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Propagating Rose from Cuttings

Fig. 1 Ideal rose cutting
Fig. 2 Trim top leaves
Fig. 3 Plant in potting soil
Fig. 4 Cover pot with plastic bag
Fig. 5 Potted dormant cutting
Supply List
  • Rose Cuttings
  • Clean, sharp pruning shears
  • Rooting hormone
  • Planting Medium
  • "Mini greenhouse"
  • Bottom warmth (optional)

Foundation Plant Services (FPS) supplies disease-tested propagating material from its collection of eight rose understock and over 500 rose scion varieties. Cuttings are supplied as leafy green material during the growing season or as dormant budwood. There are numerous methods to propagate roses, however, the methods described below are recommended by FPS. It takes approximately four weeks for roots to develop and roughly six months for the rose plant to be suitable for planting into the landscape. However, keep in mind that rooting success is variety dependent.

Propagating from Green Plant Material
  1. Prepare potting soil or a 1:1 ratio perlite: vermiculite mixture by saturating planting medium with water in a draining pot.
  2. Shorten the cuttings to 6-8 inches by making a fresh bottom cut just below a node and a top cut at a 45° angle (Fig. 1).
  3. Remove lower leaves so that only the top two leaves remain. If leaves are large, trim top two leaves to reduce transpiration (Fig. 2).
  4. Dip the bottom end of the cutting into rooting hormone per the manufacturer’s directions.
  5. Make a pencil-width hole in the planting medium and place cutting approximately three inches deep and firm the planting medium around the cutting (Fig. 3).
  6. Create a “mini greenhouse” by covering the pot with a clear plastic bag and securing the bag with a rubber band. If necessary, keep bag from touching cuttings by propping up with sticks (Fig. 4). It is important during the rooting period that cuttings are not allowed to dry out and humidity is kept high. Seed propagating heat mats may be used to provide bottom heat and accelerate rooting.
  7. Keep cuttings in bright indirect light. Cuttings should be protected from overheating by providing shade from hot, midday sun.
  8. Keep soil moist, but not wet. Cuttings should develop good top growth and a good root system in about six months.
  9. Move to a permanent location in the landscape.
Propagating from Dormant Budwood
During the dormant season, FPS supplies budwood without leaves. Follow the procedure above, but disregard step #3 pertaining to leaves (Fig. 5).