Late summer is the perfect time to take softwood cuttings of roses and other woody shrubs to create new plants for spring. While the timing and technique is important when propagating woody shrubs from cuttings, a little assistance from nature can make a difference too.
It's widely known that willows root quickly from cuttings. Willow bark contains a water-soluble compound (or group of compounds) called rhizocaline, which stimulates root formation. This substance can be used to help other shrubs root, too. Here's a simple way to use willow water from willow cuttings to aid the rooting of rose cuttings.
To create willow water, take a handful of willow twig cuttings from this year's growth. Remove the leaves and cut the twigs into 1-inch-long pieces. Place the cuttings right side up in a glass, add 1/2 inch of very hot water, cover with a plastic bag, and let sit 24 hours. Then remove the twigs.
Steep your rose cuttings in this willow water solution for 24 hours. Then dab the cut ends with a rooting hormone powder and stick your rose cuttings in a pot filled with moistened potting soil. The willow water can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for three days.
For more information on using willow water to root rose cuttings, go to: Texas Rose Rustlers.