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Why Do Roses Have Thorns and How to Cut Properly?

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If you’re wondering why do roses have thorns, there are different arguably explanations. Whichever you believe the most, it’s a fact that most, take note not all, varieties of roses contain spikes on their stems.

For decades, roses have been a favorite flower. They are clearly beautiful and smell really good. From gardens to residential homes, you can see them looking stunning whether red, white, yellow, pink or blue.

Why Do Roses Have Thorns Or Prickles?

people would use the “thorns”, while experts refer “prickles”. If you say thorns, this word is described as sharp protrusions that line the woody stems of roses and aren’t easy to break off.

Why Do Roses Have Thorns

In contrary, prickles are the small outgrowths that come from the outer layers of the rose called as epidermis and these are much easily broken off. But that should not matter a lot, rather find out how those spikes can harm or not.

What Happens When You Are Injured By The Rose Thorns?

1. Cuts and Wounds

Why Do Roses Have Thorns

No matter how careful you try, you should at least get a cut or injury from the rose thorn. Is it infectious or poisonous?

A small cut maybe something you’d ignore as you get that a few times when gardening. That’s totally true but it’s possible to become larger and that’s when you have to address the issue by fixing it immediately. You don’t want the cut to get infected that can worsen the so-called small problem.

Why Do Roses Have Thorns

Puncture wounds are similar to cuts but much deeper. This makes the open wound more susceptible to bacteria and germs. You won’t only have to wash the cut as that only cleans the surface. Be sure to clean, apply anti-bacterial solution and cover with bandage to protect it from infection.

One more result of getting cuts from thorns is the development of abscess. Naturally, the skin heals by itself as long as it’s protected and thorough cleansed.

However, if there’s swelling, redness, itchiness and even bleeding, it means the skin is not recovering but getting worse. It’s been infected and can create abscess, in which case a medical assistance is recommended.

2. Sporotrichosis

Sporotrichosis is a type of fungus that actually lives on the thorns. They cannot survive in the skin or nails of human but can still give a problem. They can transform into a yeast causing a more severe injury, and that’s what you’re going to deal with.

A common indication of this fungal infection is redness, swelling and pus that rupture and eventually drain. The worst part, the pus is able to spread through your lymphatic system that can also affect the lymph nodes resulting to swelling and pain.

Arthritic infection is also possible to happen when the sporothrix fungus is injected into your finger or elbow. This can be really painful that may also affect the eyes and fragile tissues nearby.

How To Remove Thorns On Roses?

De-thorning or removing roses from the stems can become necessary or optional. If you have the intention to sell roses, it can be help if you make the stems flawless. Or maybe you just don’t want to injure yourself or any of your kids.

To do so, simply get a garden or floral knife or any knife with a sharp blade. Hold it at a downward angle against the stem and start cutting every thorn in a downward pulling position.

Knife Why Do Roses Have Thorns

Another technique which most florists and botanists do is to use a thorn stripper. This is a tool featuring a claw shaped edge that is able to clamp and pull down the thorn from the rose.

Remember that before you remove the thorns or spikes, it’s best that you wear a pair of gloves. This ensures you’re not going to suffer from the little pain and swelling they may cause. Also be sure the tool you intend to use is sharp enough or it won’t help cut and would just be a waste of time.

gloves - Why Do Roses Have Thorns


So the question why do roses have thorns is not really that important. What matters even more is how to deal with the effects of getting pricked by them and how to cut them off properly.

Regardless, roses are a beautiful flower that anyone wouldn’t mind having around their backyard, front yard or even the center of the table.

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Jenny horne

Sunday 1st of March 2020

I’m a rose gardener. I find the easiest and best way to get rid of suckers is too cut off 1 inch from the,soil, melt candle wax covering the stem and it will never grow back. Breaking off allows bugs to get in Cheers