Grow Your Own Roses From Cuttings

If you have a favorite rose bush, you can propagate it through cuttings. The classic method is to root rose cuttings indoors in pots, but you can also do so directly in the garden. 

The method below is one taught to me by my father some 50 years ago … and it still works today!

  1. Cut a green or semi-woody stem from your favorite rosebush. In the Northern Hemisphere, that would likely be in June or July. The cutting should be about 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) long.
  2. Remove the lower leaves and any flowers or buds.
  3. Insert the bottom end of the cutting into the ground, directly in the garden, in a partially shaded location. 
  4. Water well.
  5. Place an inverted wide-neck bottle or the bottom of a soda bottle over the cutting to act as a mini-greenhouse.
  6. When new leaves appear, remove the bottle: your cutting will be rooted!
  7. Transplant the cutting to a spot suitable for growing roses (full sun, rich soil with good drainage) … and watch your new rosebush grow!

It couldn’t be easier!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

6 comments on “Grow Your Own Roses From Cuttings

  1. I’m going to give this a try. Thank you.

  2. Thus have I heard: ‘Distressing’ the bottom inch of a cutting, by gently scraping the outer skin away and leaving the core exposed, is apparently also a good way of encouraging a cutting to root… It apparently propels the plant into survival mode. However, I have rooted cuttings both as the ‘Laidback Gardener’ outlined, and also as I described. I really can’t compare which method would be best, as I have had success and failure in both ways….

  3. John Wilson

    This is perfect timing – the neighbour across the road has a beautiful specimen that I have eyeballed for a number of years now. Thanks, Larry!

  4. It could be easier if done while the stems are dormant in winter. If plugged directly into the garden, they should be plugged deeply, with only the top but above the surface. They should be plugged directly where they are wanted, since they will not want to be moved while dispersing new roots early in spring. It is probably best to plug a few in the same spot, since some will not survive. If too many nice ones survive, the extras can be pulled and give to neighbors the following winter. The upper cut should be just above a bud, so that there is not too much of a stub above. Most hybrid tea, floribunda and grandiflora roses are grafted onto an understock that makes better roots than they would make on their own. Of course, roses grown from cutting would be ‘on their own roots’. For many, that is not a problem. In fact, some of the traditional roses that were ‘always’ grafted in the past are now available on their own roots. (It sort of makes one wonder why they were grafted in the first place.) Anyway, many modern roses, including the carpet roses, are not grafted.

  5. mickthornton

    This worked! I just potted up 3 of my six cuttings. My neighbor was gracious enough to let me try on their roses.

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