The Q&A Archives: Rooting Rose Cuttings

Question: I have a prize rosebush and want to propagate more roses from this beauty. How and when is the best way to take cuttings?

Answer: Roses root easily from cuttings taken during the spring and 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 the cut end in a rooting hormone and place it in a 4" flower pot. Fill the pot with a sterile potting soil and water well.

You'll need to keep the humidity high until the cuttings develop big enough roots systems to support the foliage. One way is to place the entire pot in a loosely-tied plastic bag, and place it in a sheltered, shaded spot. Another method is to bury the pot in the ground in a shaded area of the yard. Then take a clear, 2-liter soda bottle and cut off the bottom. Place the bottle over the top of the cutting, screwing the bottle into the ground a few inches. Trim the rose leaves so they don't touch the sides of the bottle. You can remove the cap if necessary to provide air circulation. (Be sure the plants are not in direct sun, or they'll get cooked!)

Spring or summer cuttings should root and be ready to transplant within four to six weeks.

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