Only a select few rose varieties are available for sale from nurseries each year. If you are looking for a specific type of hybrid rose or for one that is no longer commercially grown, you may be able to locate a gardener who has the variety you want. Most rose gardeners are happy to give or trade rose cuttings. Propagating hybrid roses from cuttings ensures that the new plants will be true to the parent.
Wash the planting flat or container and rinse it thoroughly. Fill it with sterile potting mix that is moist but not wet.
Take healthy cuttings with leaves attached from the source rose. Cut from the current season’s new growth after a bloom has faded. Cut stems 7 inches long for hybrid teas, each with five leaves attached. Through photosynthesis, the leaves will provide sugars that the cuttings need for energy to grow new roots.
Miniature hybrid rose cuttings should be about 3 inches long; for floribundas or modern rose shrubs a good length is about 4 or 5 inches. Keep the leaves intact on any cuttings you take.
Trim the ends of the cuttings at a 45-degree angle, and immediately place them in a glass of water or a plastic bag to prevent dehydration.
Make a hole for each cutting in the soil in the prepared planting containers. Wet the basal (rooting) end of each cutting, dip it into rooting hormone powder and tap off any excess powder. Slip the cutting gently into the planting hole, being careful not to scrape off the rooting powder. Firm the soil around the cutting. Label the cutting by variety, and include the starting date if you wish.
Create a makeshift greenhouse to retain warmth and humidity for the cuttings. If you have a clear plastic dome that fits your starting flat, use that. You can also use clear plastic drink cups inverted over a cutting in a small pot. Cover a cutting in a larger pot with the clear top part of a 2-liter drink bottle that has been cut off. You can create a tent from clear plastic wrap to cover a flat of cuttings.
Provide gentle bottom heat with a plant heating mat, and give the cuttings plenty of bright light. Keep them moist and keep them in a warm place until you see new top growth or roots developing. Not all rose cuttings grow in the same way. Some may root in a few weeks, and some may need six months. As long as the cutting is not moldy or dead looking, it is still viable.
Things You Will Need
- Source rose plant
- Protective gloves
- Sharp pruning clippers
- Sharp knife
- Rooting hormone
- Sterile potting mix
- Planting flat or container
- Plant labels
- Plant heating mat (optional)
- Some of the new hybrid roses were bred for flower characteristics only and they will not root well. They are always sold as grafted plants.
- Patent protection for new roses lasts for 17 to 20 years after they are introduced. It is illegal to propagate them during this time. You may propagate any older rose that has an expired patent.
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