The Q&A Archives: Propagating Roses from Cuttings

Question: I am 66 years oud and just retired this week and look forward to a few years in the garden. I've had great success in propagating roses from cuttings. But none of my gardening books take me to the next step. How to I grow these new small plants to big, healthy bushes? I have a small cold frame made out of corragated plastic. Could I bury the pot in dirt and keep it out in the cold frame? What about watering it?

Answer: How wonderful that you get to devote more time to this pursuit! If you're taking the cuttings in early summer, they should have roots within a month, and can be planted in the garden once you harden them off. If your cuttings are taking longer than a month to root, you can help them root more quickly by keeping the cuttings in a humidity tent. Just put the potted cutting in a plastic bag and tie the top loosely, leaving it slightly open to allow air exchange and so you can mist the cuttings frequently. Do you use a rooting hormone? They stimulate rapid rooting, too. Once the roots grow, pot the cutting in a 6" pot with regular potting mix, and harden it off over a 10-14 day period. Keep soil moist and gradually expose the plant to more sun and wind each day, til it can withstand the elements on its own. Once it shows vigorous new growth, you can plant it in your rose bed, and treat it like the other roses once it has adjusted to being transplanted.

I recommend the book "Roses for Dummies" by Lance Walheim and the Editors of National Gardening Magazine ( for more information on the book). What it lacks in pretty pictures it more than makes up in good, solid information and diagrams. Enjoy your new freedom to garden!

Roses grown on their own roots are usually hardier than roses budded to rootstocks of other roses.

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