How to Propagate Roses?

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How to Propagate Roses?

Short Answer: Growing roses from cuttings is a rewarding and cost-effective way to expand your rose garden. Start by selecting a healthy, non-flowering stem from an existing rose bush and cutting it into a 6-8 inch piece, making sure it includes at least three sets of leaves. Dip the cut end in rooting hormone to encourage growth and plant it in a pot filled with a mix of potting soil and perlite or sand, ensuring the cutting is well-supported. Keep the soil consistently moist and cover the cutting with a plastic bag or a soda bottle with the bottom cut off to create a mini greenhouse effect, which helps maintain humidity. Place the pot in indirect sunlight and in about four to eight weeks, roots should develop, after which you can transplant the new rose plant into your garden.


Did you know that propagating roses is an easy and magical process? Making more of these plants is one of the best things you can do with them. While you could sprout the seeds, growing roses from cuttings is the easiest way to reproduce your favorite varieties. Propagating roses from cuttings has several practical benefits. If you have a variety that grows particularly well in your garden, rooting a few cuttings from that rose is an inexpensive way to expand your collection. Additionally, you may want to create backups of a rare variety or a family heirloom rose. Sharing homegrown rose cuttings with other gardeners is also a great idea. Here are 10 simple steps to successfully grow roses from cuttings.

material to grow roses from cuttings

Best Time to Take Rose Cuttings

You can successfully root rose cuttings any time of the year. But for more consistent results, check the weather forecast. Plan to take your cutting when daytime temperatures are above 55°F and below 90; the ideal is between 70 and 80. That will probably be in spring and fall. It’s also best to take cuttings early in the morning.

Instructions

Overall, growing a rose from cuttings is a simple process. The balance of hormones in the removed stem changes whenever you prune your rose plants or cut off the faded flowers. Under the right conditions, the changes stimulate it to grow roots. The resulting plant is identical to the parent.

  1. Water the Day Before

    Well-hydrated roses root better. Water parent plants the day before taking cuttings.

  2. Take Cuttings

    Choose stems immediately below flower buds that are just about to open. The second best option is stems beneath flowers that have begun to drop their petals. Aim for 4-8 inches-long cuttings with three to five nodes (the regular intervals where buds, leaves, and stems emerge). The cut at the base should be about a quarter of an inch below a node, and the cut at the top should be about a quarter inch above one.

    Bonus tip: Heelwood often roots more easily. It’s located at the base of a stem, right where it emerges from another stem. Try pulling your stem straight out from where it attaches. Or cut slightly into the older shoot with a sharp knife.

  3. Place Cuttings in the Water

    Immediately put your cuttings into a container of water out of direct sunlight. Or wrap cuttings in damp paper towels and place them in a cooler. You want to keep the cut stems as hydrated as possible.

  4. Slice the Bottom End of the Cuttings

    Rooting is part of a wound response for roses. Encourage increased rooting by vertically slicing through the green skin on the bottom inch of the cutting. Do this two to four times spaced roughly equally. Or you can gently scrape a strip or two of the green skin on the bottom inch (don’t remove the skin around the stem). If the variety has large prickles, ripping them from the base also wounds the stem enough to encourage roots to develop.

  5. Dip Cuttings in Rooting Hormone

    If you are using rooting hormone, apply it to about two inches of the base of your cuttings. If you are trying to grow roses from cuttings without rooting hormones, steps 1-4 are even more crucial.

  6. Remove Flowers and Most Leaves

    Cut off the flower bud or spent flower and all but the top leaf or two. Reduce the top leaves to three or four leaflets in total. Slice the bud from the lowest node to encourage roots to grow.

  7. Place Cuttings Into Potting Soil

    Stick your rose cuttings about two inches into a container of potting mix. Press the mix around the stem and water thoroughly. Then, add your humidity cover and place the pot in a location with indirect sunlight. This could be on a covered porch, on the side of a shed, or under trees. Some people choose to root rose cuttings indoors on a shady windowsill.

  8. Check Cuttings Periodically

    If your humidity cover doesn’t have ventilation, lift it briefly a couple of times a week. You shouldn’t need to add more water unless the potting mix seems to be completely drying out. Whenever you’re lifting the cover, check for cuttings that have turned brown to the base and remove them, along with any fallen leaves.

  9. Remove Humidity Cover

    It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a month or two for rooting to occur. Once you notice new leaf growth and roots emerging from the side or bottom of the pot, you can start the process of acclimating your new roses to the outdoors by removing the humidity cover. If you have rooted multiple roses in a single pot, it is important to carefully transplant each one into its own individual container.

  10. step 10 how to grow roses from cuttings replanted rose in garden

    Plant Rooted Cuttings in the Garden

    Give your rooted rose cuttings 9 to 12 months to develop enough to plant in your garden. During that time, you may want to move them to a slightly larger pot with a 20/80 mix of perlite and potting soil with slow-release fertilizer to fuel new growth.

Tips for Propagating Roses from Cuttings

Growing roses from cuttings may sound complicated, but remember that these are just guidelines for more consistent results. Sticking a rose cutting directly into your soil and returning to find it rooted months later is possible. Or maybe if you wrap cuttings in damp paper towels and forget them in a cooler on the 4th of July, you might find a few still alive and rooted on Labor Day. People have successfully rooted a 5-foot-long cane, a 1-inch cutting, and less-than-optimal wood in the heat of summer and the middle of winter.

You can also add more tools to the process as you get into it. For example, using fluorescent lights, heat mats, and mycorrhizal fungi can increase your success. But there are some popular rose rooting tips that you should approach with skepticism.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you grow roses from commercial cut flowers?

    Maybe, if you’re sourcing from a local flower farm that offers roses cut the same day. It’s not ideal, but you can always give it a try. However, roses bred expressly to sell as cut flowers are less likely to grow well on their roots (they’re usually grafted onto stronger roots), so even if you do succeed in rooting these cuttings, the resulting plants may not do well for you. Another thing to remember is that many commercial-cut roses (and newer rose varieties) are patented.

  • Is it okay to propagate patented roses?

    Plant patents last 20 years, so any patented roses cannot legally be propagated without a license during that time. However, the overwhelming majority of rose varieties are legal to root. Many older varieties depend on gardeners to preserve them by reproducing and sharing them. If you’re interested in holding historical roses, rooting them can be a great way to get involved in your area’s rose societies and historical sites.

  • Can you grow roses from cuttings using potatoes?

    There’s a longstanding theory that potatoes are the ultimate rose rooting medium. It’s very tempting to believe that all you have to do is make a small hole in a spud, perhaps add some honey and cinnamon, stick in your rose cutting, and wait. But keep a couple of things in mind: potato tubers are alive. They have their mix of plant hormones and immune defenses. At least one academic study has found potatoes had a 100 percent failure rate as a rose rooting medium.

  • Will rose cuttings root in water?

    You may have heard that roses root easily in water. While they may start the rooting process in water, it doesn’t go anywhere. There may be exceptions, so you can always try it and see if you have any luck. But expect the best results following the above guidelines.

Most Popular Flowers & Plants in the USA

RegionPopular FlowersPopular Plants
Northeast (e.g., New York, Massachusetts)Rose, Purple Lilac, Mountain LaurelSugar Maple, American Elm, White Pine
Southeast (e.g., Florida, Georgia)Orange Blossom, Cherokee Rose, Southern MagnoliaLive Oak, Spanish Moss, Saw Palmetto
Midwest (e.g., Ohio, Illinois)Carnation, Violet, Purple ConeflowerBur Oak, Prairie Grasses, Wild Bergamot
Southwest (e.g., Texas, Arizona)Bluebonnet, Saguaro Cactus Flower, Indian PaintbrushJoshua Tree, Agave, Mesquite
West (e.g., California, Washington)California Poppy, Coast Rhododendron, BitterrootGiant Sequoia, Redwood, Manzanita
Rocky Mountain (e.g., Colorado, Montana)Rocky Mountain Columbine, Bitterroot, Indian PaintbrushBlue Spruce, Aspen, Sagebrush
Great Plains (e.g., Kansas, Nebraska)Sunflower, Goldenrod, Purple ConeflowerCottonwood, Bluestem Grasses, Buffalo Grass
Pacific Northwest (e.g., Oregon, Alaska)Oregon Grape, Forget-me-not, Pacific RhododendronDouglas Fir, Western Hemlock, Ferns

This table includes the most popular flowers and plants in the USA by region, which considers a range of botanical species, including native and widely cultivated varieties.

Most Popular Flowers & Plants in Australia

RegionPopular FlowersPopular Plants
New South WalesWaratah, Bottlebrush, Flannel FlowerEucalyptus, Acacia, Banksia
VictoriaCommon Heath, Waxflower, Pink HeathMountain Ash, Silver Wattle, Victorian Blue Gum
QueenslandCooktown Orchid, Golden Penda, Umbrella Tree FlowerMoreton Bay Fig, Macadamia Nut, Queensland Bottle Tree
South AustraliaSturt's Desert Pea, Kangaroo Paw, Eucalyptus BlossomAdelaide Blue Gum, South Australian Blue Gum, Saltbush
Western AustraliaRed and Green Kangaroo Paw, Mangles Kangaroo Paw, Swan River DaisyJarrah, Marri, Karri
TasmaniaTasmanian Blue Gum, Leatherwood Flower, Tasmanian WaratahHuon Pine, Tasmanian Oak, Myrtle Beech
Northern TerritorySturt's Desert Rose, Frangipani, Desert RoseBoab, Gidgee, Spinifex
Australian Capital TerritoryRoyal Bluebell, Australian Daisy, CorreaSnow Gum, River Red Gum, Black Mountain

This table offers a basic overview of popular flowers and plants in each Australian region, focusing on a combination of state flowers, native species, and other characteristic plants. It's important to note that specific species' popularity and prevalence can vary. This table is a simplified representation. Consulting local botanical gardens or regional horticultural societies in Australia would be ideal for more detailed and accurate information.

Charlotte Gammon

By Charlotte Gammon

Meet Charlotte Gammon, our expert and author. She's our true treasure, as she has got 20+ years of experience in gardening, winery and house design. In early 2000s, she worked for today.com magazine and was in charge of the gaardening section. Later on, Charlotte opened her own designer agency and worked as a designer and decorator. We are happy to have Charlotte with us, as she is our good friend. We value her experience and we're sure you will love the articles she created for our blog.