Propagating Roses

The straightforward way!

Propagating roses is both an art and a science! There are several propagating methods available for you to use to increase your collection of roses, but the simple, straightforward ones, work as well as any. We have collected a series of articles about this topic which, we hope, will help you make the most of this interesting aspect of gardening: Propagating Roses.

Propagating roses need not be difficult but you rarely have a 100% success rate, so try what is suggested and adjust for your own area and circumstance. It can be a fun and productive hobby as well as providing you with extra bushes. Have a try.


Roses like other woody shrubs can be propagated in a number of ways but only species roses will come true from seed.

All hybrids must be propagated as cuttings, grafted, or from tissue culture.

The most common way home gardeners propagate roses is by taking soft wood cuttings during the growing season and rooting them but be aware that Roses still under Plant Patent protection may not be propagated!

Propagating: How it's done.

Take cuttings from stems that have just finished flowering. You can test if the stem is ready if you can push off prickles with your thumb without the stem ripping or bending.

Cuttings should be from 6 to 8 inches in length and you should make your cut just above a leaf node or bud eye. Remove any flowers or hips and remove the lowest 2 or 3 leaves from the cutting.

Make a new cut just below the lowest bud eye at a 45° angle. Dip the freshly cut end in a rooting compound (Rootone #1?)and then knock of any excess rooting compound.

Using a mixture of 50% Perlite and 50% sharp sand as a rooting medium, stick the prepared cutting up to the lowest leaf on the stem, into the soil. (ie. the Perlite/Sand mixture)

Label the container with the name and date the cuttings were prepared, water and place the container of cuttings under a mist system or use a clear plastic bag to retain moisture and act as a mini-greenhouse.

Place the freshly wrapped container in a bright spot in the garden but not in full sun.

Roses can root in as little as 4 to 6 weeks so check frequently to make sure the container hasn't dried out.

Once you see fresh roots growing out of the drainage holes the cuttings are ready for potting up. Handle only one container of cuttings at a time for potting up. Gently ease out the rooted cuttings onto the potting bench and separate them from each other.

Plant each cutting in a 4" clean plastic pot using fresh potting medium, label and water the pots. (Fertilize only after the cutting starts showing signs of growth.)

Move the 4" cuttings to larger containers as you see roots growing out of the drainage holes. Also remember that removing flower buds will allow the new plant to put all its energy into growing: not an easy thing to do!

Your success rate will vary and you will need to experiment with placement, temperature and watering schedules before you get it right.

Propagating roses is both an art and a science: experiment a little to see what works the best.

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