Own root plants are a term for propagating roses through rooting cuttings. It is a method for expanding roses by taking stem cuttings, and then allowing that cutting to take root. Many old rose varieties have been passed down through generations in this manner. According to Dr. William C. Welch of Texas A&M University, taking and propagating own root plants is a preference of many rose growers and collectors. Although this type of propagation may take longer for blooms to appear, the roses generally will hold up to environmental diversity better than grafted root stock varieties.
Select the tip of the rose that has had recent blooms. Roses maybe propagated at any time of the year, but perhaps the best time is in the late fall, according to Dr. Welch.
Cut the stem end approximately 6 inches to 8 inches long. Remove all dead blooms or rose hips from the cutting. The cut should be trimmed to a 45-degree angle to increase the surface area for rooting.
Remove leaves 2 to 3 inches up the cut stem of the rose cutting. Dip the cut end into the rooting hormone powder.
Place the cut end of the rose stem into a prepared growing bed or a 6-inch pot filled with a potting soil growing medium. Potting soil medium can be equal parts of peat moss mixed with either equal parts of sand or vermiculite. If placing the stem cutting outdoors, make sure it is not in direct sunlight, but in a bright location. Direct sunlight will tend to dry out the soil around the rose cutting prematurely. The same holds true for the 6-inch pot, which must be placed in a bright location, but not in direct sunlight.
Moisten the soil around the rose stem cutting.
Insert a stick or a piece of wire coat hanger, 8 inches to 10 inches long, next to the stem cutting. Push the stick or wire into the soil approximately 2 to 3 inches deep.
Place a piece of plastic food wrap over the cutting. You can substitute a glass jar over the cutting. The clear covering will act like a mini green house and hold moisture in the soil medium. Caution must be exercised to keep the cutting, when covered, from any direct sunlight. The small rooting plant may overheat in the direct sun.
Inspect the cutting on daily. Add water so the cutting does not dry out. Leave the rose stem cutting in place for approximately one full year. Transplant to a new location after one year or the following late fall to early winter, before the ground freezes.