Want to multiply the most beautiful roses that you have in your garden? Or maybe you fell in love with a rose bush that you saw in a friend’s garden. The good news is you can easily propagate any rose variety.
You can propagate roses either through seeds or through cuttings. Seed propagation can be a little complicated, not to mention time-consuming. Moreover, when you propagate from seeds, you might end up with a very different plant than the mother plant.
As a general rule, it is a lot easier to grow roses from cuttings because it will not take long for a gentle stem to turn into a flowering rose bush. Keep on reading to discover the tools and the materials that you will need for this process and some simple tips that will ensure the success of growing many beautiful roses.
We will also give you a few tips on caring for the cuttings and on transplanting them outdoors when the time comes.
When is the right time to take rose cuttings?
You can take cuttings during spring or summer, but also during winter. Spring and summer are ideal for taking flexible softwood cuttings. Choose new stems with plenty of leaves but no flowers.
The stems should have the thickness of a pencil. From mid-autumn to winter you can take hardwood cuttings. Just make sure not to do this during a frosty period. Even so, it can be tricky to grow cuttings in winter, so we will focus on softwood cuttings taken during spring and summer.
Tools and Materials that You Will Need to Grow Roses from Cuttings
Regardless of the rose variety that you want to propagate, the process will always be the same. Having the proper tools and materials is, of course, essential for successful propagation.
- Gardening gloves – Since most rose varieties are thorny, you will need a high-quality pair of gardening gloves to handle the plants during this process.
- Pruners – When cutting off stems, it is essential for the cut to be as clean as possible. To ensure that the plant goes through minimum stress during this process, use a well-sharpened pair of pruners.
- A container – If you take several cuttings, you will need to place them in a container filled with warm water to keep them moist.
- Rooting hormone – While it is not mandatory, the rooting hormone can be a big help anytime you want to propagate a plant. It will increase the young plant’s chances of rooting, while also speeding up the whole process. Instead of a rooting hormone, you can also use a potato. Simply stick the young stem in a potato before planting it and the potato will provide all the nutrients necessary for the new plant to develop.
- Pot/ plastic bottle – Depending on the size of the cuttings, you can place two or three cuttings in a small pot, or you can use a pot for each individual cutting. You can also use a plastic bottle instead of a pot.
- Potting mix – A good potting mix should consist of one-third soil, one third garden compost, and one-third manure. You can also add a little e perlite for proper drainage.
- Stick/pencil – You will need a pencil or a pencil-sized stick to make the planting holes.
- Plastic bag/plastic bottle – The young plants need a moist and warm environment to develop roots, so you will need to create a heat chamber for them by using plastic bags or plastic bottles.
- Stickers and markers – Make sure to write the rose varieties on the pots, so that you do not get them mixed up. This will be essential for when you must transplant the plants outdoors, especially if you want to position them in a certain way.
Simple Steps to Propagate Roses from Cuttings
- The first step is cutting the stems. Look for a fresh stem that has a pencil size thickness. Stems from the sides of the bush are generally better than the ones taken from the center. Specialists recommend looking for stems below blooms that have already lost their petals. Ideally, the cutting should be about 30 cm long. Try to make the cut below a stem node, that small bump from which new leaves grow.
- After you take the cutting, remove all the buds, flowers, and leaves, except for the top two leaves. The new plant will need these two leaves for photosynthesis, but anything other than that will needlessly drain the plant’s energy. It is essential for all the plant’s resources to go into producing roots and not into supporting needless leaves and flowers.
- If you plan on taking several cuttings, place each cutting in the bucket filled with warm water to keep them moist until you are ready to plant them.
- When you are ready to plant the cuttings, place them on a cutting board and make 4 slits at the bottom tip of each stem, diving them into quarters. You basically want to slit the stem’s skin so that the roots will not have to struggle to penetrate the plant’s skin.
- Take a stem and dip it into rooting hormone. If you prefer a more natural approach, use the previously mentioned potato instead of the rooting hormone.
- Place about 15 cm of soil in your pot and use your pencil or stick to poke holes for the cuttings. Try not to rub off the rooting hormone before planting the cutting. Once you’ve planted the cutting, press down the soil around it to offer it some support and water the cutting thoroughly.
- Use a transparent bag to cover the pot but make sure the bag does not rest on the cutting’s leaves. You can use a stick to hold it up but do not tie it around the pot as the young plant will also need a little air circulation.
- If you can find a transparent bottle with the same diameter as your pot, you can also use that as a heat chamber. In fact, you can even skip the pot, and plant the cutting directly in a bottle. Cut the bottle on the top half. Plant the cutting and then use scotch tape to stick the top section of the bottle back so that it can act as a heat chamber. Make sure to take off the bottle cap to allow for air circulation. If the weather allows it, you can also plant the cuttings directly outside, and cover them with bottles cut in halves.
- Water the cuttings regularly to keep the soil moist but not damp. You should see signs of new roots in three to seven weeks. To check for roots simply give the stem a gentle tug and see if you meet any resistance. When the new plants start growing new leaves, it is time to plant them outside.
How to Propagate Rose Cuttings in Water
Softwood cuttings can also catch roots in water. While this method is certainly a lot simpler, it does not have the same chances of success, since the cuttings do not get many nutrients. Nonetheless, it is so easy that it pays to give it a try.
To propagate roses in water, cut the stems as instructed above and place them in a container filled with water. Place the container in a sunny location and allow the stems about 8 weeks to catch roots. If you are successful, you can plant them directly outdoors, or in a small container until they start growing leaves.
Transplanting the Rose Cuttings Outdoors
Choose a spot with bright light in your garden and make sure to provide some shelter from winds and heavy rains. Keep in mind the size of the rose varieties that you are propagating when choosing their planting spots. Provide sufficient space around so that they can grow unhindered. Keeping in mind the average height of the variety that you are planting will also prevent it from overshadowing other nearby plants.
Cultivate the soil about 30 cm deep so that it crumbles easily. You can blend the garden soil with some sand if it feels too heavy. The main idea for the soil is that it can be easily penetrated by new roots.
When transplanting a container-grown plant, make sure to plant it at the same height as it was initially planted. As such, dig a hole the size of the previous container, place the plant in the hole, cover it with soil and gently press the soil around it. It’s a good idea to signal the plant somehow until it grows into a bush, so that you do not step on it by accident. You can use a stick, placed into the ground or some sort of decorative fencing.
As you can see, it is relatively easy to grow roses from cuttings. If this is your first time trying your hand at propagating roses, make sure to take the cuttings during spring or summer to increase your chances of success. Follow the easy steps detailed above, and keep the new plants under observation until they develop a heady set of roots.
Roses are very versatile and very low maintenance, so they will easily integrate into any garden. Moreover, you can never have too many roses. The more your garden will abound in rose flowers, the more it will enchant your senses.
Are you growing roses? Let us know which roses are your favorites in the comments below!