    Appearance: Varies from low ground cover to a huge sprawling shrub.

    Grafted? Usually not.

  • 06 of 07

    Climbing Rose

    Climbing Rose
    A Rosa 'Bantry Bay' climbs along a wall. © Patrick Johns/Corbis/VCG / Getty Images

    Pruning strategy for climbing roses: Allow plant to grow wildly for a few years, then choose a few long canes and remove others. Bend long canes to a fence or trellis and tie there. In subsequent years, cut back to near the long canes. Remove and replace old and weakening long canes as needed.

    Appearance: Unlimited. Trained on a support by tying up a number of selected, very long canes. 

    Grafted? Sometimes.

  • 07 of 07

    Old-Fashioned Roses

    Gallica Rose
    Gallica Rose "Charles de Mills". By Amanda Slater [ CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

    These simply refer to the selections of roses popular before the rise of hybrid tea roses. In terms of pruning care, these will fall into the category of shrub roses or, if climbers, climbing roses.