Roses, with their timeless elegance and captivating fragrance, are not just ornamental additions to your garden; they’re also one of the most magical plants to propagate. While you can grow roses from seeds, the easiest way to reproduce your favourite varieties is by growing them from cuttings.
Whether you want to expand your collection inexpensively, create backups of rare varieties, or share with fellow gardeners, here’s a tailored guide on successfully growing roses from cuttings.
When is the best time to take rose cuttings?
In the South African climate, where temperatures vary throughout the year, it’s crucial to time your rose cuttings. Aim for days when temperatures range from 12°C to 32°C, ideally during the spring and autumn seasons. Early mornings are the best time to ensure the cuttings stay hydrated and experience less stress.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Equip yourself with sharp pruners disinfected with rubbing alcohol, a 2.5- to 5-inch-deep pot with proper drainage, and a 50/50 mix of perlite and potting soil. Don’t forget the rooting hormone for varieties that are harder to root. Additionally, you’ll need a clear cover to maintain humidity around the cuttings.
Water the day before
Ensure your rose plants are well-hydrated the day before taking cuttings. Hydrated stems root more effectively.
Choose stems just below flower buds about to open or beneath flowers with dropping petals. Aim for 10-20 cm cuttings with three to five nodes.
Place cuttings in water
Immediately place cuttings in water or wrap them in damp paper towels to keep them hydrated.
Slice the bottom end of the cuttings
Enhance rooting by vertically slicing the bottom inch of the cutting, or gently scraping a strip of green skin.
Dip cuttings in rooting hormone
Apply rooting hormone to about two inches of the base if using it, enhancing your chances of success.
Remove flowers and most leaves
Cut off the flower bud or spent flower and leave only the top two leaves to reduce stress and encourage root growth.
Place cuttings into potting soil
Insert cuttings about two inches into a pot with the perlite and potting soil mix. Water thoroughly and cover with a clear lid for humidity.
Check cuttings periodically
Lift the cover a couple of times a week to check for any issues. Remove brown or unhealthy cuttings promptly.
Remove humidity cover
Once roots and new leaf growth are visible, gradually remove the humidity cover to acclimate the new roses.
Plant rooted cuttings in the garden
After 9 to 12 months of development, transplant the rooted rose cuttings into your garden, ensuring they have a 20/80 mix of perlite and potting soil.
Feature image: Unsplash
Originally published in Garden&Home Magazine.