Q. How do I propagate roses?
Here are step-by-step rose propagation techniques.
STEP 1: Take a cutting from a strong cane that has bloomed. Cut so that it has four to five leaves. Trim the top at a 45 degree angle just above the topmost axil. Leave three or four leaf buds on the shoot.
Cut the bottom at an angle through a junction with a side branch, leaving a "heel" at the base. Immediately put the cutting in water
STEP 2: Prepare the peat pot Container
Fill a round, 3 to 3 1/2-inch peat pot with sterile potting medium. Soak the pot in warm water and allow it to drain. Peat pots are good because they allow you to see the roots as they push through the pots.
When this happens, it's time to re-pot. You can transplant a rooted cutting, peat pot and all, to a larger container without disturbing the young fragile root system
STEP 3: Prepare the cutting
Press your gloved thumb against each thorn to remove it.
(If the thorns don't pop off easily, the cane wood probably isn't ripe enough).
Remove all but the topmost one or two leaves; be careful not to damage any of the buds. Snip off all but four or five leaflets. Scrape off the bark at the bottom of the cutting, making a narrow 1 inch long wound, one on each side.
STEP 4: Insert the cutting
Punch a hole in the center of the potting medium in the new peat pot. Dip the bottom of the wet cutting in rooting hormone powder, and tap off the excess. Insert the cutting in the hole, and gently firm the soil.
Punch holes through the bottom of a plastic cup. Label it with the rose's name and the date. Slide the peat pot with cutting inside the cup.
STEP 5: Make a greenhouse for the cutting
Rose cuttings need constant moisture and humidity. Construct a simple wire frame work by looping two or three length s of wire over each cutting, like an arbor or cage.
Insert the ends between the peat pot and the plastic cup. Carefully slide the cup with the wire arbor into a clear plastic bag, and seal with a twist-tie. Make sure that the plastic doesn't touch any of the leaflets.
STEP 6: Care for the cutting
Place the cutting in a warm place with bright light but not in direct sunlight. Each cutting will develop differently.
You may notice a flush of new growth as the first sign that roots are forming. Or you may see roots push through the sides or bottom of the peat pot. It may take as little as two weeks or as long as six months for roots to develop.
STEP 7: Transfer the cutting
Transfer the rooted cutting to an 8 inch or larger pot. Add organic potting soil, completely burying the peat pot. Do not expose any part of the peat pot, it must be totally buried. Sprinkle a teaspoon of a slow release, balanced fertilizer with trace elements over the soil.
Place the container in cool shade, and keep it well watered. Over the next ten days to two weeks, gradually move it until it gets direct sunlight for at least six hours a day.
STEP 8: Transplant the cutting
Transplant vigorous cuttings into the garden during the first fall in milder climates, and mound soil 4-6 inches high around the canes.
After the ground freezes, surround the plant with wire mesh, and cover it with mulch.
In colder climates or for cuttings that are not mature, keep the plants in containers and protect them from freezing temperatures until following spring.
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service