How To Propagate Roses From Cuttings

Learn how to propagate roses from cuttings with this simple and helpful article.

I’ve been on a propagating kick lately. First I propagated grapevines, then haskap plants, and now rose bushes! It’s super simple to propagate roses from cuttings.

While there are several things to watch out for, all you need is some good soil, a rooting hormone, and your rose bush cuttings.

A rose grown from a cutting will not be as mature in our year as a potted rose from the garden center would be, but it doesn’t cost you a cent.

And if you are propagating heirloom roses or ones that have been patented more than 20 years ago, you can even sell them. 

Start your own garden center. Potted plants are always in demand in the spring. Roses may have thorns but they are always beautiful.

To propagate roses from cuttings, you need to cut off pieces of the stem from a healthy rose bush. Dip them immediately into rooting hormone, and plant them 2-3 inches in the soil. Cover them with a plastic dome and keep them moist. Allow some holes for ventilation. 

Roses from cuttings not only produce strong plants, but they also are true to type. These days with all the hybrid plants, many plants no longer produce true to type when planting seeds.

However, by taking a cutting you can replicate roses with no problem, 

taking rose cuttings from a rose bush

Can you propagate patented roses?

Not all roses can be propagated freely. There are a lot of rose bushes that have been developed over the years and have patents attached to them.

A patented rose is a copyrighted plant that you cannot take cuttings from. 

The best type of roses to propagate from are heirloom types. These aren’t patented, so you have the freedom to take cuttings.

How to Grow Roses From Cuttings (at Home Easy Method)

Best Time to Take Rose Cuttings for Propagation

When to take cuttings from roses depends on what time of year you want to cut them. There are two types of cuttings that you can take when propagating roses.

These are Hardwood rose cuttings and softwood cuttings. Both are fairly easy to propagate.

Some recommend taking softwood cuttings in late spring and early summer for best results.

HOW TO TAKE HARDWOOD ROSE CUTTINGS

Hardwood rose cuttings are taken from rose plants in the late fall to early winter. You need a sharp set of sharp pruning shears or a sharp knife.

Choose the current year’s growth. Cut stems into a 3-4 foot section. Don’t cut from the previous year’s growth. Older growth doesn’t do as well as a cutting.

Choosing hardwood cuttings means you choose woody plants, not softwood parts. Choose healthy stems with no disease.

You don’t need any leaves on a hardwood cutting.

Make your bottom cut diagonally underneath leaf nodes, leaving the cutting 6 inches long. One 4-foot cutting will give you 8 hardwood rose cuttings.

Usually, you don’t want a hardwood cutting to be thicker than the thickness of a pencil.

Fill a container with soil, and poke holes where the cuttings are supposed to be planted.

I use my index finger to make the holes, but you could also use a dibber or a stick. Make the holes 6 inches apart and big enough that the rooting powder won’t brush off.

Dip the base of each cutting into a rooting powder or liquid. You can also roll the base into some honey, and then cinnamon for a natural, at-home rooting serum. 

Plant your cuttings into 3-inch holes. Water them well, and forget about them for the winter. They don’t need a cover, although it can be helpful for quicker root growth.

Hardwood cuttings can be stored in a greenhouse, or cellar over winter.

New roots should start to form within a month or so. Hardwood cuttings are usually taken in the fall, and left to overwinter. In mid-spring, you can check for roots. 

A good root system will grow into a new rose bush quickly.

HOW TO TAKE SOFTWOOD ROSE CUTTINGS

The best time to take softwood rose cuttings is from early spring to late summer.

You want to take new growth and cut them off the parent plant. These can be any length you want because you will be cutting them down to size. 

Fill a container with potting mix, and poke holes where the cuttings are supposed to be planted. I use my index finger to make the holes, but you could also use a dibber or a stick.

Make the holes big enough that the rooting powder won’t brush off. Plant them cuttings about 2-3 inches apart.

How to Take Cuttings

Make a 45-degree angle diagonal cut just below a node (where the leaves grow) on the rose stems. This will be the base of the cutting. Cut off the top tip portion, and then cut each stem into 7-12 cm pieces.

Try to cut ½ cm below a node for each cutting. Remove the lower leaves from each cutting. Your cutting should have only a few leaves left on each one. 

Dip the base of each cutting into a rooting powder or liquid. You can also roll the base into some honey, and then cinnamon for a natural, at-home rooting serum. 

Plant your cuttings into 3-inch holes. Moisten well, and then cover with a clear plastic bag or lid. This will keep the soil from drying out and help them to grow roots more quickly. 

Label them with a permanent marker immediately.

pink rose bush in the garden

Care During the Rooting Period

Place the container in a warm place out of direct sunlight, in a high humidity area.

Roses love the sun, but when propagating from cuttings, they will root more quickly in a warm spot. I keep mine above the refrigerator until they are ready to transplant.

Make sure they don’t dry out. I find that if I keep mine covered with a plastic bag or clear plastic cover, they don’t dry out easily. Take off the cover for 10 minutes once or twice a week.

This will help ventilate the cuttings and help to prevent fungus growth. Don’t let them dry out, though. The cuttings need to be kept moist.

Transplanting to a Permanent Location

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Once your rose cutting is putting out new leaves, it is ready for its permanent location. Roses do best in full sun, in well-drained soil. Six or more hours of daily sun is recommended. Some roses will grow in partial shade, but most do best in full sun.

Water them regularly and feed them with rose food such as Rose-Tone.

What is the Best Rooting Hormone for Roses

There are many rooting hormones that work well for rose cuttings. Rooting hormones are a rooting medium that is used for plant propagation, especially growing from cuttings.

You can get it in powder form, gels, and liquids. Here are 7 of the top-recommended ones. 

Stim-Root

This is the one I use. It comes in Numbers 1,2 and 3.

Number one is for softwood cuttings, number two for semi-hardwood, and number three is for hardwood. Full disclosure: I’ve used the number three for softwood cuttings as well with great success. 

Garden Safe Rooting Hormone

Hormex Rooting Hormone

Bonide Rooting Hormone

HydroDynamis Clonex Rooting Gel

Bontone Rooting Hormone

Miracle-Gro FastRoot Dry Powder

How long does it take for rose cuttings to root?

When taking softwood cuttings, it takes about 10-14 days for rose cuttings to root. With hardwood cuttings, you can expect up to a month before they have rooted. 

Is it better to root rose cuttings in water or soil?

Can you root rose cuttings in water? You can, but the success rate is not relatively as high as when using soil.

Root cuttings can easily be infected with a fungus that destroys any potential roots. If you do decide to root rose cuttings in water, be sure to change the water every 3 days for better success.

beautiful pink rose bush

Homemade Rooting Hormone for Roses

Don\t want to buy a rooting hormone powder or gel for your cuttings? Try this homemade rooting powder. All you need is honey and cinnamon.

Honey and Cinnamon both act as an antifungal. All you need to do is dip the bottom of the cutting in honey, and then roll it in cinnamon.

Plant as per instruction above. This will work for both softwood cuttings and hardwood cuttings. 

Beautiful flowers will soon be blooming on your new rose bushes that you grew all by yourself. Propagating rose bushes is an easy way to add more plants to your perennial garden.

In conclusion, propagating roses from cuttings is a simple way to create new plants and increase your rose garden. With just a few simple steps, you can have new roses growing. So why not give it a try?

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