The Q&A Archives: Propagating Roses

Question: My husband and I bought a house with beautiful rose bushes on the west side of the house. The roses are an older breed you cannot find anymore. My mom would like starters from them, how do we do that?

Answer: Roses root easily from cuttings taken anytime during the summer. Here's a simple method: Take a shoot that has bloomed recently and remove the spent flower and the first leaf below it. Cut the stem diagonally with a razor blade, a half inch below the fourth leaf cluster from the top of the stem the cutting should be between four and six inches long. Dip it in a rooting hormone such as Rootone and place it in a 10 ounce polystyrene cup with a hole in the bottom for water drainage. Fill the cup with a sterile potting soil and water well. To keep the humidity high, I bury the cup in the ground in a shaded area of the yard and place a clear soda bottle, with the bottom removed, over the top of the cutting, screwing the bottle into the ground a few inches, says Weber. Trim the rose leaves so they don't touch the sides of the bottle, he adds. Spring or summer cuttings should root and be ready to transplant within four to six weeks.

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