The Kindest Cut

Tips on how to properly cut your outdoor roses.



Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind—when it comes to roses, that is. Roses do beautifully in Florida, but you’ve got to care for them properly if you want to enjoy their fragrant blooms.

The most important thing is cut them back. Way back. Sometimes you even have to sacrifice a promising bud or two if the canes (what the “branches” are called on a rosebush) have gotten too tall.

You don’t want your roses to spend all their energy producing canes when it’s better spent producing blooms, and the way to accomplish that is through prudent pruning. Trim off, or “deadhead,” all dead blooms—or better yet, cut them in full bud and bring them inside to enjoy. This will encourage the plant to produce more blooms.

Then, cut any overgrown canes at a 45-degree angle a quarter inch above a “bud eye,” the red knobs that produce branches. Also, prune any “suckers,” which are new plants growing adjacent to the existing bush. They’ll take nutrients from your flowering bush, so they need to go.

By showing your roses a little tough love, you’ll have plenty of blossoms all summer long. And don’t forget to pamper them with regular feeding to keep them lush and healthy.

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