How to Start a Root off of a Rose Bush


Rose bushes can be propagated in a number of ways, including budding, grafting, cuttings and tip layering. Cuttings and tip layering are the most common processes for the home gardener. This is the best way to get a few extra rose bushes that are identical to your original. Starting a root off of a rose bush requires a bit of patience, and may take several months to produce a viable new bush.

Propagating by Cuttings

Step 1

Prepare the flower pots for the cuttings by filling them with two parts sand to one part peat moss. Water the soil until the water runs through the drain holes. Allow the soil to dry out for three to four hours. Press your finger in the soil 2 inches deep to make a planting hole for the stem.

Step 2

Take a 6-inch cutting from a healthy stem near the top of a bush that has flowered before. Do this in the early the morning while the stem is still full of water. Cut with a sharp knife on a 45-degree angle.

Step 3

Remove the leaves from the bottom half of the stem and cut the upper leaves in half. Remove any parts of the flower that may be left behind.

Step 4

Dip the cut end of stem the into rooting hormone and place it into the planting hole you made in the soil. Water the soil again just to dampen it.

Step 5

Place a plastic bag over the stem and container to create a humid environment for the stem. Put the flower pot in a warm area with indirect light. Take the plastic off and mist the cutting once a week, or if you notice the soil is drying out. You should have roots in two to three weeks.

Propagating by Tip Layering

Step 1

Choose a stem near the bottom of the bush that is still pliable. Bend it over towards the ground next to the bush until the stem cracks. Do not break it off completely--you just want a crack. Determine where the tip will touch the ground and mark the area.

Step 2

Dig a little soil from the area the stem could reach. Bend the stem over and place the tip in the small hole. Bend a wire coat hanger or other wire and place it over the stem tip to hold in into the soil.

Step 3

Cover the stem tip and the wire with soil. Cover the soil with a 3-inch layer of mulch.

Step 4

Water the stem tip to keep the soil moist. In about a month the stem tip will start to develop some roots. Leave it in place for another two months, or until fall. Cut the stem free from the mother plant and re-plant it in the landscape.

Tips and Warnings

  • Rose bushes that are patented require 17 years from the time of their introduction to be propagated without paying the patent holder a fee.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp knife
  • Rooting hormone
  • Sand
  • Peat moss
  • Small flower pots with drain holes
  • Plastic bags
  • Wire coat hanger
  • Mulch


  • NC State University: Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings: Instructions for the Home Gardener
  • North Dakota State University: Rose Propagation
  • Texas Cooperative Extension: Tip Layering Roses
Keywords: propagating rose bushes, rose stem cuttings, tip layering roses

About this Author

Dale DeVries is a retired realtor with 30 years of experience in almost every facet of the business. DeVries started writing in 1990 when she wrote advertising and training manuals for her real estate agents. Since retiring, she has spent the last two years writing well over a thousand articles online for Associated Content, Bright Hub and Demand Studios.