Hybrid tea roses are royalty in the rose family. They produce showy, spectacular blooms that are 6 inches across in some varieties and are the ones most commonly used and sold by florists. They are also highly prized by rose enthusiasts. Hybrid tea roses are difficult to propagate by taking cuttings and are most often sold grafted onto a hardier variety of rose root stock. The home gardener can propagate hybrid tea roses on their own roots by taking cuttings in spring, then rooting and growing them in a protected location for their first year.
Make your rose cuttings in mid to late spring. At this time of year the canes will be at the perfect stage of maturity to more readily grow roots.
Prepare individual peat pots by filling them to the top with vermiculite. Water well so the vermiculite is damp but not soggy.
Take cuttings from a strong rose cane that has recently finished blooming. Make the cut below the fourth or fifth set of leaves. Remove the bottom two sets of leaves. Cut the top of the stem at a 45-degree angle. If desired, remove the thorns by pressing against them with a gloved finger.
Push the eraser end of a pencil into the vermiculite to make a hole in which to place the rose cutting. This will keep the rooting hormone from rubbing off when inserting it into the vermiculite. Make the holes about 2 inches deep, or deep enough to completely bury the bottom leaf node (remaining from the removed set of leaves).
Insert the bottom of the rose cutting into powdered rooting hormone, up to the level of the bottom leaf node. Blow off the excess.
Push the bottom of the cutting into the prepared hole in the vermiculite. Make sure that at least the bottom leaf node (the bump left after removing the leaves) is beneath the surface of the vermiculite. Firm the vermiculite around the stem so the cutting stands up on its own.
Insert three or four twigs or lengths of stiff wires about 8 inches long into the vermiculite evenly spaced around the perimeter of the pot. This will support the plastic so it stays off the leaves of the plant.
Punch holes into the bottom of a plastic cup. Place the peat pots containing the rose cuttings into the plastic cups.
Place a plastic bag over the top of the pot to make an individual mini-greenhouse. Make sure that the sticks support the plastic and keep it off the leaves of the rose cutting.
Put the cutting, in its mini-greenhouse, into a protected, shady spot. Check it daily. If condensation forms on the inside of the plastic, remove it for a day or two. Water the vermiculite rooting mix as needed to keep it damp but not soaking wet.
Check for the formation of roots in about four to six weeks. Gently tug on the cutting. If it resists gentle pressure, roots have formed.
Pot the rose cutting in a 6-inch pot after roots have formed, approximately four to six weeks after taking the cuttings. Use regular indoor potting soil. Do not remove the cutting from the peat pot; bury the peat pot completely with the potting soil in the 6-inch pot.
Sprinkle 1/2 tsp. of granulated rose food on top of the soil of the newly potted rose cutting. Do not feed again until you plant it in the garden the following spring.
Grow the cutting in partial shade for the remainder of the growing season. When freezing weather arrives, move the potted cutting into a frost-free place until spring. During this time, water as needed to keep the potting soil from drying out.
Plant the cutting into the garden the following spring, after all danger of frost has passed.