Iceberg Roses – Winter Pruning

Iceberg Roses should be shown off to be the beauty queens of the garden, which they are. And like in any beauty pageant, there are certain rules and a few tricks to growing spectacularly beautiful roses.

Roses should be rigorously pruned back in the late winter – usually late July to August, once the frost is gone. (If you live in a heavy frost area, you can delay pruning until late August-early September).

General Rules for Winter Pruning Iceberg Roses

  1. Always use clean, sharp secateurs to get the cleanest cut possible.
  2. Avoid tearing or splitting branches as this creates open “wounds” which will be susceptible to fungus.
  3. Don’t put the leaves and/or branches of sick and diseased roses on the compost heap. Rather burn these to avoid the possibility of spreading the disease any further.
  4. If you want to move the location of a rose bush, now is the time to do so!
  5. Depending on what your goal is, the general rule is that one half to two-thirds of the height of the rose bush is what you will cut away.

How to prune

  1. Bring all the branches together and make your initial cut about one-quarter of the height of the rose bush.
  2. Cutaway some of the branches of the bush. This makes room for new shoots and side shoots in Spring.
  3. Cut out all dead branches and twigs and old woods. (Old woods tend to be darker in colour and are “woodier”).
  4. Cut off the branches that look as if they are growing towards the centre of the plant. You should attempt to create a bowl-shaped bush.
  5. Avoid overlapping branches. This creates friction wounds as they rub together in the wind or any other movement.
  6. Remove any leaves that might still be left on the bush.
  7. The final cut of each branch should be about 5 to 10cm above the outward-facing node.

A Few Handy Tips

  1. It is not necessary to seal the cut ends of the branches after pruning
  2. Do not feed the rose bush directly after pruning. Leave feeding for approximately one month after pruning then feed with organic granular plant food.
  3. Aerate the soil around the base of the rose after pruning to encourage air to flow to the roots.

With this very important “beauty regiment” in the bag, you will most certainly reap the rewards of encouraging a healthier rose bush with more profuse blooming. The Iceberg rose blooms repeatedly giving you the benefit of a longer flowering period in the summer! Be sure to dead-head spent blooms in order to encourage repeated flowering!