How to Popagate Rose Bushes

Overview

Most purchased rose bushes have been grown from grafted branches onto the roots of a different type of rose plant. These roses generally are hybrids. Hybrid roses grow poorly on their own roots and are most easily propagated through grafting. Old roses, such as tea roses, grow well through rooted cuttings.

Rooting Cuttings

Step 1

Take cuttings during late fall or winter, when the plant is dormant or about to go dormant, for best results, although roses will root at any time of the year.

Step 2

Remove the stem tips, rose hips and spent flowers from the end of a rose cane. Prune away the end of the cane down to the first healthy set of leaves. Position the pruners 6 to 8 inches from the tip of the stem. Cut the cane at a 45-degree angle.

Step 3

Place the cutting in a plastic bag with 1 tbsp. of water to prevent the cutting from drying out.

Step 4

Mix a potting medium of 1 part peat moss, 1 part compost and 1 part vermiculite. Water until the soil is as damp as a wrung-out sponge.

Step 5

Remove all leaves from the lower two-thirds of the plant. Dip the lower end of the plant into the rooting hormone and insert the stem halfway into the potting medium.

Step 6

Cover the container with a plastic bag and place it in a sunny, dry location that is shaded from afternoon sunlight and wind. Remove the plastic bag when the rose takes root. Transplant the rose into the ground after it has outgrown its container.

Grafting

Step 1

Place a grafting knife ½ inch below the bud of a rose bush. Hold the knife at a 45-degree angle pointing toward the rose cane. Slice inward and upward to a point ½ inch above the bud. Turn the knife outward and slice to remove the bud and a sliver of the rose cane.

Step 2

Place the bud and shield in a plastic bag with 1 tbsp. of water to prevent it from drying out.

Step 3

Select a healthy rose cane from a young rose bush to be the rootstock plant.

Step 4

Cut a vertical slit into the bark of the rose cane. Do not let the cut extend into the wood of the rose. Make the vertical slit the same length as the shield of the bud. Cut a horizontal slit into the bark to create a "T." Peel back the two flaps created by the "T" to reveal a pocket in the bark.

Step 5

Slip the shield into the pocket of bark and close the flaps over the top of the bud. Make sure the bark layers of the bud and the rose touch one another.

Step 6

Tape around the top and bottom of the bud with polyethylene grafting tape to hold the flaps of the shield closed and retain needed moisture.

Step 7

Remove the grafting tape after the bud sprouts. Prune away the cane at a point above the bud to make the bud the dominant leader on the cane.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Grafting knife
  • Plastic bag
  • Plastic container
  • Peat moss
  • Compost
  • Vermiculite
  • Rooting hormone
  • Plastic bag
  • Rose scion plant
  • Rose rootstock plant
  • Polyethylene grafting tape

References

  • Texas A&M University Extension: T or Shield Budding
  • Texas A&M University Extension: Rose Propagation from Cuttings
  • Mississippi State University Extension: Propagating Plants For The Home Landscape

Who Can Help

  • Texas A&M University Extension: Rose Breeding and Fragrance
Keywords: grafting rose bushes, rooting rose cuttings, propagating roses

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."