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How to Get a Start Off a Rose Bush

By Eulalia Palomo ; Updated September 21, 2017

Propagating roses with a start of an existing rose bush is a popular way to duplicate your favorite roses. Taking a single cutting does nothing to hurt the existing plant, so if a friend or fellow gardener has a rose you particularly covet, ask to take a clipping from her plant. You can give back by offering a start from your own rose collection. Growing roses from rose starts is a fun and inexpensive way to build your rose collection and share with friends.

Cut a rose stalk that has between 4 and 6 leaf nodes. Choose a rose stalk that has just flowered but is beginning to lose the flower petals. This will insure that you get your cutting before new buds begin to form.

Cut the top ½ inch above the top leaf nodes and the bottom at ½ inch below the bottom leaf node.

Take the leaves off the lower part of the rose stalk while leaving half the leaves at the top end of the rose stalk.

Using a sharp knife, make three vertical cuts in the lower part of the rose stalk an inch from the bottom. When making the cuts penetrate only the bark and do not cut into the woody stalk.

Dip the cut end of the rose stalk in rooting powder. Rooting powder is a growth aid that can be purchased at most hardware and garden stores.

Prepare a planting pot with potting soil. The pot should have several holes in the bottom so that water can drain though the pot and not collect around the roots.

Make a hole in the potting soil slightly larger than the rose stalk. Use a pencil or dowel to make a deep narrow hole. Insert the leafless cut end of the rose stalk into the hole and gently fill with soil. Half the rose stalk should be submerged in the potting soil while the other half is exposed to the light and air. Several rose stalks can be placed in the same pot.

Water thoroughly. Place identification tags next to each rose if you are propagating several varieties.

Insert dowels or bamboo taller than the rose canes on the outside edges of the planting pot. Wrap a plastic bag around the top of the plants and secure tightly around the pot. This will keep moisture in while the roses are taking root.

Place rose starts in a shady spot. They should be exposed to some sun but too much, as direct sun will cook the new starts. You should not need to water again until the roses take root as the plastic bag will keep enough moisture around the plants.

Once the roses have taken root, you can plant them in the ground or share them with friends.


Things You Will Need

  • Sharp knife
  • Planting pots
  • Potting soil
  • Root stimulating powder
  • Plastic bags
  • Marking tags

About the Author


Eulalia Palomo has been a professional writer since 2009. Prior to taking up writing full time she has worked as a landscape artist and organic gardener. Palomo holds a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies from Boston University. She travels widely and has spent over six years living abroad.