So if like ours your roses have taken a battering with the recent unseasonal weather then you might want to start to think about a touch of deadheading.
I don’t really fear tackling those flowers that have already put on their display and are looking the worse for wear but I always worry about taking the secateurs to those that are still hanging on. It seems such a shame to start cutting them off now but sometimes we need to be cruel to be kind.
The reason we deadhead is to encourage the plant to send it’s energy into either existing buds that have yet to open or back into the plant to grow stronger and healthier for possibly a second flourish, or for the following year.
If we don’t do that then the slimy petals might start to harbour pests that in turn might lead to disease and stem dieback – you can just about make that out in the photo where some of the stems in the background are a darker colour.
Different plants require a different approach, and require deadheading at different times of the growing season. For now let’s look at our roses.
If you’ve got roses with multiple flowers then you might want to start looking at those on each cluster that are now showing signs of having had better days. Gently hold the cluster and using either a pair of sharp scissors or your secateurs snip out the flowers that you want to remove. Leave those that look better and those buds that have yet to open for another day. And enjoy the fragrance as you do so! Once all the flowers in the cluster have done their thing then simply take off the entire stem.
If your roses are the variety that have one flower on each stem, or if any multi-flowered stems have only had one flower that is now past it’s best, then snip off the flowerhead and about an inch and a half of stem. If you can take this back to a strong looking leaf then the next flower shoot will grow from that.
This is the approach we tend to follow when we also remove the final stem from those multiple-flowering roses we mentioned earlier.
Tackling a rambling or climbing rose requires a slightly different approach – but the months of July and August – when invariably they’ve finished flowering is an excellent time to do it. We’ll look at that when we start to prune ours shortly. When the weather dries up!
If you want to give it a go yourself make sure your scissors or secateurs are sharp and have been disinfected. Enjoy the job and wear gloves if you’re worried the thorns might get their own back. Whatever you do make sure you take deep breaths and take in the scents as you do it.