How To Get More Roses From Your Own Garden

There is a small trick to growing roses from cuttings

The trick is in when to take the cutting.

With your thumb, gently push sideways against the green thorns on the shoot you are considering cutting.

  • If the thorn bends over and doesn’t easily come away from the shoot, the cutting is too green and it will not root easily.
  • If the cutting fights back and (punctures your thumb) doesn’t release easily, it is too woody and will not root well.
  • However, between these points is a time when the thorn will not bend and will suddenly release from the shoot with a little pop with a medium amount of pressure.

Then you’ll get good results with cuttings at this level of maturity.

Photo by Tiffany Chan on Unsplash

Roughly When Is This?

This time is roughly when the flower buds start to open up on the first flush of blossoms.

What roses can be propagated this way?

I’ve done every kind of rose in this manner — from hybrid teas to hardy shrub roses. It may not be economical for commercial nurseries to do this but if you want roses on their own roots, this is an easy skill to master.

Other considerations

  • I’ve found that spraying rose cuttings with an anti-desiccant works very well to assist in the rooting process. This stops the cutting from losing moisture.
  • I’ve also found that growing roses from cuttings is much easier if I take those cuttings in the morning rather than later in the day. There is less water stress or plant stress early in the morning and a happy plant roots faster.
  • Bottom heat is almost a necessity if you want to see rose roots any time this century. I use a heat mat with a temperature of 72F to keep the shoots warm.
  • I have heard of gardeners who have inserted their rose cuttings in glasses of water and been successful but I’ve never done this and wouldn’t really recommend it for consistent results.
  • But if you have more glasses of water than rose cuttings and you’re only doing one or two cuttings — go for it but don’t count on it.
  • I also use warm water when watering and misting the rose.
  • Roots should appear any time after 4 weeks and sometimes sooner.
  • Do not jiggle the rose cutting around to see if there are roots. You’ll disturb the emerging roots and perhaps kill them.
  • In general, treat rose cuttings like any other tender shrub or cutting. You’ll know you’ve been successful when the rose cutting starts growing new leaves and starts growing into a new rose.

What about growing own-root roses — is it difficult?


They’ll grow just like any other shrub.

Just understand that tender roses are usually grafted to increase their hardiness as well as their flowering so you may have difficulty overwintering tender hybrid tea roses depending on where you live.

In a USDA zone 4, I can root all the tea roses I want but none make it over that first winter. Sigh…

Shrub roses and tough roses grow more slowly on their own roots and may not flower quite as much but you can succeed with them.

Having trouble overwintering roses? Click here

Here are more notes about growing roses.

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