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How to Take a Slip Off of a Rose Bush

By Contributing Writer ; Updated September 21, 2017

Rose slips are greenwood cuttings that gardeners take from roses for propagation. The slips are dipped in rooting hormone than placed in growing medium and left in place until they form roots. When rooted, the slips grow into genetically identical copies of the parent rose. Greenwood refers to actively growing plant tissue. In the case of roses use greenwood formed in mid spring through early summer. Greenwood produced in mid to late summer and early fall will probably be too short to effectively turn into a slip. Choose healthy, disease and pest free canes to make slips from, as healthy canes have a better chance of forming roots.

Take slips from roses in mid spring through mid summer. Roses put forth the most new growth during this time.

Make slips from new rose growth (greenwood). New rose canes have a greenish cast, are pliable (will bend without breaking), usually have flower buds and are generally less than 1 inch in diameter.

Make cuts on a 45 degree angle just above a healthy, outward facing bud (the greenish bump on the cane where new growth emerges). Slips need to be between 6 and 8 inches long.

Remove leaves from the bottom 2/3 of the slip. Leave 3 to 6 leaves per slip on the upper 1/3 of the slip. Remove flowers and flower buds.

Make a cut on a 45 degree angle just under the bottom bud on your rose slip. Your slip is now ready for rooting.


Things You Will Need

  • Pruning shears


  • Always sanitize your pruning shears in a 1:10 bleach water mix to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Use sharp pruning shears and don't crush or tear the rose canes when making your cuts.