The Q&A Archives: Rooting Roses

Question: How can I take cuttings from my grandmother's mature rose bushes and root them to plant at a different location?

Answer: The easiest way to start some new roses is by tip layering. Bend a young branch a foot or so from the end so that it breaks, but not completely in two. Scoop out a shovel full of dirt from beneath the bush, place the broken "bent elbow" section of the branch in the hole and cover with soil. Water it in well and keep it moist by periodic watering. In a few weeks the vine will start to root at the broken spot. You can later cut it from the "mother plant", dig it and replant in another location.

Roses also may be rooted by cuttings taken in early summer. Make 4-6" cuttings from new growth that has started to turn woody (not succulent). Remove all but the top two sets of leaves and dip the base of the cutting in rooting hormone. Stick the cuttings in premoistened, rich soil in an area out of direct sunlight, such as the north side of the house under the eaves. Cover the cuttings with an inverted mayonnaise jar. Within a couple of months they should have some roots. Give them another month before carefully digging and replanting. Do more cuttings that you need as not all will be successful!

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