Easy Pruning Tips for Flower Carpet roses

One of the beauties of  Flower Carpet roses (also often referred to as Carpet roses), is that they don’t require any fancy pruning.   Unlike most roses, you don’t have to worry about where you’re cutting along the stem or about pruning them any particular way.  You can simply use pruners or even hedge clippers  – which ever is easier for you.   Just cut them back to about 1/3 of their size or more.   Cutting them back will ensure a fuller and denser growth for the upcoming season, as well as loads of blooms.

Flower Carpet cut back

Here are the Flower Carpets in our Silvan, Australia Trial Gardens after their annual spring cut-back. Because of the large number of plants we have to deal with, we often use electric hedge shears to cut ours back and you can do the same thing.

Flower Carpet Cut Back 2

Here are our Flower Carpet roses about 4 weeks after their annual spring cut-back. As you can see, they’re putting out loads of new growth.

Flower Carpet full bloom

Here are the same Flower Carpets in late summer and full bloom.

When to cut them back . . .

The best time to cut back your Flower Carpet roses is in the early spring, which  depending upon your location, can be anytime between now and mid-April.

If you live in a warmer climate you’ll probably be dealing with plants that are still green and possibly even still in bloom.  Don’t worry though . . . pruning them will stimulate growth and  generate more blooms.  If you can easily identify any dead stems, cut those right back to the ground.

In colder climates,  if it’s been a really harsh winter and depending on how much snow cover you’ve had, you may find that most branches have died back to about 3-4  inches from the ground.  This  is normal for Zones 5 and colder.   If that’s the case, you can cut them back to a few inches and they’ll still reward you with loads of blooms, starting around late June and lasting through the first few frosts.  Once they start to green up, you’ll be to identify any totally dead branches.  Those can be cut back to ground level.

After pruning your Flower Carpets, pull away any old dead leaves and mulch to get rid of any soil fungal infestations.  Give them a good feeding of controlled-release fertilizer or something like Espoma’s Rose Food and that’s all you’ll need to do to get them started for another season of blooms!

Flower Carpet Scarlet

This Flower Carpet Scarlet was cut back to about 3 inches in early spring!


Don’t forget to check out our Caring for Flower Carpet in the Spring video for complete step-by-step instructions on spring care and pruning for your Flower Carpet roses and also a newer Flower Carpet Spring Care post with even more pruning details!


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15 Responses to Easy Pruning Tips for Flower Carpet roses

  1. Graciebelle February 7, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

    Thanks for these pruning tips – can’t wait ’til it’s warm enough to get out there and start to prune my Flower carpet roses.

  2. Bob Grochmal November 18, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

    thanks for the info I trim mine back a little bit already before the winter frost I hope that won’t hurt them.

    • Your Easy Garden Team November 19, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

      No it shouldn’t and they’ll be fine.

  3. Robyn Archer July 23, 2015 at 11:22 pm #

    I have a carpet rose in a large pot.It has been there for several years now.have cut it back plenty of times.but when will i know when it is to small for the pot.please
    also leaves stay around the inside of the pot shell i remove them when i see them sitting there.

    regards Robyn

    • Your Easy Garden Team July 24, 2015 at 3:04 pm #

      Hi Robyn,
      It really depends on how large the pot is. If you see roots coming out of the bottom holes of the pot, the plant’s probably root bound and needs to go into a larger plant. If it’s thriving and seems happy, it’s probably OK to leave it as is. Any dead leaves should always be removed to eliminate the risk of fungus that can gather on any dead leaves. Hope this helps!

  4. Rita August 3, 2015 at 3:34 pm #

    In the summer my carpet roses bloom and then the flowers go pale and die off before the next set of flowers appears. In other words, sometimes they look nice and sometimes they look like the color is bleached out and the flowers are dying. They go through a time when they are pretty and not pretty, over and over through the summer. I’m not sure if I should trim off the dead flowers (after all the petals fall off or about done) or just leave them. They don’t bloom on those branches anymore. I’d like them to be pretty all summer long but that’s not the case and I’m not sure if I can prune them during the summer when it’s hot. According to the USDA Plant Hardiness Map, I live in zone 7a. Can you give me any advice?

    • Your Easy Garden Team August 5, 2015 at 6:07 pm #

      Hi Rita,
      The bloom cycle you describe is pretty typical but they may need to be fed more often too. Because Flower Carpets are heavy bloomers, they should be fed in the early spring and early summer with an extended-release plant food like Osmocote or other similar products. If you weren’t able to do that earlier in the season, ask your local garden center for a good water-soluable flowering plant or rose fertilizer that you can apply now. In Zone 7, the latest you should feed your roses is mid September. If your roses are in full sun, when you water, make certain you do it long enough to get deep down into the roots. As to cutting off the spent blooms, yes, you can certainly cut off the branches with the spent blooms. You can cut them off anytime into the fall but don’t do any serious cut-back pruning until the plants go dormant in the winter time. Hope this helps!

  5. Wendy gardener October 24, 2015 at 5:53 am #

    Do i cut my rosetrees while there still flowering

    • Your Easy Garden Team October 25, 2015 at 2:38 pm #

      Sure, they’ll be fine.

  6. David Kreps January 19, 2016 at 1:01 am #

    I’ve left my roses (yellow, about six bushes total) alone for a season to “naturalize,” and they have done well. But they grew up rather than out—each has put out a very strong (and fairly tall) central cane, on which was most of last season’s action. It is time to prune (I’m on the San Francisco peninsula), and I’m guessing that I want to take the central canes back nearly to ground height (say, 6″ above ground) to encourage more spread. But I figured I should check before doing anything irrevocable.

    • Your Easy Garden Team January 19, 2016 at 1:25 pm #

      Yes, you’re exactly right! Cut back to 6 inches.

  7. Kaye May 8, 2016 at 7:23 pm #

    when is the bSt place to grow them mind are by the walk way and I think they needed moved so they don’t get in the way and I prune then and my husband things they should look like a box so I pruned them and because they are by the side walk I don’t like them there where us the best place to put them

    • Your Easy Garden Team May 11, 2016 at 1:50 pm #

      Plant in well drained soil where they have at least a meter of space all around them to grow.

  8. Angie May 24, 2016 at 6:15 am #

    Can you tell me when I should see green growth on my flower carpet roses? I live in zone 4. I believe they bloom late, around June but I thought we’d see green growth by now. I did not prune them back at all.


    • Your Easy Garden Team May 24, 2016 at 12:57 pm #

      In your zone you should start to see growth next month.

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