The Q&A Archives: Roses From Cuttings

Question: How should roses be pruned and how do I take cuttings to start new plants?

Answer: You should prune your roses now, and plan on taking cuttings a little later in the year.

Pruning roses can be confusing because different varieties require different treatments. If you have hybrid teas or grandifloras, here are the basics: In the spring, remove the dead and damaged canes as far back as necessary. Then, remove any suckers that arise from below the graft union, if there is one (the swelling near the base of the plant). Next, select the healthiest canes (thicker and bright green) and cut off the rest. If your roses are just a couple of years old, save about 3-5 canes. Save more on older plants. Lastly, cut the flowering canes back by one-third to one-half. Make your cuts about 1/4" above an outward-facing bud.

To take cuttings for new plants, wait until late spring or early summer, and choose healthy leafy canes that are not too tough and about the diameter of a pencil. Using a sharp knife, cut off the soft tip of the cane and then cut it into 4-5 inch pieces. Each piece should have at least 2 nodes and some leaves.

Strip off the bottom leaves exposing a node and plant the cuttings in moist soil and keep them in bright shade and high humidity. You can use containers covered with plastic bags, or set them in the ground in the shade and cover them with plastic jugs. You might try both methods. Take as many cuttings as you can to ensure success. Good luck.

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