How to Prune Flower Carpet Roses

By now you’ve probably heard that Flower Carpet® roses were very easy to prune, but you still may wonder how, why and when to do it. It’s simple – just follow these instructions, or check out this video by Growing Wisdom garden expert Dave Epstein.

Why . . .

It’s simple – cutting your Flower Carpets back helps to ensure that they’ll provide a fuller and denser growth and loads of new blooms.

drougt tolerant roses

This Flower Carpet Red is planted along a narrow strip between the road and sidewalk in Southern CA. After being cut back in early March (left) it produced tons of blooms on a nice full plant, despite the high radiant surface heat.


When . . .

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.

bullet-proof Flower Carpet roses

These Flower Carpet Scarlets, growing in Vermont, had to be cut back severely after a very frigid winter. By early July, they were in full bloom!


How . . .

Generally Flower Carpets should be cut back by 2/3 or as far back to the ground as needed, depending on how much winter kill they got. No fancy pruning required.  Just cut them back with hedge sheers, hand pruners or even electric hedge clippers!

If you’re in a warmer climate it’s still important to prune them to stimulate new growth. It’s normal to find a few dead stems; if you do, just cut back to the ground.

If you’re in a cold climate (Zone 5 or colder), depending on how harsh your winter was, you might find that some branches have died back to about 3-4 inches from the ground.  This is normal. Just cut those back to a few inches as needed and your Flower Carpets will 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.

Flower Carpet roses are “own root” which means that they’ll send up new growth from the ground too, not just on their existing branches. So, even if you had a horrendously cold winter and your Flower Carpets look like they’re a goner, pull back any heavy mulch, remove any dead leaves and watch for signs of new growth later in the spring.

Flower Carpet roses

The Flower Carpet Pink Supreme roses were all pruned back practically to ground level after a sub-zero New England winter, but quickly came to size and were in full bloom by Father’s Day.

And the last step . . .

Don’t forget to add a handful or two of a good balanced fertilizer, similar to a 10-10-10, or a fertilizer formulated for roses.   Water well if you haven’t had a recent rain or snow cover.


Did your roses suffer rabbit or rodent damage?   Click here for another helpful post that will help you identify and solve those problems.








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5 Responses to How to Prune Flower Carpet Roses

  1. carmel booth March 9, 2017 at 9:15 pm #

    I love my flower carpet roses! They are so easy, bloom all summer and stay compact for easy gardening! Thanks!

  2. joy May 30, 2017 at 11:07 pm #

    They look magnificant… many thorns do they have and what size? I have three small dogs and worry about their eyes

  3. Your Easy Garden Team May 31, 2017 at 2:57 pm #

    Flower Carpet roses do have thorns, as with most roses. We’ve never heard of any problems with dogs though. Because of Flower Carpet’s low -rowing groundcover habit and lush foliage and blooms, it’s unlikely that the dogs would be near the thorns if they’re casually out and about in the garden. If your dogs are heavy diggers in your gardens though, you’ll probably want to stay away from anything with thorns.

  4. Kit September 27, 2017 at 11:55 am #

    I love my flower carpet roses and I have seven of them. My sister thought she could help stimulate the growth of the roses by pruning a lot of it and she did it without telling me. When I saw the bushes, I was shocked. She cut down a lot of the branches. I mean “a lot” It’s only late September right now and the roses are still blooming. She said she cut off all the ugly branches. I live in CT. Would that kill the rose bushes? Thanks.

  5. Your Easy Garden Team September 27, 2017 at 4:04 pm #

    Hi Kit,
    Given the strong heat you’re having right now, you should be OK. Cutting the branches signals the plant to send out more roots/growth which can be damaged once the temps drop but you should be fine. As an extra precaution, you may want to add a little extra winter protection around the base (leaves, mulch, etc.) Please feel free to send us photos anytime to We’d love to see them!

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