Rose nursery catalogs are filled with many varieties of roses every year, but they are only a fraction of the over 6,500 rose varieties that are registered. Since the patent on a new rose variety expires 17 or 20 years after it is released, you can legally propagate the older rose varieties yourself. One of the easiest ways to do this is to grow your own rose plants from clippings. Find a grower who has a variety you like, and arrange for some clippings. Most growers will be happy to trade or give you clippings of their plants. Many of the older rose varieties are not commercially grown any more. You can find them by joining rose grower groups or online forums where rose enthusiasts actively seek older rose varieties for their gardens.
Prepare your flats or containers by washing and rinsing them thoroughly, and then fill them with moist sterile growing medium that is rich in humus. Add some perlite to the starting soil to help provide good drainage and to help avoid fungus. Water the starting soil now, before you plant the rose clippings.
Snip clippings from healthy rose plants. Keep the leaves on the clippings, because they will provide energy for root production by continuing photosynthesis. Clippings from miniature roses should be about three inches long; shrub roses and floribunda clippings should be five inches long. Hybrid tea roses and climbing roses root best from longer clippings, about eight inches long. Longer clippings need deeper containers to root. Use a sharp knife or clippers so the cut end is clean and at a 45 degree angle. Place the clippings in a vase or bucket of water to keep them fresh.
Dip the wet cut ends of the clippings into rooting hormone powder so that the lower third of the clipping is covered with a thin layer of powder about 1/16 inch thick. Keep the hormone powder from dusting onto other parts of the clippings, because it can cause burning and spotting.
Make a planting hole in the medium with your finger. Slip the powdered end of the clipping into the hole without scraping off any of the powder. Firm the soil around it, and repeat for each clipping.
Cover the flat or containers with a clear plastic dome or make a plastic bag "tent" to keep the humidity high. For clippings in pots, cover them with the clear tops trimmed from plastic drink bottles, or invert a clear plastic drink cup over the clipping.
Provide eight hours of bright, indirect light daily. Use supplemental plant lights if enough sunlight is not available.