Heirloom roses are what most of us think when we think of the splendor of a fragrant rose. Unlike most of the modern hybrid roses, which have no scent, heirloom roses typically are highly fragrant and very hardy. Historically, heirloom roses are the group of roses that were in existence before 1867. Propagating an heirloom rose by cutting is a sure way to keep these marvelous old-fashioned roses alive and prospering.
Cut off 5- to 6-inch sections from an heirloom rose bush. Snip the cuttings at a 45-degree angle. Strip off all the leaves from the lower half of each cutting. Snip the leftover leaves in half with scissors to lessen moisture loss.
Dampen one paper towel for each heirloom rose cutting. Place an heirloom rose cutting onto the wet paper towel and roll it up. Set the rose cuttings into plastic baggies. Put the plastic baggies in a refrigerator until they are ready to be planted. (Do not leave the cuttings in the baggies for more then two to three days).
Fill 3- or 4-inch sterilized plastic pots with a mixture of sand and 1/3 the amount of composted pine bark or peat moss. Pack the growing media firmly in each of the pots. Water each of the pots until they are damp throughout the growing media.
Create 2- to 3-inch deep holes in the center of each pot. Each hole should be about 1/2 inch in width. Pour 1 tbsp. of rooting hormone into a small bowl. Roll the bottom 2 to 3 inches of each heirloom rose cutting in the rooting hormone. Tap the cutting with your finger and remove any excess powder. Dispose of any leftover hormone powder.
Place an heirloom rose cutting into one of the plastic pots. Avoid removing any of the hormone powder when you set the heirloom rose cutting into the growing media. Press the growing media in and around the heirloom rose cutting with your finger tips to firmly set the cutting into the growing media.
Set the pots in a location where they will remain undisturbed, except for watering, until the spring, when you they can be transplanted into larger growing containers. Provide them 8 to 10 hours of light a day. Keep the heirloom rose cuttings moist, and do not allow the growing media to dry out.