Growing roses from cuttings is easy:
If you love roses you will love trying to take cuttings and start your own plants. If you have a rose that you absolutely love why not share it with friends or add more to your garden?
What tools will you need:
You will need some basic tools such as hand pruners, a sharp knife, clean pots and potting soil to get started. Take cuttings from your best plants, ones that are strong and healthy. I love fragrant roses so I chose to take my cuttings from a rose given to me by my mother. It holds a lot of memories of gardening with her.
When to take cuttings?
Books will tell you there is an optimum time to take cuttings and that’s true for many plants. I find it’s best to take cuttings from roses anywhere from April to August while they are actively growing. Remember it depends on your climate and zone as plants grow at different times depending on where you live.
Start with fresh cuttings:
Take your cuttings using a sharp pair of hand pruners. Cut just above a node on the stem and usually about an inch or two below the node. A node is the spot where growth of leaves and stems start along the stem. They are easy to see on rose stems.You may have a stem with several nodes and you could make more than one cutting from it. I try not to use soft new growth but prefer cuttings with good solid leaves on them and stems about 1/4″ wide. I avoid use older woody stems.
Have soil and pots ready:
Once you have some cuttings set aside, gather up some clean pots and good potting mix. I must admit that I have on occasion just inserted cuttings in the ground beside the rose or in a container close by but having them where you can keep an eye on them is much better.
Remove leaf surface:
Take your rose cutting and remove all leaves except one or two. Cut the last two leaves in half so they look like the photo above. Plants still need some leaves to photosynthesize so they must stay on for now. Fill your pot with soil and water it to dampen the soil. Make an indentation with your finger in the center for your cutting.
Before you insert the cutting, use a sharp knife or pruners to scrape away a bit of stem tissue at the base of the cutting. Insert the cutting into the hole and firm the soil around the cutting. This method has always worked for me. The idea is to expose a bit more surface area for root growth. Some gardeners will use a sharp knife and cut the base of the cutting on a diagonal to have more surface area exposed. It’s about what works for you. Often gardeners will use a rooting hormone. I don’t use anything.
Labelling is key:
Be sure to label your cuttings as you go. They make take a couple of months to root. I like to add the date the cutting was done, colour and name of plant.
Location counts when rooting:
Location, location, location. I find location is so important. I place my cuttings in an an area where they may get some morning sun but are shaded from the hot afternoon sun. Mine are usually on a plant flat and shoved near the blueberry bushes or on a plant shelf against the house. I treat them like I would all my plants and water them as needed.
Truth is I find ignoring them works best. I don’t fuss or try to pull the plants out too early. Often the summer is so busy I forget about the cuttings. Here it is October and the cuttings I took in late July have two inch roots and are ready to be potted up.
Winter protection for your rose cuttings:
Now that my rose cuttings are potted up it’s time to think about where they will go. I will not be planting the roses into the ground yet so they will come into the greenhouse if a hard frost is predicted. For now they can sit outside where they will get rained on and used to their new pots. If they had been in one gallon pots they could have stayed outside all winter as it isn’t as cold here as many other regions of Canada. Since they are in four inch pots I will protect them until next spring.
If you enjoyed this post you may want to read How to Propagate New Plants from Cuttings.