How to Grow Roses From Cuttings

There are lots of reasons that you might want to learn how to propagate roses from cuttings.

If you’re interested in getting more bang for your buck, conserving the environment, and getting more involved with your plants, then you might want to learn how to grow roses from cuttings. Growing from cuttings also allows you to produce large numbers of rose plants which you can give away as gifts or sell.

Growing from cuttings is one of the best ways to keep your plants growing and flowering for many years.

Learning how to root roses isn’t necessarily hard. However, certain varieties of roses are much easier to propagate than others. It’s also important to note that not all of your cuttings are going to flower — especially if you’re just starting out.

But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try. Following the guidelines and tips laid out in this article will help to ensure that you have a successful yield.

Why grow roses from cuttings?

One of the best reasons to grow roses from cuttings is because you can save yourself money.

Rather than having to buy new seeds or new plants every season, you can grow new roses by simply collecting the stems from plants that are already in your garden. You can also get clippings from friends or, if you’re feeling naughty, the local park. (Author’s note: we do not recommend doing this.)

This form of propagating is one of the best ways to fill up your garden quickly. On top of this, you can also use your propagated roses as gifts. There’s nothing better than offering someone a rose that was born of your own garden.

What’s more, starting your plants from stems allows them to grow much quicker. It will take only half the time for your propagated roses to reach full size than it would from seed.

Plants with thick, woody stems, like roses, are among the best for propagating. However, you may want to make sure that you’re using a proper pot and potting mix for this process. Certain, softer plants can be propagated in just a cup of water, but roses are not best suited for this.

What Do I Need to Make Cuttings?

There are a few bits of equipment that will make it easier for you to propagate your rose cuttings.

As far as hardware goes, the only real tools that you’ll need are a pair of pruners. You can use these to snip the actual stem itself. Make sure they’re sharp.

There are a few other materials that you’ll want, however.

  • A mature rose plant. Preferably your own. Your neighbors won’t think too highly of you if you’re running around snipping their rose plants without permission.
  • Rooting hormone. Thick, woody plants like roses tend to propagate much better when they’re given rooting hormone.
  • Pots or containers. Again, pots or containers are important for woody plants. Some softer plants can root easily in a cup of water, but roses require a bit more stability.
  • Sand or a rose potting mix. There are specific potting mixtures available for propagating roses. Investing in one of these will help your roses do better.
  • Plastic bag or plastic wrap. This will be used to help maintain humidity and moisture in your plant.
  • How to Propagate Roses

    Professionals and experienced gardeners will have their own preferred way to propagate roses. However, as a newcomer, it’s a good idea to understand some of these basic directions. After you become familiar with the process, you can learn how to propagate roses your own way.

    Taking the Cuttings

    The first thing that you’re going to want to do is get the rose cutting.

    This is generally best done in the cooler months.

    • If you opt to do this late season, do so in autumn.You will want to propagate your roses after the roses have already flowered but before you’re ready to deadhead them.
    • Alternatively, you can pick cuttings during spring time right before new growth appears on the stems. This ensures that your stems will be healthy and that they’ll take root easily.

    Cutting rose stems at this time ensures a higher chance of success. It is possible to collect stems during different periods of the year, like high spring and summer. However, as a beginner, doing so in the cooler seasons will ensure the best chances of producing healthy roses.

    You’re going to want the cuttings to be between 8-12 inches from the bottom of the stem to the base of the flower. Choose a new stem and make sure that you make the incision at a 45° angle.

    Once you’ve got your cutting, make sure that you take off any flowers and buds. These flowers may look nice, but they will take energy away from the root system which is the most important component when you’re trying to propagate new flowers.

    You’re also going to want to make sure that you get rid of any leaves on the stem aside from those closest to the top. Leaving the top two leaves, cut the stem immediately above them. This helps to prevent the stem from sending energy anywhere else aside from the root.

    When collecting cuttings, it’s a good idea to keep a jar or a small container of water on hand so you can put the fresh cuttings immediately in the water.

    This probably goes without saying, but make sure that your pruners are sharp and in good shape. This will prevent the chances of doing damage to the stem while you’re cutting it.

    Preparing to Root

    Some gardeners prefer to plant their rose cuttings immediately after cutting them. For seasoned gardeners this can certainly be effective, but as a beginner, you want to do everything possible to ensure success.

    One of the best ways to do this is to prepare your stem cuttings so that they’ll easily take root. You can encourage rooting by using your pruners to make a small incision on the bottom of the stem. You’ll want to do this right near a stem node, which is one of the places where new stems emerge.

    Once you’re done this, cut the bottom of the stem into quarters by making four small cuts. This encourages roots to grow in multiple directions and ensures that they’ll get a good grip on the soil.

    Preparing to Plant

    You might already have a planting spot in mind, and that’s great. However, before you put your cuttings in the soil, you’ll want to consider using some rooting hormone.

    Rooting hormone is not necessary. In fact, many gardeners create successful rose plants from stems without using rooting hormone at all. However, if this is your first time propagating roses, it’s probably a good idea to use some rooting hormone.

    Rooting hormone can be found in a variety of different forms. There are rooting hormone powders, liquids, and gels. Roses tend to respond best to the powder.

    All you need to do is moisten the quartered end of your rose stem and dip it into the rooting hormone powder. Shake off any excess and you’re ready to plant.

    Planting Your Roses

    Fill your designated pot at least 6 inches deep with a potting mix. Just as you would with any other plant, poke a hole in the middle of your potting mix and put in the rose stem.

    When you’re doing this, make sure that you don’t accidentally shake or rub off all of the rooting hormone. Next, pat the soil firmly around your cutting and add some water.

    Once you’ve got your rose planted in the soil, take your plastic bag and cover the entire plant and pot. This will help to make sure that the plant stays moist. However, make sure that the bag isn’t so tight that it’s touching your rose leaves. This can cause too much condensation to collect on the leaves which can cause problems like fungus.

    Make sure that you keep the soil damp until the roots begin to develop. This will usually take a couple of weeks. You can tell if the plant is rooted by giving it a small tag. If the plant is resisting your efforts then you know that you’re developing some roots.

    Once the roots are strong and developed, after a few weeks, you can transfer it to a new pot or to a garden.

    Tips, Tricks & Issues for Growing Rose Cuttings

    These are some tips and tricks to help you ensure that your roses grow successfully.

    • Firstly, it’s a good idea to take your cuttings from new rose growth. Cuttings that are taken from new growth are much easier to take root when compared to cuttings taken from aged, tough stems. This is one of the reasons that people prefer to take their cuttings in spring when the new growth is emerging.
      • This is also one of the reasons that it’s a good idea to avoid taking cuttings when your roses are in bloom. During this period, most of your roses are directing their energy towards producing new flowers. You want to grab stems when they’re healthy and strong.

    • Make sure that you’re using sharp pruners when you’re collecting your cuttings. If you use dull trimmers you run the risk of damaging the stem rather than preparing it for rooting. Using dull snippers can also make your plants more likely to develop a fungal infection.

    • If you are planning to propagate roses from an ornamental rose plant, you need to be careful which part of the stem you select. In fact, trying to make cuttings from any ornamental plants can be risky since certain sections of the plant are groomed more for aesthetics than functionality. Make sure you choose a part that looks healthy and filled with vitality..

    • Native roses are much easier to propagate than imported ornamental roses. Most shrub roses are native and are therefore easier to propagate. If you are new to the whole idea of propagation, then it’s probably a good idea to start out with native roses.

    • Patience is a virtue. Remember that these roses aren’t going to start flowering immediately. It may take up to three years before your roses start blooming.


    Roses are beautiful, and propagating your own roses is one of the best ways to keep you in touch with your plants throughout their whole life cycle. These tips and tricks should help you propagate roses properly so that you can allow your garden to flourish and provide fantastic gifts for your loved ones.

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