Cutting convertible roses - tutorial for the right cut

Cutting convertible roses - tutorial for the right cut

Numerous types of cuts are possible

The lantana camara is one of the most popular potted plants for balconies and patios. The flowering wood owes its success story to a never-ending flowering period from spring to autumn. The most splendid density of flowers unfolds on this year's shoots. The phenomenal play of colors on its distinctive flower heads is unsurpassed. During the flowering period, the tones change cheerfully from yellow to orange and red. New varieties fluctuate from white to yellow and purple. The color change depends on how much time has passed since the buds opened.

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Convertible roses combine their versatility with a good-natured cut tolerance, which offers the gardener a variety of uses. The following table gives you a brief overview of all the cutting options:

Cut typetargetPeriod / occasion
Body sectionFormation of a stable basic structure as an ornamental shrub1st to 5th year
Clearance cutPreservation of shape and plant healthfrom the 6th year
Summer cutPromotion of abundance of flowers and intensity in the color changeeach year
UpbringingUpbringing to become a high tribe1st to 5th year
Taper cutRebuild outdated convertible rosewith progressive aging
Root cutReduce growth in height and widthif necessary with excessive growth

Please note that numerous modern Lantana varieties with a growth height of 20 to 30 centimeters thrive compactly and do not lignify. The innovative Lantana series 'Esperanta', for example, offers magnificent dwarf varieties for annual cultivation in the summer flowerbed, the balcony box and the hanging basket. (€ 14.99 at Amazon *) In contrast to long-sprouting, classic Lantana varieties, modern dwarf varieties are discarded on the compost heap at the end of the flowering period.

Cut tolerance allows several appointments a year

The various types of cuts already indicate that several dates for the cut care are possible for convertible roses. The following overview shows the optimal times at which the ornamental trees benefit particularly from the cut:

  • Construction and clearing cut: in early spring, shortly before clearing
  • Summer pruning: several times during the flowering period
  • Parenting cut to the high trunk: in late winter or early spring, by April at the latest
  • Rejuvenation cut: between January and March
  • Root pruning: in the spring during repotting

The dates mentioned primarily take place during or at the end of the winter dormant growth. This has the advantage that at this time of the year, the greenery shed their leaves in the cool winter quarters and you have a better view of the branches. For pruning measures during the summer, we recommend a time of day when the ornamental wood is not in direct sunlight.

Shapely growth from the start - instructions for the construction cut

Under the influence of the Central European climate, tropical convertible florets thrive as deciduous ornamental shrubs. In the sunny location with a balanced supply of water and nutrients, the flowering trees grow over the years into bushes with a dense network of branches. By building up a stable framework from ground shoots, you direct the growth in the direction of a neat look. This is how the perfect bodywork is achieved:

  • Pick 3 to 5 of the strongest ground shoots in the first year
  • Cut all other shoots off at ground level
  • For the next 4 years, extend the scaffold shoots by 10 centimeters every year
  • Cut back side shoots along the framework-forming ground shoots by a third or half

Convertible roses develop best as a shrub when the scaffold shoots form a pyramid. With a broad base and a tapering crown, you will grow a light-flooded flowering shrub that also has dense leaves and numerous side shoots with terminal flower heads. In the course of the five years of construction, in each late winter you remove all shoots that grow out of the earth as competitors to the scaffold shoots. You should keep an eye on the recommended conical form of training for a convertible rose bush when the pruning after the construction ends in the thinning cut.

Clearance cut guarantees a long plant life

The clearing cut aims to maintain a light-flooded, conical shrub shape. At the same time, the type of pruning effectively prevents premature aging with the help of continuous rejuvenation of scaffold and flower shoots. The cut is very simple. How to master the clearing cut with flying colors:

  • Cut out all dead wood at the entrance
  • Cut off damaged, cross, criss-cross and inward-facing branches
  • Cut back the faded side shoots from the previous year by at least a third to a maximum of two thirds
  • From the sixth year onwards, shorten the two oldest scaffolding drives at floor level
  • At the same time, build up two strong ground shoots every year as a replacement in the sense of continuous rejuvenation

When pruning the side shoots, please note that a strong pruning to 2 to 4 centimeters short cones slightly delays the start of the flowering period. In return, you will achieve a more compact growth with flowering branches this year. The shrub crown should be shortened by at least a third so that it does not fall apart during the flowering period.

They give growth and flowering additional momentum if you slim down older scaffold shoots that have not been thinned out with a derivation cut. To do this, cut the shoot tips back onto a young side shoot that is halfway up.

Thinning out convertible roses

Summer pruning favors blooming flowers

The summer cut is of particular importance on convertible roses. By removing withered flowers, the side shoots underneath and their terminal buds have free access to the sunlight and start the fascinating play of colors again. Furthermore, over-long shoots spoil the well-groomed appearance and should be cut back into the shape. You should therefore use scissors several times in summer on strongly growing plants to carry out this pruning:

  • Cut off this year's withered side shoots
  • Cut back branches that are too long to an outward-facing pair of buds or leaves
  • Heavily overhanging scaffold shoots lead to a lower side branch

Can't you provide your convertible roses with light, airy winter quarters, but put the potted plants in a dark cellar? Then the summer pruning ends with the cutting of all shoots by half before clearing. The precaution effectively prevents common diseases and pests.


Sharp rose or garden shears are suitable for cutting convertible roses. Since the shoots gradually become lignified, sharp, clean blades are important for an accurate cut with smooth wound edges. Scissors with a bypass mechanism are advisable because, unlike anvil scissors, they have two sharp blades. In order to clear an older scaffold drive, we recommend the handy Japanese saw with a retractable saw blade.

Picturesque high trunk - instructions for the upbringing cut

For the skilful upbringing of the tall tribe, the growth law of top funding comes into focus. Accordingly, a top bud has disproportionately more vigor than buds lying deeper. If the top bud loses its top position by pruning, the vigor is distributed over all buds of equal rank. The law is fundamental for determining the trunk height. If you cut the tip of the central shoot too early, your high stem will remain measly small.

The connections around top-level funding are closely linked to the concept of juice scales. This aspect plays a central role in building a harmonious crown. So that the growth forces are evenly distributed, the tip buds of the leading branches should be at the same level and not be too far away from the trunk tip. The following tutorial on parenting cut explains how to get it right:

  • Determine a tightly upright and strong ground shoot for the future trunk on the young convertible rose
  • Cut off all other ground shoots
  • Tie the central drive to a support rod with a soft hose band
  • Cut off side branches without damaging the bark of the central shoot
  • Central drive along the support lead to the desired crown height

If the tip bud of the central shoot is 4 to 5 pairs of leaves above the desired crown base, you can cut off the tip to prevent further growth upwards. The capping of the trunk tip initiates branching to the crown. Similar to the structure of a shrub, a framework of 3 to 5 leading branches is advantageous for the development of a flower-rich round crown with numerous side branches this year. On the high stem, the clearing cut pursues the same goal as on the convertible rose bush, in that the previous year's shoots that have faded to short stubs are shortened.

Rejuvenate the aging rose - this is how it works

The cut tolerance of convertible roses allows a radical rejuvenation cut. This type of cut is used when the annual cutting maintenance with the continuous replacement of old scaffolding shoots did not take place. With this pattern you can undo the omissions:

  • To begin with, cut out all the dead wood from the bush or crown
  • Shorten outdated scaffold shoots to a lower, vital side shoot
  • Cut back shoots without branching to 2 cm
  • Young ground or leading shoots build up to the new framework

The degree of aging determines how long it takes to rebuild the shrub or crown after regeneration. If a convertible rose bush already has some young ground shoots, the training is completed within 2 to 3 years and leads to the clearing cut. The same applies to the crown on the tall trunk, which forms quickly when there are already young shoots waiting as a new framework.


Are you unsure whether a bottom or crown shoot should be thinned out as dead wood or not? Then a simple vitality test removes any concerns. Scrape off some of the bark with the tip of a knife or your fingernail. If brown, dry tissue appears, you are dealing with dead wood. Green, light and juicy tissue signals that life is pulsating in this drive.

Root cut keeps growth in size in check

Wherever they feel they are in good hands, they tend to overshoot the mark as they grow. Gardeners then get overt evidence of why the flowering shrubs are notorious as invasive plants in their tropical home regions. To solve the problem, the good-natured cut tolerance, which extends to the root ball, plays into your hand. To control overgrowth with a root cut:

  • The best time is in the spring in connection with the annual repotting
  • Stuff convertible florets and shake off the substrate
  • Thoroughly clean the previous pot and reuse it
  • Use a long, sharp knife to reduce the root ball all around

The root volume must not be reduced by more than 50 percent. Then pot the plant in the usual manner in fresh substrate and water thoroughly. It is important to note that you cut back the shoots proportionally to the reduced root volume during thinning and maintenance pruning. Specifically, this means that a root cut by a third or half leads to an equally extensive pruning of the branches.

frequently asked Questions

The space in the winter quarters is very limited. Can I trim convertible florets in autumn before I put them away?

Grateful convertible roses do not blame you for pruning at any time of the year. The dates, which can be read in this tutorial, name the optimal time for the respective type of cut. If your rooms are tight for the wintering of frost-sensitive potted plants, nothing speaks against cutting them to the right size. Please measure the circumference to what is absolutely necessary and only carry out the main cut in late winter.

Can the clippings be used for propagation?

With the exception of thinned dead wood or poor, diseased shoots, the clippings are ideal for the propagation of convertible roses. Ideally, choose young, non-woody shoot tips that have not yet carried flowers. Cut suitable cuttings below a pair of leaves to a length of 10 to 15 centimeters. Remove all leaves from the lower half and stick the shoots in moist potting soil. In a warm, light location, the rooting takes about four weeks.

Can convertible florets hibernate outside?

Green roses are not hardy and shiver at temperatures below 5 degrees Celsius. The tropical flower beauties are therefore not suitable for wintering in the open air. The lack of winter hardiness does not imply that you dispose of the busy permanent bloomers after a single season. The ornamental trees are not picky about suitable winter quarters as long as the temperatures are between 5 and 10 degrees Celsius.



Convertible roses are poisonous in all parts. The highest concentration of toxins is found in the berries. Therefore, please place the potted plants out of the reach of children and pets. Wear gloves with cuffs for the care of the cut. If the plant sap comes into contact with your skin when exposed to sunlight, there is a risk of phototoxic reactions.