Pruning China roses

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Yvonne

  • Newbie
    • Giardino in Umbria
Pruning China roses
« on: March 24, 2013, 10:12:00 AM »
Here in Central Italy we find that China roses (also Noisettes and Tea) do well with very little watering. I have therefore planted lots of different varieties of Chinas to good(ish) effect. The problem now is pruning. I was advised by a China Rose expert not to prune for the first two years and then 'see how they are'. Now what? I find that normal floribunda methods do not work - the shrub does not seem to respond. I have read on various forums that the Chinas need not be pruned at all and in fact need the lattice of fine twiggy branches to maintain their structure. I also read on a forum in Southern California that in warmer climates it is best to prune in high summer after the first flush of blooms when the plants are fully dormant or 'estivating'. Does the MGS Forum have views and advice please?
I am an amateur gardener in central Italy, trying to create a waterwise garden at 430m - which is why I joined the MGS.

Trevor Australis

  • Sr. Member
Re: Pruning China roses
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2013, 11:15:54 PM »
 :) Hi Yvonne, I have about 50 Tea and China roses and have grown them here in this garden for 35 yrs.  The plants were already 8yrs old and were dug up from our former garden and transplanted very successfully. The China roses do not get any regular pruning from me. I simply cut out any dead wood and leave them alone except to cut off any bits that get in my way as I garden. That seems to work very well. China's have very odd growth habits and new growth shoots out in an ungainly manner, making them rather wayward, untidy garden plants so I just trim them as and when I need to. Anything more severe will only serve to reduce the number of flowers and I don't want that. 'Tipo Ideale' is one that is very close to wild and I find it has built up a very dense twiggy bush. Some of the others are more open. Little birds love the twiggy growth as it provides a safe nesting place from cats and dogs. The Tea roses I allow to grow into big bushes up to 3-4m high and 3m wide. They get quite twiggy too but I refrain from heavy pruning and just cut out anything dead and such branches that obstruct paths etc. Occasionally, say about 10yrs apart, I do prune them hard to re-invigorate a new framework of branches. my best advice is not to fuss too much about pruning old roses: in 45yrs of rose growing I've never managed to kill a rose by pruning it!!!
M Land. Arch., B. Sp. Ed. Teacher, traveller and usually climate compatible.

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Yvonne

  • Newbie
    • Giardino in Umbria
Re: Pruning China roses
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2013, 10:00:42 AM »
Thank you Trevor, that is most reassuring.
I think that in the course of time I will take out those branches that I misguidedly 'pruned' early on because they are an embarassment. But otherwise it leaves me free to get on with the other hundred-and-one more important jobs in the garden!
Yvonne
I am an amateur gardener in central Italy, trying to create a waterwise garden at 430m - which is why I joined the MGS.

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Fleur Pavlidis

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
Re: Pruning China roses
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2013, 06:13:17 PM »
I add my thanks for that, Trevor. It's good to know that the laissez-faire pruning I do by default is in fact the best way!
MGS member, Greece. I garden in Attica, Greece and Mt Goulinas (450m) Central Greece