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October 3, 2023

pink floribunda rose

Roses are a popular choice for gardeners the world over. They deliver spectacular flowers in an exciting range of colors and most have a beautiful fragrance. Growing roses from cuttings is much easier than most people believe. We will share the basic steps and a few tips and tricks to ensure you get rewarding results.

The Benefits of Growing Roses From Cuttings

Apart from their natural beauty, roses are versatile. They have a multitude of fragrances, look great in the garden, and are relatively easy to look after. Year after year, a healthy rose bush will deliver a spectacular display. 

The many varieties make spectacular cut flowers that last well in a vase, adding a sparkle to your home or an awesome gift.

Perfecting growing roses from cuttings will allow you to increase your collection for a dramatic display of your favorites. You can trade your healthy propagated cuttings with other rose enthusiasts, gift them as living plants that will keep on giving, share, or trade them to give your rose garden more variety.

Is It Easy to Grow Roses From Cuttings?

The short answer is yes. Provided you follow the basic steps you should have a high success rate. Roses are easy to propagate. Here is how to do it. 

When to Grow Roses From Cuttings

While some people have success at various times of the year, the best time will depend on your climate and growing zone. While later in summer or early fall is generally the best time, with the right care you can successfully grow rose cuttings at various times. 

The ideal time is after the first flush of blooms. Do not take cuttings from stems with new blooms, wait until the rose petals are falling from the plant.

What Rose Stems to Take Cuttings From

Your best bet is semi-hardwood stems. You want to take cuttings that are healthy and happy. A bit of new growth is good, provided the base has hardened off. 

Some people use older hardened stems. While this can work, they take a lot longer to root and your success rate will be lower. New green stems that are not hard are a major challenge to propagate. You may have to put in more effort and results may be disappointing.

Look for healthy stems that are free of disease. They should have some flexibility but not be too hard, soft, or weak. You want straight stems with a decent diameter.

Can I Grow Any Rose from Cuttings?

All roses are suitable for growing from cuttings but do remember that some varieties are patented. Often a vast time, effort, and expense has gone into creating new rose varieties. While it is tempting, it is illegal to reproduce these roses. 

The good news is that the patents generally only last for 20 years.

How To Cut Rose Stems for Growing From Cuttings

The first step is to have sharp quality shears. They also need to be sterilized. You can use hydrogen peroxide, Lysol, or Vircon. This will reduce the risk of spreading disease, especially if you are making multiple cuttings from a range of plants. 

A clean cut allows for better water and nutrient absorption for healthy root development and plant growth.

Cut the stem just above a leaf node. With longer stems, you can make more than one cutting, depending on the space between nodes. You want the top of the cutting to be just below a leaf node.

What Angle to Cut Rose Cuttings

Most people recommend a 45-degree angle. This will allow for more surface area. The surface area will allow for increased contact with the rooting hormone and will improve water absorption. 

What Length To Cut Rose Stems

The ideal length is roughly 6 to 8 inches. This depends on the size of the gaps between nodes.

Do I Need Leaves at the Top of the Cutting?

While you can grow cuttings without leaves, a few leaves near the top are a good idea. This will allow for photosynthesis and help the plant to grow. 

You only want a few, 3 or 4 near the top is ideal. Too many will lead to moisture loss and put a strain on the growing plant. As the plant has no roots in the early stages of development it will not be able to transport moisture to the leaves.

Do I Remove the Thorns?

You can cut back some of the lower thorns, those that will be in the growing medium. The scars left behind will allow for rooting potential. It will also make handling the cutting a bit easier.

Using Growth Hormone For Rose Cuttings 

It is always a good idea to use a growth or rooting hormone at the base of the cutting. You can use it on the thorn scars as well to increase the odds of root growth. 

Rooting hormones gives the cutting a much better chance of rooting successfully and will increase the rate and success of your efforts. It is available in powder, gel, or liquid form. Most people find that the powder hormone rooting agent delivers the best results for rose cuttings.

Simply dip the lower inch or two into the powder, shake off the excess, and insert it into the potting medium.

Not all rooting hormones are the same so be sure to get one specifically formulated for semi-hardwood cuttings.

The Best Propagation Medium for Rose Cuttings

There is no perfect answer. It is often a case of experimenting with different mixtures and ratios to determine what works best for you and your conditions. 

Fine bark medium works well. One can also use potting soil, peat moss, coco coir, and composted bark. Adding some compost helps with nutrients.

Mixing in a bit of perlite or vermiculite will help with drainage. You want a mix that is nutritious but allows for good drainage while retaining some moisture. Experiment with different ratios to determine what works best for you.

What Is the Best Size Pot To Use?

Most people go with a 1-gallon pot. You can put 2 to 3 cuttings in each pot. 

Retaining Humidity and Controlling the Temperature

Both aspects are critical. Some growers set up an intricate misting or drip irrigation systems, but a soda bottle or polythene bag works exceptionally well. These are essentially free, work well, and require minimum effort. 

•Soda bottles
Cut off the base with scissors or a box cutter. Retain the lid. Place the dome over the cuttings. Use the lid until the humidity builds up. Once this is done, you can remove the lid for greater airflow.

If humidity or temperature drops, you can always put the lid back on. After roughly 4 weeks, you might want to raise the bottle using sticks or rods. This will allow for more air and allow the cutting to acclimatize to the local conditions.

Not only does this system deliver essential water from the humidity, it allows you to control the temperature and protects the growing plant.

•Polythene bags
These also work well to allow for humidity and temperature control. Cover the container with the bag and make a few cuts to allow for airflow.

Do I need to Water the Cuttings? 

This will depend on your climatic conditions and the method you have used. A general rule is that if you dip your finger into the upper inch of the soil and it is dry, add some water. You can mist it with a spray bottle or add water if it is extremely dry. 

As the roots are still developing the pant needs moisture in the potting mix to deliver to the growing stem.

At What Depth Do I Plant the Cutting?

The best depth is generally 2 inches, just below a node. Poke a small hole before planting so you do not disturb the rooting powder too much. 

Where To Place the Rose Cuttings

You want the cuttings to have plenty of light but not direct sunlight. It is also a good idea to keep the rooting pots out of the wind.

Where To Place the Rose Cuttings

Roots will generally be noticed after 4 to 6 weeks. Try to be patient and only repot or plant out after 8 to 10 weeks. 

Do not be disappointed if a few cuttings do not root. You will not have a 100-percent success rate.

Other Methods of Rose Propagation

There are several other methods of propagating roses. We will not go into detail in this article but seeds, air layering, and growing in water are popular options. 

Some social media sites advise propagating rose cutting in potatoes, aloe vera cuttings, and other options.

A good cutting in soil is always the best way to go.


Growing roses from cuttings is easy. If you follow the advice above, you can create new roses with ease. This will be a fun rewarding process that will leave you with an awesome, relatively free collection of your favorite roses. 

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