Roses forum: Propagating rose problems

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Name: Sheila
Central Kansas (Zone 6a)
Be thankful for everything you have
Jan 1, 2014 1:22 PM CST
Hi, I got some cuttings from my Mom's garden, followed procedures on how to cut, rooting hormones, etc. back in October/November. Have them where they will get sun part of the day, but not direct. I also, have a couple of forsythias going in the same area. I've had a couple, after about 6 weeks, get new leaves at the top of the cuttings, then the whole thing will start turning dark and the leaves wilt and look like they are dead. Am I keeping the cuttings too moist? I have them in the moisture control soil and think maybe that being wet 24/7 is bad for them. Some of the leafless cuttings are still green with no leaves and some look like they are dead. Not sure what to do? Be patient or un-pot them and use different soil.
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Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
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Jan 1, 2014 2:43 PM CST
Mine do the same, so I have nothing that's all that helpful to share. Member @Danty propagates roses from cuttings, and does an excellent job of it, too. Perhaps he'll see we mentioned him here, and he'll drop by to give some advice.
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Name: Lyn
Weaverville, California (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Jan 1, 2014 11:08 PM CST
Yes, if the soil is more than "moist" most of the time, the cuttings probably will not take because the new tiny roots will rot before they will develop into plants.

Please note ... the statement above is a generalization. There are so many variables that can cause a cutting to fail. I used to have a 90% take when I lived in southern California, but until this year, I have done an excellent job of getting brown sticks. In my climate in northern California, everything seems to be dictated by timing. I am still experimenting to find the best method to use up here.

When you try to root a cutting, the energy to create roots and even new leaves all comes from the nutrients stored in the cutting. When it has dried up and turned brown, there are no more nutrients available to the cutting and the cutting will fail to root.

Kim Rupert has been my rose mentor and friend for many years. He has written a blog about using what is called the "burrito method" to propagate roses. I haven't tried it yet because I do not have the proper set up to hold the cuttings at a constant temperature.

The burrito method was first described on the Rose Hybridizers Association Forum and Kim started experimenting with that method and found that it had to be tweaked for different climates ... all those other variables.

Here's a link to the beginning of his blog and he takes you through the process as he has learned how to use this method very successfully. I am going to try a variation of it this spring.


I hope this helps.

I'd rather weed than dust ... the weeds stay gone longer.
Name: Dan Tyson
Simi Valley, Calif. (Zone 8b)
Jan 3, 2014 12:04 AM CST
Hi everyone,
I got a message from James (Txtea) about this thread and thought I would drop in.

Pb66 -- I applaud your efforts to grow roses from cuttings. I have spent literally years in learning how to do it well. I have killed hundreds of cuttings -- so just realize there is a learning curve.
From the text and photos you posted I would definitely say your soil media is TOO WET!

Also, if the most of the cuttings' leaves have either turned yellow and/or fallen off - AND - the stems have turned black then the cuttings are not going to recover or do well.
But even if the leaves have all fallen off as long as the stems are green and turgid (holding moisture) there is still a 50/50 chance they will eventually root. But that is not the ideal to shoot for.

Now I want to say right here that I have come across dozens of methods of rooting roses -- and each one has their proponents.
Just like every other aspect of growing roses (watering, soils, fertilizing, etc) every grower eventually settles on a method that works for them.

That being said I have found there to be certain CONSTANTS.
These are:
* Taking and rooting cutting at the optimum time of year for your area. In my Southern Calif locale that is from mid-April to the end of October. I know someone in Texas who gets her best results in Winter -- but she has a greenhouse.
* Using a high quality, fast-draining soil media. My mix of choice is Sunshine #4 Advanced. Here's a link to an online source:
Moisten the soil media lightly and squeeze out any excess water with your hands. The media should be lightly damp -- NOT soggy. If you cover your cuttings (see below) then you won't ever have to water them again while they are in the process of rooting.
* Warm temperatures -- from the mid 60's to the high 70's. That is indoors assuming you are propagating indoors as I do.
* High humidity. I use a grow tray with a dome over the the cuttings. Its like a mini greenhouse. Here's a link:
* Indirect light. Soft indirect sunlight is good. I use a fluorescent grow light.

That's it.
If you followed the above I would guarantee you would improve your success with cuttings exponentially.

Pb66 -- here's my recommendation to salvage the cuttings you have.
1. Save just the ones with green stems and/or some green leaves.
2. Dip the cuttings again in Dip 'n Grow at the 1- to -10 dilution rate.
3. Re-pot the cuttings in a quality media as above.
4. Cover the cuttings either with a dome or with inverted clear plastic cups over each pot.
IMPORTANT -- if you cover your cuttings you won't ever have to water them again until they have rooted. I have had cuttings in my grow trays for three months and more in media that was just moistened at the beginning.

Just a few more comments:
-- In the height of my propagation season (June to September) my cuttings will root within 10 days to 3 weeks.
At that point they get transplanted into a coldframe outdoors.
-- Some rose varieties are much easier to root than others. Generally miniatures are the easiest, followed by polyanthas and floribundas. Hybrid Teas, Climbers and OGR's are the hardest -- in my experience.

Here's a link to my Photobucket site with a few photos of my propagation setup.

Let me know if this helps -- or just is too much information to digest all at once.

Name: James
Fabens,TX (Zone 8a)
Jan 3, 2014 6:37 AM CST
Dan, Your the man. You folks following here listen to him he is the Professor of this. I have some of his propagations and they are wonderful.

James I tip my hat to you.
Name: Teri
Mount Bethel, PA
Charter ATP Member Region: Pennsylvania Hibiscus Container Gardener Clematis Region: Northeast US
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Jan 8, 2014 10:22 AM CST
With that specific information, I might try this just one more time. Have you ever had success with Grandifloras and Hybrid Teas? What is the approximate ratio of your success. Do you find trying for these types too difficult for those of us who have never had success before?
Name: James
Fabens,TX (Zone 8a)
Jan 19, 2014 10:07 PM CST
pinkbubbless66, have you seen any improvement in your roses?
Name: Sheila
Central Kansas (Zone 6a)
Be thankful for everything you have
Jan 23, 2014 7:58 AM CST
I repotted before seeing responses. I got rid of the old moisture holding soil and went to a plain soil. The plants that were looking good are not so good and turning black and the ones that had no leaves but were still green are coming around. I am definitely going to follow the ideas listed here for next year. I want to have some knock out roses and an old climbing yellow rose in specific areas of my expanded garden so will need to go to the resources tab to find suppliers that grow for my area in middle Kansas. Not ready yet, we were 74 degrees on Sunday and 7 degrees today...

Thanks for all the help! I love this site :)
Name: Cindi
Wichita, Kansas (Zone 7a)
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Jan 27, 2014 2:49 PM CST
Try Arnolds for roses. Well worth the drive from any part of Kansas.
They carry growing media also. If there's something specific you are looking for, let me know. I might know of a place or two.
Lovey dubby
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H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
(Zone 9b)
Feb 7, 2014 6:40 PM CST
The type of soil you should use must be tailored to your conditions. Where there is regular humidity and/or rains, moisture control types are likely to remain too wet, hence blackening, rotting cuttings. If you're rooting them indoors or otherwise under cover, moisture control types will also probably remain too wet. In my conditions, humidity is fleeting and rain is not reliable. My cuttings are grown outdoors, exposed, with no cover and temps in the past month have mainly been in the seventies to high eighties. Only the past several days have been colder and even with the "rain" we received yesterday, pots are drying out quickly due to the drying winds following the bit of rain. I use the moisture control type soil so my cuttings don't fail due to drying out in a day or two. The only issues I have with the moisture control soils are when I pack the pots or bands too tightly with the soil so they don't drain well enough. There are nearly three-hundred cuttings there now, many already showing roots at the pot bottoms and all potted in the moisture control soil. If I was rooting them under cover, I would likely use something more along the lines of a seed starter mix. Sequoia Nursery, EuroDesert and Burlington, who all used/use mist propagation, used propagation and growing medias which were primarily perlite with some bark or "potting soil" combined. It was extremely loose, providing some moisture retention with excellent drainage. The problems I've had in my conditions with their plants were primarily due to their drying out in a day or two unless I replanted them in moisture control soil. It all boils down to selecting the right type of drainage for your conditions.
Name: James
Fabens,TX (Zone 8a)
Feb 7, 2014 7:05 PM CST
Thanks for adding your helpful information here. I am always interested in what others recommend. Thumbs up

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