How to Start a Rose Bush From Cuttings


A longtime favorite flower of many gardeners, roses enhance a variety of landscape designs. From formal estates to country cottages, these fragrant blossoms bring color and beauty to the yard. Pioneer settlers brought stem cuttings from an assortment of rose bushes to add beauty to their new homesteads. Like various other types of shrubs and perennials, rose bushes readily grow from stem cuttings. Cuttings provide an inexpensive method of reproducing a plant that closely resembles the parent plant's characteristics.

Step 1

Choose a healthy rose bush to use to harvest new cuttings for additional plants. Look for one with uniform growth and color. Avoid bushes with sparse or spotted leaves. Don't reproduce plants that exhibit signs of disease or pests. Select a mature bush that recently blossomed.

Step 2

Cut a stem that just finished blooming, before new leaf buds begin to form along its length. Choose a stem that has four to six leaf buds. Use a sharp knife to cut the stem from the bush at an angle, about 1/2 inch below the bottom leaf bud. Slice off the tip of the cut stem just above the top leaf bud. Wound the lower stem by making two or three superficial cuts into the bark near the end. Make these shallow, vertical cuts about 1/2-inch long.

Step 3

Dip the bottom of your cutting in water. Tap off the excess and then dip the segment into powdered rooting hormone. Gently tap the stem to remove excess powder.

Step 4

Fill your pot with loose potting soil, leaving about 1 inch of space below the rim. Press a deep hole into the middle of the soil with a long pencil. Insert the lower half of your powdered cutting into the hole. Press down the potting soil around the stem to hold it in place. Dampen the soil with a gentle trickle of water. Watch for the appearance of a few drops near the drainage hole to ensure adequate moisture.

Step 5

Insert three or four wooden dowels or bamboo sticks into the soil near the outside edges of the pot. Arrange a clear, plastic bag over the dowels to hold in moisture. Punch about six small holes into the plastic bag with the tip of a sharp pencil.

Step 6

Set your pot outdoors in an area with filtered sunlight. Check the soil for signs of dryness. Allow the surface to become slightly dry before adding more water to the soil. Watch for the formation of new leaf buds. This indicates newly forming roots beneath the soil. Wait about two months to transplant your rooted cutting into its permanent location in your yard.

Things You'll Need

  • Knife
  • Water
  • Rooting hormone
  • Pot
  • Potting soil
  • Pencil
  • Dowels or bamboo sticks
  • Plastic bag


  • Maryland Geological Survey: Rose Cutting Propagation
  • University of Florida: Growing Roses from Cuttings
  • Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society: Rose Cuttings

Who Can Help

  • North Carolina State University: Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings
Keywords: rose bush cuttings, rose propagation, stem cuttings

About this Author

Laura Dee is a writer, artist, and the co-owner of Wallace & Wallace Copywriting,an online business which specializes in providing marketing materials and copy to various companies. She has written for Demand Studios since 2008 and is currently working on a series of childrens' picture books.