There is nothing like blooms of roses for their beauty and their fragrance. And due to the price tag associated with this flower, most people can only keep a few specimens. That’s why in this article, I’m going to guide you on how I grow my roses from cuttings so that you are able to increase your plants for free.
Step by step guide on how to grow roses from cuttings
There are many ways in which to propagate roses. Such as layering, dividing, cuttings and seeding. But my most favorite way to propagate roses is by the cutting method.
1. Cutting Method for growing roses
Within the cuttings method, there are three ways in which we can do this. There’s the hardwood rose cutting method. The semi-hardwood rose cutting method. And the softwood rose cutting methods.
Now I prefer the semi-hardwood rose cutting methods because I believe that it gives you a better result in the end. And it’s much easier and that’s what we’re going to concentrate on in this article.
So why semi-hardwood cuttings to grow roses? Well, semi-hardwood cuttings are more adaptable right across the range of roses. From hybrid T’s right the way through to bush roses.
So how to tell if your cutting is semi-hardwood? With semi-hardwood cuttings to have a little bit of bend in them but they’re still firm when you are bending. So you know that if there’s a little bit of giving within the cutting itself, you know that that’s a semi-hardwood cutting.
If we moved down the stem to where we cut it from the plant you can see that this is very stiff. And in fact, if I was to keep bending it would snap.
Now, this is a hardwood cutting because it’s lignified, it’s got much, much tougher and likewise, if I move to the end of the plant where the rose was then this will bend very easily. And this is a softwood cutting.
Semi-hardwood cuttings are perfect for other plants too. And the perfect time to actually take them is between the end of summer and the beginning of autumn or fall.
Before you take your cuttings it’s really important that you have a really good pair of secateurs that are sharp and clean. They need to be sharp so that they don’t damage the cutting when you’re taking it. But they also need to be cleaned to prevent the disease from entering the cut after you’ve taken the cutting.
I use Virkon which is a quaternary disinfectant to sterilize my cutters in between taking cuttings from plant to plant. Now, this can reduce the likelihood of you transferring disease from one plant to the next.
2. Taking the Cutting
To take the cutting find the perfect place on the plant like we’ve already discussed. And then cut above a leaf node. This is where the leaves actually leave the stem.
We then need to count down four leaf nodes and then make another cut just under that leaf node. This will now become our viable cutting.
3. Prevent Moisture Loss
Before we plant this though we need to reduce the foliage to prevent moisture loss. I remove all the leaves right up to the last couple of leaves. Now this will still provide enough photosynthesis for the plant, but it will reduce the likelihood of the cutting drying out because it will minimize the moisture loss.
4. Perfect Rooting hormones to grow roses
Our cutting is now ready to plant, but before we do this we can increase the outcome of a successful cutting by dipping this cutting in some rooting hormone.
There are various rooting hormones on the market. Some are liquids, some are gels and this one is a powder. But they all do the same thing, but what you do have to make sure is that your particular rooting hormone is for semi-hardwood cuttings.
You may see on some youtube videos, them scraping back the bark down to the cambium layer. Now they do this to damage the cutting to induce more rooting. But I find that this is not necessary and in fact it can actually aid in the rotting process.
So we’re now ready to plant the cutting. Stick the cutting in the center of the pot. I’m using a relatively big pot as I plan on using a cloche to help it along.
When you stick the cutting in the pot just push in the first leaf node, but leave the other three nodes above the soil surface. Pushing it right down to the last node like you see some doing it is not required and only provides more stem to rot before it can root.
5. Choosing healthy soil to grow roses
A quick word on the soil I use for these cuttings. You need something that will hold some moisture, but also be free draining so I’m using a composted bark it will hold moisture but let excess run away.
So you could use a multi-purpose potting soil here and add vermiculite or perlite to aid in the drainage and lighten the mix. Now, it’s important to add those because this will allow for any excess water to go and prevent the rose from rotting while it has no roots.
So does the size of your cutting matter?
Well, of course, it does. Because the bigger the diameter of the cutting the more energy and moisture it has so that it can take longer to root and has that energy to push those roots out.
However, some rose types have thinner stems, and these can still be propagated in this manner but the ratio of success may be a little bit lower.
Now for feeding, I use pelleted slow-release feed.
It’s very fine but the great thing about this it gives the rose everything it requires. I’m going to put a little bit on the surface it’s not really required but I am going to put a little bit on it and as soon as those roots go they’re going to benefit from our feed.
Now for feeding your larger roses well you give about a handful of this stuff in the spring and again another handful in the late summer just to see them through winter. So it really is a good thing to feed with, and I’m going to be putting just a little bit on the actual roses themselves. On the cuttings themselves.
7. Water and mist the cutting
The last thing we need to do now is to water and mist the cutting. We need to place a dome over it in order to keep in the correct humidity. I have found that the two-liter pop bottle makes a perfect dome.
Just cut off the bottom and remove the lid. By taking the lid off it allows some air to circulate and prevents mold and rot to form. Place this cutting somewhere in a shaded area.
The last thing we want to do now is put it in bright sunlight as this will fry the cutting. Keep it bright but out of the direct sun.
In six to eight weeks these will have rooted and they could be potted on and left to go through winter ready to plant out into the garden in spring so that they fly away.
Some benefits to semi-hard cuttings.
- They’re really quick to root, usually four to six weeks. Whereas a hardwood cutting can take anything up to eight to twelve months.
- Although semi-hardwood cuttings require humidity. They are not as bad as softwood cuttings which require really high humidity. So they either need some sort of special dome or they need a misting table.
- They’re less likely to rot like hardwood cuttings.
- They’re less likely to wither and die like a softwood cutting.
So as you can see, for me as gardener semi-hardwood cuttings are the most viable way to grow roses, without having to wait for an age for hardwood cuttings, or having to invest in equipment such as misting systems for softwood cuttings.
If you’ve got value from this article, please let me know your thoughts about growing roses from cuttings in the comment section.