En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - August 01, 2008

From: Sandwich, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Pruning, Shrubs
Title: Pruning and deadheading rosa rugosa while blooming
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Can you prune the dead flowers and branches of rosa rogosa while it is still blooming?


Just about any member of the Rosaceae family will profit from deadheading and judicious pruning. They will put on fresh growth and it will also promote further blooming. It's not a job we personally would want to take on. Although we live in the land of Prickly Pear cactus and Agave with its formidable armor, we wouldn't voluntarily try pruning a rosa rugosa. The stems are incredibly spiny, densely covered in gray, needle-like thorns. However, in Massachusetts, with your early hard winters, we would not suggest pruning any more after August 1, although deadheading can continue. By pruning, you promote new growth and it might not have time to harden off before Winter. Rosa rugosa is a native of northern China, Korea and Japan, and therefore would not appear in our Native Plant Database. This USDA Plants Profile for Rosa rugosa indicates that it is widely grown in Massachusetts.

We found this forum iVillage Garden Web on Pruning Rosa Rugosa Roses that we thought you might find amusing. Apparently, you're either for 'em or agin 'em, with a lot of strong opinions, but you also could pick up some useful information from other gardeners with experience with the plants. For instance, several gardeners offer tips on picking up those stems without impaling yourself.


More Shrubs Questions

Are Chickasaw plums evergreen?
August 13, 2014 - Are Chickasaw Plums evergreens? I've been very interested in planting a few but some websites say they are evergreens while others say the opposite. Furthermore, would I have to plant a male and fema...
view the full question and answer

Why are the leaves on my Laurel hedge turning brown in Everett, WA?
February 22, 2010 - Our laurel hedge seems to have brown leaves on the top of the bush. We haven't had a freezing winter so we are trying to figure out why some of the leaves are brown.
view the full question and answer

Plants for a windbreak on a slope in OH
April 20, 2011 - Have property at the top of a valley with a steep drop off. Would like to know native to NE Ohio ground covers, grasses perennials, and not too tall trees for windbreak that will prevent erosion. The ...
view the full question and answer

Need help identifying shrub with large thorns in Tennessee.
March 10, 2009 - A shrub?with very large thorns. Main stock of plant woody with a gray and white splotchy bark at base. Branches are green and shiney and have very large heavy thorns spaced several inches apart on...
view the full question and answer

Propagating Silky Sophora by seed from Elmendorf TX
July 24, 2013 - I have some seed for the Sophora nutalliana. What is the best way to germinate this seed?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center