How to Prune a Tea Rose

Many rose species (Rosa spp.) , like hybrid tea roses, require hard pruning to be able to maintain producing an abundance of blooms, but tea roses often suffer because of pruning. Tea roses, tea-scented roses descended from China and hybridized with European roses, can easily grow to 20 feet or taller, but you must be patient with your pruning hand to allow the plant to reach its entire dimensions and shape. While you would prune long, wild canes on contemporary rose bushes, you must wait a few years to allow tea roses to fill out.

Eliminate all dead canes back to the ground during the entire year as they grow; that is done at any stage after putting the tea rose. Cut straight through the cane together with bypass pruners to create room for fresh, healthy canes.

Permit the base of the plant to fill with canes until it becomes straggly in appearance with multiple crossing and rubbing branches; that can take three to five years to get new plants, and also a few old plants need pruning only every other year. Prune the tea roses in early spring just as the buds start to grow along the sides of the canes.

Remove any old canes which do not have many developing buds on the sides; trim these back to the ground. Look at the cane color as an indicator of age and flowering ability; newer canes often have reddish or plum-colored tips, while older canes are dark green to brownish.

Measure back in the tea rose and scrutinize the structure after removing old canes. If the structure seems to be open in the middle, then no further pruning should be required. If the plant still looks tangled at the foundation, then added pruning is essential.

Clip any rubbing or crossing canes; remove branches which are growing toward the middle of the plant in favor of outward-growing branches which keep the center open.

Cut canes only above an outward-facing bud if you need to reduce the magnitude of a cane to reduce the size of the entire plant. The rose will branch out in the direction of the bud.

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