pruning roses – talking roses July ’15

  • In the rose garden with Ludwig: luscious winter roses
  • Pruning Demos
  • Rose Care: Pruning Roses
  • Rose of the Month: ‘Tourmaline’
  • News from our Rose Centres:  Pruning Demos | Celebrations at Ludwig’s Rose Farm

‘Help us to be faithful gardeners of the spirit, who know that without darkness nothing comes to birth, and without light nothing flowers.’

May Sarton


I have just returned from Ludwig’s Star Rose centre in Assegai/Hillcrest in KZN and the incredible blooms are still vividly impressed on my mind. They were planted in September and have grown enormously; enough to be mistaken for mature established bushes. They were not only in full bloom, but still carried huge, unspoilt blooms and clusters in very intense colours. The reason for this – they were planted in deeply loosened soil, mixed by a skid steer excavator with our planting mix and lots of peanut shells. Each plant is watered by a mini sprinkler every 2nd day for an hour. However, one must not discount the local weather. With few rain showers and relative low humidity there was no fungus disease so little spraying was required. The present conditions of cool nights and clear cloudless days are what the roses like most. Having traveled far and wide last month to look at roses in France, I can say that I did not come across such a concentration of hundreds of varieties, properly grouped, which makes comparing and selection so very easy. These images say it all.


Ludwig’s Start Roses at the end of June                 ‘Brilliant Pink Iceberg


‘Momentum’                                                             ‘The Grannies’ are starting to tumble over as expected


The Anticos & tall hybrid teas


‘Otto de Jager’ is massive                                      ‘Spiced Coffee’


‘Deloitte & Touche’                                                  ‘Five Roses’

Giving a pruning demo in such luscious garden was not easy. One would think that such roses do not need pruning, but the bushes would grow too high, the blooms would get smaller and stems on the inside of the bushes would not receive any light and dry out. In short, without pruning, they would look messy in September. My advice to the visitors and our staff was to stop watering for about two weeks. With the withdrawal of water, the lower leaves on the bushes will quickly turn yellow and drop off and the roses will at least be semi-dormant by end July and ready to be pruned.


‘Passion of St Peters’ is ready to be pruned        ‘Guehlila’ with golden leaves and ripe hips is an attraction too

We almost had the same situation here in Pretoria. The roses took a set back after a few frosty nights and then just kept on flowering. Cutting down on the watering started the dormancy process.


‘Forever Busy’ in bloom                                           These yellow leaves are normal for winter

I hear it often said that now in winter we can take a rest. Not so. The start for saleable rose plants for the next season is in full swing. Budding material has to be cut off the plants before pruning, prepared and stored in a cool room. And then the pruning starts which keeps us busy for this month.


Budded roses ready for spring                                Saleable plants, pruned and ready for delivery


Pruning quick and easy                                          Our fields of fragrant cut roses are pruned


Freshly cut & prepared budwood ready for storage  ‘Iceberg’ in the greenhouse keeps on growing


I will be giving pruning demos at our rose centres on the following days:

Saturday 4 July at Ludwig’s Rose Farm, north of Pretoria, at 10.30 am;

Sunday 5 July Ludwig’s Roses Farm at 10.30am and Ludwig’s Roses Soleil, Lynnwood Road, at 2 pm.

Saturday 11 July and Sunday 12 July at Ludwig’s Roses Egoli, Glenferness, at 10.30 am.

Saturday 18 July at Ludwig’s Roses Winelands, Stellenbosch, at 10.30 am and at Ludwig’s Roses Cape Town, Constantia, at 2 pm.

Sunday 19 July at Ludwig’s Roses Winelands, Stellenbosch, at 10.30 am.

Entrance is free, no need to book. For more information contact Ludwig’s Roses at 012 5440144 or email or visit


We offer the service to gardeners living far away from our rose centres. Order your bare root roses that will be dispatched by Speed Post.

E-mail Johannes with your wish list of rose varieties.

Browse through our rose varieties here


Book your birthday celebration/kitchen or stork tea during June – August & receive free in-house décor such as bunting, vases, blackboards etc & décor set up worth R600. (This excludes flowers)

We also have great spa treatments that you can include in your day.

For bookings please contact Spiced Coffee Restaurant at 012 5440144 or




July is the month to prune roses for most regions in South Africa. With the roses growing and flowering into winter, as a result of our watering, fertilising and spraying, pruning in the second half of this month is gentler on the roses. However, if you want to get it done right now it will have no adverse consequences. The same applies if it has to be carried out in early August. It is only in regions which experience frost in Early September that the pruning is delayed to end August.

Pruning basically entails a cutting back, as stated in the Encyclopaedia, it is the removal of superfluous wood.

If you click here you find all the stages of pruning of the various rose types described and illustrated.

Watch our new quick & easy pruning videos on YouTube: 

Bush Roses







Stressed Roses

For those who would like a quick summary, here it is:

Why roses like pruning

Pruning gives roses a helping hand by cutting out dead and superfluous wood.

In spring, when the sap rises from the roots, it finds less resistance in last season’s basal stems compared to the older grey and often gnarled branches. These old woody stems are superfluous and should be cut out. Removing criss-crossing stems, weak twiggy growth and opening up the centre of the bush also gives the rose room to develop strong new shoots.

Which roses to prune

Pruning is most beneficial for hybrid tea, floribunda and the bush types of the English and nostalgia roses as well as standard roses. Miniature and groundcover roses just need to be shaped and tidied up with hedge clippers.

Different degrees of pruning

Light pruning is best for bushes that are spaced far apart or are growing in compacted soil in a shady position or with tallish companion plants surrounding them.

Cut the rose bush back to between 80 cm to 1 metre leaving several side stems on the main branches. Remove all the leaves. This forces the development of green leaves that give power to the roots.

Medium Pruning is for gardeners who feel that their roses need more pruning than light pruning but that severe pruning is too extreme.

Cut the rose bush back to between 80cm to 1m. Inspect the remaining growth to see which main stems (this season’s growth) or branches (two years or older growth) should remain. Select three or four suitable stems and reduce the length by a further 10 to 20cm. Remove or shorten remaining side stems and forks.

Severe Pruning is suitable for roses planted very close together, or grew very tall last season. This is also the best method for floribunda roses, except ‘Iceberg’.

Cut the rose back as you would for light and moderate pruning but shorten the remaining stems to 40cm. Remove or shorten remaining side stems and forks.

But a word of warning: only prune the bushes severely if you intend enriching the soil after pruning and if there is a regular programme of watering and fertilising the roses during the growing season.

Roses that only receive sporadic attention, should not be severely pruned because they will not rejuvenate satisfactorily afterwards. Rather opt for light pruning.

Pruning climbers

Pruning and espaliering of climbing roses, which includes our PanarosaTM range, entails training them up on vertical supports, such as pillars, walls, fences and pergolas. It is easier and more effective if the climbing canes are bowered or secured in a horizontal or fanned position. Here are some images that show how it can look.


Bowering climbing canes on a frame                     a long climbing shoot is trained horizontal is sprouting from every eye

The vertically stretched wiring makes tying climbers easy

Stakes, riet or bamboo make an attractive frame for espaliering a climber


Pull off all the leaves. Dig over the beds to the depth of 20cm incorporating last season’s mulch and additional quantities of organics, home made compost if possible and even some composted or decomposed pig or chicken manure. Vigorosa can also be mixed in.

Water very well after digging over the beds and keep on watering at least weekly until September when the watering cycle should be increased.

ROSE OF THE MONTH ‘Tourmaline’

Shapely, pointed buds unfold into open, cup shaped blooms, displaying a most interesting colour combination of basic white with an edge of pink which flows softly down the petals & fades into white. The bushes grow vigorously & produce long, sturdy stems & lush, glossy foliage.


As usual the Winter Demonstrations are free of charge and no booking is required.

The Rose Care products will be available and you can have your secateurs serviced and sharpened during the demonstration for R15.00 per secateurs.


north of Pretoria on the N1 | 012 5440144

Although it may be chilly, our restaurant offers divine warm drinks, the children’s playground is huge and for groups of 6 or more we will get the tractor train running over the holiday period.

Pruning Demonstrations on Saturday 4th July and Sunday 5th July at 10h30


Lynnwood Rd, PTA on the N1 | 012 817 2099

Pruning Demonstration on Sunday 5th July at 14h00


97 Lachlan Rd, Glenferness, JHB | 011 458 60451

Pruning Demonstrations: Saturday 11th July and Sunday 12th July at 10h30

The hail netting over the roses seems to have kept the light frost out and a lot of the roses are in bud and coming into bloom and the pruning will be kept back to late July unless heavy frost puts an end to the flowering season.


Roses are still blooming at Egoli                             ‘Eyes for You’


6 Fraser Rd, Assagay, KZN | 081 380 8496

I was pleased to have so many keen gardeners wanting to learn more about pruning for the demo last weekend. Tongue in cheek – look at the images – nobody in the world has that many attendees for a pruning demo.

Nobody has this many visitors for a pruning demo……..


R304, near Stellenbosch, WC | 021 884 4552

At Winelands – Pruning Demonstrations : Saturday 18th July and Sunday 19th July at 10h30


Chart Farm, Klaassens Rd, Wynberg | 071 640 9565

Pruning Demo is on Saturday 18th July at 14h00

Rose greetings,

Ludwig Taschner