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How to Grow Roses From Stem Cuttings

Roses have been handed down from generation to generation, creating a connection to a past long gone. Rose propagation is typically by means of budding or grafting. However, one economical way of propagating roses is by the method of cuttings. If you have a favorite rose bush, propagating by means of cuttings will ensure a plant with identical blooms to the mother plant. Be careful, however, not to propagate a rose bush that is still under patent. As Dr. William C. Welch, professor and landscape horticulturalist at Texas A&M points out, a royalty must be paid to the owner of the rose patent. But for plants no longer under patent, growing roses from stem cuttings is a simple and rewarding process.

Take rose cuttings from late fall up to February. Cuttings can be taken at any time, even during blooming season, but taking cuttings during cooler months ensures a higher success rate.

Select a previously-budded, pencil-thick stem with several leaves attached. Cut the stem to a length of six to eight inches with a clean, sharp knife. Make the cut on a 45 degree angle. Place immediately in a cool environment.

Create a half to one inch vertical wound at the base of the cutting with a sharp knife. This will ensure the formation of callus tissue, which the plant requires to form roots.

Apply rooting hormone to base of cutting by first wetting the end of the stem with water and then dipping into rooting hormone. Shake or tap to rid the stem of excess rooting hormone.

Make a three to four inch deep planting hole with a pencil or dowel in containers filled with either coarse-textured potting soil or a mix of peat moss and coarse sand that is damp but not saturated.

Stick stem in planting holes and lightly tamp potting soil around stems.

Water lightly, then place a gallon-sized plastic bag over the stem and the pot, tying with a twist-tie or rubber band to hold in place.

Water during the winter to ensure plants do not dry out. Transplant in the late fall to a permanent location.


The use of rooting hormone isn't required to propagate roses from stem cuttings. Many rose plants do well without the extra stimulation.


Not all cuttings will form roots. Take three to six cuttings from the same plant and start in separate containers to ensure propagation of one healthy plant.

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