How to Plant Rose Bush Cuttings


Propagating roses from cuttings is both a cost saving and surefire way to get a new rose plant of the cultivar you want. When grown from seed, the resulting rose may not be a replica of the plant from which the seed was taken. Grafting can be tricky for the home gardener as well as time consuming. Cuttings provide exact DNA from the donor rose and give a more predictable result. Rose cuttings can be rooted directly in garden soil or in nursery pots.

Step 1

Select a planting location for your rose cuttings that affords an exposure of bright indirect light or direct morning sunlight but midday shade. Prepare a well tilled spot in a garden bed or fill a nursery pot with sterile planting medium. Water the planting medium well until saturated before placing the cutting.

Step 2

Harvest your rose cuttings in the fall with clean sharp secateurs. Cut a branch tip of a fading flower on the bias down to 6 or 8 inches. Make sure the cutting has at least a few leaves in place or leaf axils. Remove any leaves from the lower half of the cutting leaving the top half in place. Keep the cuttings cool and moist until planting and harvest as close to planting as possible.

Step 3

Use a dowel or pencil to make a narrow hole in the planting soil at least 2 inches deep. Wet the bias cut stem end of the cutting with water and dip it into the powdered rooting hormone up to 2 inches high on the cutting. Plunge the cutting into hole you made in the moist tilled garden or potting soil so that 2 to 4 inches are buried. Firm the soil around the cutting with your finger tips.

Step 4

Keep the root cutting soil evenly and constantly moist. Tent the young plants with a garden cloche, rose cone or plastic bag to create a green house effect until the cuttings are rooted.

Step 5

Wait a year from rooting to disturb and transplant the young rose. Move the rose to a location with rich well-drained garden soil and a direct exposure to sunlight with afternoon shade, if any shade at all. Feed the rose with a rose fertilizer formula, such as rose tone or fish emulsion, beginning in April and several times a year thereafter.

Tips and Warnings

  • Beware, propagating rose cultivars that are under an active patent is a crime, as they can only legally be replicated by someone who has paid for the license to do so.

Things You'll Need

  • Secateurs
  • Rooting hormone
  • Sterile potting mix
  • Nursery pot
  • Dowel or pencil
  • Water
  • Clear plastic bag, cloche, rose cone
  • Organic rose fertilizer


  • Texas A&M Univeristy
Keywords: propagating roses, rose plant cuttings, rooting canes

About this Author

An omni-curious communications professional, Dena Kane has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals, as well as film and broadcast media. Kane studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.