How to Graph a Start From a Rose Bush


According to fossil evidence, roses have existed for over 35 million years. Today there are approximately 150 species of roses throughout the northern hemisphere, stretching from as far north as Alaska to as far south as northern parts of Africa. Though roses can be started from seed, many roses today are hybrids that will not reproduce rosebushes like their parent plant. Instead, many rose growers propagate their roses through grafting. One of the most popular methods of grafting roses is called bud grafting.

Step 1

Sharpen your grafting knife before attempting to graft roses. Grafting knives should be sharp enough to cut the woody rose canes without bruising them for successful grafting.

Step 2

Time your budding for midsummer when the sap in your rose bushes is flowing, so that the grafted bud has a chance to heal onto the root stock.

Step 3

Select bud stock canes that are succulent and disease-free with plump buds on the cane. The stem that you graft from should be on the exterior of the rose bush and should exhibit good growth. Avoid canes from the center of the rose bush. These canes will not produce good buds.

Step 4

Position the grafting knife 3/4 of an inch below the bud. The blade should be pointed upward and tilted back toward the cane at a 45 degree angle.

Step 5

Drag your knife upward and into the cane behind the bud; continue to drag the knife upward, and slice into the cane until you reach a point 1/2 inch above the bud.

Step 6

Rotate your knife blade outward and cut straight out of the cane. The bud and a shield-shaped chip should pop easily out from the cane.

Step 7

Place the shield-shaped bud in a sandwich bag along with 1 tbsp. of water. It is important to never let your bud dry out.

Step 8

Select a point in the rootstock where a leaf emerges from the cane (the node). This is where a bud can attach itself to a new cane most easily.

Step 9

On the opposite side of the cane from the leaf sprout, make a vertical slit in the bark that is about as long as your bud shield. Cut deeply enough to slice through the outer layer of bark in the plant, but not so deeply that you slice through the inner layer (the cambium).

Step 10

Make a second cut perpendicular to the first cut at the top of the slice to form a T shape. Peel each flap of bark from your cut away from the cambium layer gently.

Step 11

Place the bud against the cambium layer with the point side down and the flat side up. Close the flaps over the cambium layer, and wrap the cane around the top and bottom of the bud with polyetheline grafting tape. The poly tape will hold the layers in place, while at the same time preventing the bud from drying out.

Step 12

Prune away the cane over the graft once the bud heals into the root stock.

Things You'll Need

  • Bud stock (the rose being grafted from)
  • Root stock (Rose being grafted to)
  • Grafting knife
  • Polyetheline grafting tape
  • Sandwich bag
  • Water


  • Texas A&M Extension: T or Shield Budding
  • University of Illinois Extension: The History of Roses
  • Alabama Cooperative Extension Service: Growing Roses

Who Can Help

  • Washington State University Extension: Rose Culture
Keywords: grafting roses, propagating rose bushes, shield budding, T grafting, bud grafting

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."