Minis are normally pruned in mid to late February to about 5 to 10 inches, depending on the size of the mini. In time, however, they lose their vigor and need to be pruned and divided.
Younger bushes are just pruned, leaving 4-8 healthy canes. I leave strong canes and get rid of the weak canes. For exhibition, I cut away much of the previous year’s growth to get fewer but better blooms. For garden show, I leave more canes.
How do you know when it is time to divide your minis?
Minis grow on their own roots, and in time the roots become gnarled and form a woody base that resembles a crown or bud union in the center of the plant. New canes emerge around this base instead of throughout the area. That is when it is time to divide-usually about every third year.
Dividing rejuvenates the bush of rose, reduces the amount of dead wood, and increases bloom production. I look closely for separations at ground level, and Mother Nature shows me exactly where to divide.
How does one divide minis?
This year I came up with a new and easier way to divide minis. I want to share my new method with you.
I had always dug up the bush, put it on the bench in the greenhouse, and carefully whacked into it with a keyhole saw. It’s really hard to hold onto a wiggling bush with one hand and a keyhole saw with the other.
One day I sat on my milk crate and stared at a mini that needed dividing. I tried to think of an easier and better way to divide the woody, obstinate thing I was facing.
And then it came to me-why not saw it in half right in the ground? I wouldn’t have to hold it! The ground would do that for me! I rushed for my tools. I found my son’s electric reciprocating saw and came back to confront the mini.
I sawed the mini in half, going straight down through the entire root system. Then, with a shovel, I edged around half the bush, placed the shovel under the edged half, and lifted half the plant out of the ground. I trimmed out the dead wood and potted up a new, productive plant! Quick and easy!
I trimmed the dead center out of the plant left in the ground and rejuvenated the hole. Now I had two young plants! My new system really works.