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Written by davethetreecenters • April 03 Growing a Rose from a Cutting

Growing a new rose from a stem of an older one was the traditional way people passed on loved roses to family and friends. It isn’t hard to do, and works for many – but not all – roses. It is most successful with the beach rose, Rosa rugosa, other wild types of roses, old-fashioned roses, and miniature roses. Some rose varieties are more vigorous when grown ‘on their own roots’ from cuttings, but others won’t be as strong or full of flowers as they are when grafted. It can be hard to predict, and opinions among professionals vary on the relative merits of these two ways of growing roses. It fun to experiment, though!

A rose plant you buy will normally not be grown from a cutting, because nurseries normally grow their roses by budding them onto rootstocks of special varieties, but increasing some are returning to cuttings.

If you want to grow more of a rose you have, cuttings are not difficult, and are usually successful if done correctly. Remember you can’t propagate a rose that is still covered by a patent, but otherwise you can go ahead.

When to Take Rose Cuttings

The best time to take your cuttings will depend on your climate.

If you have colder winters and cool to warm summers, then late spring and early summer is the best time. These are called ‘softwood cuttings’, and generally give the highest success. In a place with hot summers, though, they will be hard to keep alive as they root, and may fail completely. These cuttings can be planted out in the fall or in the following spring.

In areas with hot summers and warmer winters, late summer and fall is best. Those cuttings (called ‘semi-hardwood’) will root over the winter and should be left undisturbed to grow. Water regularly through summer, and give a little half-strength liquid rose food from time to time, until the fall, when they can be planted in their permanent homes.

Preparing the Cuttings

If you want a lot of plants, maybe to make a hedge, then you can prepare a space outdoors to root them. If you just want a few, or live in a colder zone, then rooting them in a pot is easier.

First, How to Do it Outdoors

DIY cold frame for propagation
Rose cuttings being lined up outdoors

How to Do it Indoors

If you just want a few cuttings, then you can do it more easily by rooting in a pot and keeping the pot in an unheated porch, or outdoors in light shade.

Perlite suitable for rooting cuttings