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How to Start a Confederate Rose Bush From a Cutting

hibiscus image by Christophe Fouquin from

The confederate rose is not true rose plant; instead, it is a variety of hibiscus. Confederate rose hibiscus is a perennial shrub that forms multiple woody stems at the base of the plant. The plant grows native in China and is hardy to plant in the southern United States from growing zones 7 through 9. Confederate rose hibiscus propagates to create new plants easily by taking either softwood stem sections in late spring or semi-hardwood stem sections in midsummer.

Wash a sharp knife with a solution that is nine parts water and one part bleach. Rinse the knife well and let it dry before using.

Cut a 6-inch softwood or semi-hardwood section of branch from the confederate rose plant with the knife. Softwood stems are new growth that is just starting to harden. Semi-hardwood stems are new growth that is firm, with mature leaves.

Mix a rooting soil by combining equal portions of course sand, peat moss and perlite. Moisten the soil with water and add it to a rooting tray.

Cut the leaves off the bottom 3 inches of the confederate rose cuttings. Cut large leaves on the top half of the stem in half to conserve space and moisture in the rooting tray.

Pour a small amount of rooting hormone onto a piece of waxed paper and dip the bottom end of the cutting into the hormone. Stick the stem into the rooting soil to a depth of 2 to 3 inches. Space the cuttings far enough apart so the remaining leaves do not touch.

Mist the confederate rose cuttings with water and cover the tray and cuttings with a clear plastic bag. Place the tray in a warm area with filtered sunlight. Monitor the moisture in the rooting tray to make sure it does not dry out. Open the bag several times a week to refresh the air around the cuttings.

Inspect the cuttings after three weeks of growth. Gently pull on the stems to see if there is resistance for root growth. Grow the cuttings in the rooting tray until the roots are 1 inch in length.

Transplant the confederate rose stems into individual growing pots filled with a well-draining potting soil. Set the pots in a bright location and continue to grow the transplanted stems indoors until the following spring.

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