Propagating a rose bush from cuttings is a time-tested way to preserve old roses and expand your rose garden. The best time to take a cutting from a rose bush is during the late fall if you live in warmer climates or during the late spring if you live in cooler climates. Plan to take more than one cutting from a rose bush so you will have a greater chance at propagation. Normal success rates range from 50 to 75 percent.
Prepare the space to plant your cutting before you take a cutting from the rose bush. You’ll need to have a container of root stimulator as well as a small pot filled with sterile potting soil. Rose cuttings should be planted 3 to 4 inches deep in the container or in the ground. If you plan to plant your cutting directly into the ground, dig a small hole. Water the soil well and let it drain. Insert a pencil into the center of the container so the root stimulator will not rub off during planting.
Locate stems on the rose bush that have had recent blooms. Stems with roses that have finished blooming and that are turning brown are ideal candidates for cutting and rooting. These withering rose blossoms are called hips.
Remove the hips from the end of the stem down to the first group of healthy leaves. From the tip, measure back 6 to 8 inches. Cut the stem at a 45-degree angle with pruning shears or a sharp knife. Trim away any leaves from the cutting.
Dip your cutting in the root stimulator. Gently tap away the excess rooting hormone.
Plant the cutting in the container or in the ground. Gently pack soil around the cutting. Water it again.
Cover the pot with a gallon-size plastic bag to hold in the humidity. You can place a jar over the cutting in the ground; make sure it does not receive too much sun. Water the stem only when it’s dry. Roots should begin to grow in about two weeks.