pruning time is here! Talking Roses in June ’17

Talking Roses with Ludwig

  • In the rose garden with Ludwig
  • Rose Care for July
  • Pruning demos & an art class & discount on rose plants
  • Rose of the Month
  • News from our Rose centres

Everything has seasons and we have to be able to recognise when something’s time has passed and be able to move into the next season. Everything that is alive requires pruning as well, which is a great metaphor for endings.

Henry Cloud

In the Rose Garden with Ludwig

Are roses not just amazing? Many are still flowering so well, that it will be hard to prune them later this month.

Forever Busy end June

‘Forever Busy’ is still very busy flowering at the end of June.

Gold Reef mid June

‘Gold Reef’ is in full flower right now.

our display blooms in June

The sheer size of the Winter blooms is glorious.

amazing colour of Red Intuition in June

The colour contrast of ‘Red Intuition’ in winter is even more impressive.

Orange Sparkle in June

‘Orange Sparkle’ doesn’t just sparkle it glows!

We reduced our irrigation cycle to once a week as the cool winter weather set in. It helps the plants become dormant and saves water.

Soon thereafter, I noticed stickiness on the leaves and lots of aphids crawling amongst the petals. The reduced water uptake, concentrates the sap within the plant, it becomes much sweeter and the aphids can simply not resist!

aphids note the sticky leaves

Aphids can simply not resist “sweetend” sap.

Peanut shells are an important ingredient in our substrate mix for our plants and a most important soil conditioner for us and gardeners alike.

In the 2016 harvest season very few peanuts were planted and our stock pile had just about run out.

Due to the good rains this season, it is with great relief that farmers are having a bumper crop. We are busy carting in fresh peanut shells. The doves and guinea fowls, as you can see, are also very happy.

peanut shells

Not only doves and guinea fowls love peanuts.

Gleaned from Farmer’s Weekly: World-wide annual peanut production is some 30 million tons. Due to the drought in 2016, production in South Africa dropped to 17 000 tons from the normal 80 000 tons per annum.

I joined a group tour of South African Flower Growers to attend IFTEX (International Flower Trade Exhibition) held in Nairobi, Kenya.

The quality and novelty of roses on display by the rose breeders and producers was simply mind boggling.

We trial some of the cut rose varieties here. The Kenyan climate is so ideal that we struggle to compete.

With 12 hours daylight, all year round and moderate, even temperatures at an elevation around 2000m the roses do not know about short-day dormancy and just keep on flowering.

Obviously, the irrigation, exacting nutrition, pest control (much of it biological) and exacting plant management ensure a good leaf canopy. The cost for local growers to imitate the ideal climate, especially in winter, is just too high and we allow our roses to rest.


Arrangements of the varieties on display at the exhibition.


Kenyan cut flowers of an impeccable quality.


The cut roses growing in the greenhouses.

grass heart

“Grass heart” roses are thought to become a fashion trend.

We have featured these ‘Afrikaans’ roses repeatedly. It truly is a superlative Floribunda that makes a statement.

They have flowered non-stop for two years. The one on the left was not pruned last winter. It made no difference in performance.

Even so they are still looking good and carry many blooms, I have decided to prune them both.

 Afrikaans partially pruned

‘Afrikaans’ is a superlative rose that simply carries on blooming.

Winter Pruning demonstrations

Let us show you how easy it is to prune your roses. We give practical tips on how to cut them back, what products to use and what fertilisers to apply.

You will leave the demo confident to tackle pruning of any thorny rose! Free of charge to all.

You are welcome to bring your gardener who prunes your roses with for this insightful demo on pruning your roses in winter.

  • July 1 and 2: Ludwig’s Rose Farm at 10.30 am.
  • July 2: Ludwig’s Pretoria East at 2 pm.
  • July 8 and 9: Ludwig’s Roses Egoli at 10.30 am.
  • July 15: Ludwig’s Roses Cape Town at 2 pm.
  • July 15 and 16: Ludwig’s Roses Winelands at 10.30 am.
  • July 22 at Ludwig’s Roses Big Red Barn at 10.00 am.

Bring your pruning shears and loppers for a service against a small fee.

Browse through our garden shops and stock up on insect spray, fungicides and fertiliser for the next season.

Working in peanut shells and or our renowned planting mix around your roses is the wisest pruning activity of all.

As winter is such a beneficial time to plant roses, all rose plants are on a -15% discount from the 1st to the 16th of July at all our rose centres.  

Art Class

Learn how to paint oil on canvas at Ludwig’s Roses.

15 July from 9:30 – 13:00

Cost: 70.00

Contact: Janine 072 239 3868 or

click here for the info sheet…

Step by Step Rose Care for July

It is time to attend to winter pruning. Let us make it easy!

It makes very little difference if pruning is carried out in early, mid or late July.

School holidays might determine the timing, but also how many flowers the plants still carry.

If you do not have the heart to cut down flowering bushes right now, it is okay to delay, but by the end of July they will be ready for that cut.

Forever Busy

Even though ‘Forever Busy’ is still in full flower, the blooms have been cut off and the plants pruned.

Why Prune?

Many, many years ago, when I typed the first column on winter pruning for ROSA on my old Royal type writer, I looked up the meaning in my Reader’s Digest Encyclopedia. It stated that pruning means the removal of superfluous wood. Not any explanation as to what wood is superfluous. However, having pruned roses, fruit trees and shrubs for years, I could picture what was meant.

When pruning roses, superfluous means any stem or branch that is not able to produce nice, long and strong stemmed blooms in Spring.

Fiddly side-stems and forks and stems growing too close to each other should be removed. Three or four main, good looking stems should be kept and they should be cut back to knee height.


Visit our YouTube channel for easy clips on how to prune the different types of roses…

Back to basics

Roses are deciduous and they naturally become dormant as the days get shorter and temperatures get colder.

This means that food in the leaves is converted and stored beneath the bark. When the days start getting longer and the temperatures higher the stored food, mostly starches, is reconverted to sugar and hormones.

The hormones flow to the roots and tell them to start absorbing water and push it upwards.

As the roots comply in accordance to availability, the water is pushed to the endpoints of every twig and branch so that the dormant eyes swell and sprout.

By then active communication is taking place. Hormones from the roots flow up and tell the sprouting eyes how much water and food is available. The eyes then react and develop accordingly.

If one does not prune, there are so many more eyes that need to sprout. The available water then needs to be distributed to all the eyes. This results in many new leaves and very short stems that do not form flower buds – blind shoots.

Pruning is carried out so that the number of remaining stems and branches are decreased. With fewer eyes, the water and nutrition absorbed by the roots is channeled to the top eyes of the remaining stems. The result is very strong sprouting which yields sturdy stems and quality blooms.

Knowing the growth potential of a variety will help to make the right decision. On a very tall growing variety such as ‘Andrea Stelzer’ one could allow more stem ends to have more blooms on not such long stems.

Whereas on a free-flowering variety such as ‘Duftwolke’ or ‘Electron’ one removes more stems to have fewer blooms of a higher quality.

When it comes to many Floribundas one must not make the mistake that light pruning results in more blooms. They should be pruned back harshly since one expects them to produce new stems with a cluster of 3, 5 and more blooms.

Where and at what angle the cut is placed on the stem is not so important. The upper most eyes will sprout and the plant will know how to balance out the direction of the sprouting stems.

pruning HT compact bush

A compact Hybrid Tea bush.

The pruned compact Hybrid Tea bush.

Several eyes started to sprout at the tip of each pruned stem and even new basals are pushing through.

pruning a HT

A chest high Hybrid Tea.

The remaining pruned framework of stems.

A Spire before the cut.

The pruned Spire.

Note the sprouting of the top eyes on the Spire.

A Panarosa rose ready for pruning.

The pruned Panarosa.

A standard ‘Nona’.

Pruned back hard so that it has a neat shape in Spring.

If the roses did not grow very vigorously the past season, it means that the root expansion was limited.

Not enough water to the roots is usually the reason. It could be due to insufficient water being applied, soil compaction or root competition from other trees or shrubs.

It is best to find out the cause before pruning and to then alleviate it. As stated above, the hormonal communication between roots and leaves plays an important role. The roots will communicate the limitation of available water and advise the making of lots of green leaves, rather than wasting any strength on producing a flower bud.

Such new leaves will then be green and not the usual sappy, reddish purple colour. This is so that photosynthesising can start and immediately feed the roots.

If your rose has been struggling, it is best to carry out a light pruning instead of cutting down severely. Leave many younger side stems, which will sprout small green leaves.

It will then depend on whether the roots will be able to stretch out or not.

If the soil around the roses has been loosened and aerated with compost, then water will be able to penetrate to the roots and shortly after having sprouted with the small green leaves, strong, reddish shoots will appear and the bush will be on its way to flowering well again.

Where water is available, and normal rose care is carried out, the roses may be pruned back more severely and all side stems should be removed.

The water and nutrition being pushed upwards by the roots is now concentrated in fewer sprouting eyes and these will form nice, strong stems and large blooms or clusters.

Very vigorous roses (Spires, Panarosa and Climbers as well as many Colourscape roses) already have a much wider root system and since their major canes are not stiffly vertical but are arching or spread out, it is not necessary to cut back too much and they will still flower strongly. However, here too, one needs to consider what is and is not superfluous wood.

Finally – you cannot prune a rose wrongly. So there is no need to be scared of hurting or damaging the plants. To them it is like what having a hair cut is to us.

With the roses being dormant at pruning time, the sap flow is very gradual and this allows digging quite deeply around the roses, mixing in compost or manure and very advantageously, VIGOLONGER fertiliser.

how to apply vigolonger

Follow this link to see how you can apply Vigolonger to boost your roses for 8 months after pruning! 

After such a rigorous procedure, it is important to water very well to avoid the roots drying out. In the summer rainfall region watering needs to start soon after pruning, once a week to start with, increasing it to twice a week and every second day as the temperatures rise and the roses begin to sprout.

To avoid early pest activity, it is safe to spray after pruning with Ludwig’s Insect Spray at double the recommended rate (instead of 50ml use 100ml in 10 litres of water). The oily component of the spray will have a suffocating action.

Roses of the Month: Winter Sun KORbatam (N)

This is an irresistible, must have rose. The perfect symmetry of the classical shape paired with the strong fragrance is simply exquisite.

The colour can vary from a light yellow centre, surrounded by lemoney cream petals as the bloom unfolds; to a stronger yellow during the cooler autumn and winter days.

The bush neatly grows to chest height and is covered with the black spot resistant, glossy leaves from top to bottom. An eco-chic rose!

Available from all our rose centres at a promotional rose of the month price.

News from our Rose Centres

– 15% discount on all rose plants from 1 to 16 July at all our branches.

Ludwig’s Rose Farm

Pruning Demo – Sat 1 & Sun 2 July 10h30

Art Class – 15 July from 9h30 – 13h00

Ludwig’s Pretoria East

Pruning Demo – Sun 2 July 14h00

Ludwig’s Roses EGOLI

Pruning Demo – Sat 8 & Sun 9 July 10h30

Ludwig’s Big Red Barn

Pruning Demo – Sat 22 July 10h00

Ludwig’s Roses Winelands

Pruning Demo – Sat 15 10h00 & Sun 16 July 10h30

Ludwig’s Roses Cape Town

Pruning Demo – Sat 15 July 14h00

Ludwig’s STAR Roses

-15% discount on all rose plants till 16 July.

When they say gardening is good for the heart and soul, they are specifically referring to pruning… 🙂 Enjoy the time with your roses!

Rose greetings,