Can I prune our Rugosa rose bushes that are planted on a large terrace bed on our condo balcony?
It is south west facing and has become quite overgrown.
Should I wait until the spring?
Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners about your Rugosa rose.
The best time for pruning roses is in early spring when leaf buds on the canes swell and are ready to break. However, any damaged or diseased stems should be removed when they appear.
Here is a brief guide on how to prune:
- Disinfect your pruning tools.
- Select the thickest canes to preserve.
- Remove weak canes from the interior to promote good air circulation.
- Cut back one-quarter to one-half the height of the tallest remaining canes. Make cuts at an angle, just above an outward facing bud to encourage outward growth.
- Aim to prune the shrub so the growth is balanced on all sides.
- When the first flush of flowers is finished, cut flowering canes back by half their height to stimulate new flower-bearing wood.
The article How to prune roses/Gardenmaking by Judith Adam provides helpful guidance on this topic. Another excellent resource is Growing and caring for roses by Ursula Schuch.
Rugosa roses are low maintenance, relatively long living plants. With proper care, you should be able to enjoy their blooms for several years.