How to propagate roses from cuttings

Striking rose cuttings
How to propagate roses from cuttings

Propagating roses for your own use or to give to friends and family as gifts is easy. It is so simple, even the beginner gardener can master it. This simple method of striking roses is by taking cuttings. It is quick, easy and the bushes produced from the cuttings will be identical to the rose bush from which the cutting was taken.

Once the cuttings have been taken they are inserted into pots or in the ground and basically remain there until they are making strong new growth. Once that new growth has hardened off they can be transplanted safely, or stay in the ground or pot until it is convenient to plant them out in to their permanent position.


Step 1

Make a narrow trench

In a lightly shaded spot of the garden, where the soil is free from invading tree and shrub roots, make a narrow slit trench. This is done by pushing the blade of your spade into the soil to its full depth and rocking it back and forth to make a narrow trench. Sprinkle some sharp sand into the trench until it is about 2 inches (5cm) deep to help with drainage.

Step 2

Select cuttings

Choose cuttings from your favorite rose bushes that are about a pencil thickness and of new green wood that has ripened or hardened off. Using your clean, sharp secateurs sever 6-9 inches (15-22cm) long cuttings.

Step 3

Trim leaves

Trim all the leaves from the cuttings except for the topmost two sets. Dip the cut ends into a softwood rooting hormone powder to improve your chances of success.

Step 4

Plant the cuttings

Insert the cuttings into the ground with the leaves at the top and the root hormone-powdered base planted deep enough for the lowerst set of leaves to sit just above the soil level.

Step 5

Close the trench

Gently push the soil back firmly to close the trench encasing the cuttings. With a waterproof and fadeproof tag and pen, name and date the cuttings.

Step 6

Water and watch for pests

Carefully water the cuttings every two or three days and keep a vigilant eye out for destructive pests such as snails and slugs.

Step 7

Do not fertilize

Watch for signs of new growth and remove any cuttings that die. Do not try to encourage growth by fertilizing the cuttings. If any weeds do emerge, gently pull them out being careful not to harm the new roots.

Step 8

Planting cuttings in pots

To strike cuttings in pots follow a similar procedure as striking them in the ground. When planting the cuttings in a pot ‘dibble’ planting hole in the potting mix with a pencil and then carefuly insert the cutting into the hole and gently firm it in place. It shouldn’t be necessary to cover the pots with a plastic bag unless you live in a cold, temperate climate.

Things Needed
• Sharp clean secateurs
• Spade
• Sharp sand
• Rooting hormone powder
• Pots and potting mix
• Pencil
• Waterproof and fadeproof tags

Tips & Warnings
• Cuttings can be taken at any time of year, but the best time is when the weather is mild; not too hot and not too cold.
• Sharp sand is sand that has been washed free of small particles of dirt.
• About six cuttings of one variety will produce a minimum of two rooted plantlets.
• Only when the cuttings are making strong new growth can you apply a light application of fertilizer.
• Only when the new growth has hardened off can the plants be transplanted safely.
• Newly transplanted rose bushes must be watered regularly until they are fully established.
• When striking cuttings in a pot, insert about six cuttings in a 6 inch (15cm) pot. Make sure the leaves of the cuttings do not touch each other.


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