How to Take a Good Cutting From a Rose Bush


Using a cutting is the most common way to start a new rose plant. After you take a cutting from an older bush, the cut surface of the stem will become the base of your new bush, sending out roots within a few weeks. Choosing the right cutting will help your new plant root quickly and grow to be strong and productive. For the best results, choose a rose bush that is healthy and well established to be your mother plant.

Step 1

Take your cutting in the summer, after the mother plant blooms but before new buds appear. Choose a stem that is healthy and green with four to six leaf nodes (pairs of leaves) for your cutting.

Step 2

Cut the stem about 12 inches from its tip using sharp gardening shears. Hold the shears at an angle when you make your cut, so rainwater will not pool on the cut's surface.

Step 3

Find the highest and lowest leaf nodes on your cutting. Use a razor blade to remove the top and bottom of the stem about ½ inch above the highest leaf node and below the lowest node. You should end up with an 11-inch cutting with angled cuts on both ends.

Step 4

Seal the top of your cutting and the cut surface on the rosebush with waterproof glue. Spread the glue over both surfaces and allow it to dry. This will seal the cuts so the plants are not susceptible to pests or disease.

Step 5

Use your razor blade to make three or four very shallow vertical cuts around the bottom (unsealed end) of your cutting. The cuts should be about an inch long, and should go through the bark of the stem but not into the wood. The vertical incisions should be parallel to the cutting, meaning they run up and down along the stem rather than around it. Making these slits will help your cutting send out roots.

Step 6

Plant your cutting. Some gardeners choose to root their cuttings in water or in damp paper towels, while others simply plant the cutting in the soil. For a cutting to root properly the soil needs to be damp, so water your new plant carefully for the first few weeks.

Things You'll Need

  • Gardening shears
  • Razor blade
  • Waterproof glue


  • Maryland Rose Society: Propagation by Cuttings
  • Rose Cuttings- The Art of Cutting and Preparing Them for Propagation
Keywords: propagate roses, start a new rose bush, taking rose cuttings

About this Author

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor's degree in legal studies, Hanna Terhaar began working full-time as a freelance writer. In the nine months she has been working professionally, Terhaar's articles have been published on sites such as, DIY Chatroom and The Daily Puppy.