Air Layering to Root Roses. Rose propagation is a fun and easy way to get more roses for your garden. Air layering is a faster way than cuttings to get larger rose plants that bloom.
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I have used air layering to root wisteria a few years ago and it was fairly easy but the method was a bit fiddily. This method was easier and in four weeks I had successfully gotten roots!
Why air layer roses
Air layering to root roses is even more fun (in my estimation) than rooting from cuttings. But the big benefit is you get a larger rose much faster and blooms too.
I have a great post on Rooting Roses from cuttings if you prefer propagating roses that way.
Materials for Air Layering
First lets prep all the materials. I used peat moss for this because someone had given me a couple bags but usually I use coconut coir mixed with a touch of potting soil.
Empty water bottle (the thinner the plastic the better, it is easier to cut through the rim at top)
Spaghum Moss or coconut coir.
If you don’t want to fuss with the water bottle here are some Rooter Pots you can use, they are made for this.
Prep your rooting medium
Once you have your supplies together, get your moss good and soaked. It can take awhile for it to become thoroughly saturated so start on this part ASAP. Coconut coir is the same as far as prepping.
Prepare container to wrap Rose cane with.
Next take your water bottle and cut down one side from the top to the bottom, and then a small hole large enough for the rose cane you are going to root.
You want it to be only slightly larger around than the cane so it won’t lose moisture or the coir when you water.
This is where the lighter weight water bottles are handy, they are easier to cut through. I have wimpy hands right now because of carpal tunnel so I go for easier.
I eyeballed the diameter of the cane and cut a hole to match in the bottom, actually mine is a bit larger but it will still work. The mouth of the bottle will be at the top of the rooting area.
Fill container with medium
Now fill the cut bottle with the moist moss, just squeeze out the excess water with your hand and pack it in the bottle. Tamp it in well but don’t overfill, you will add more after getting the moss filled bottle wrapped around the cane.
Note: this is best done during the active growing season, like late Spring after the first flowering or mid summer, late summer is iffy but doable.
Prepare rose cane for are layering
Now you can pick your cane, make it a succulent sturdy, newly flowered cane.
In the follow photo I show I am using a cane of one of my climbers, it is a bit bigger around than a pencil.
First I make two cuts into the green layer approximately an inch and a half apart all the way around the cane.
You then need to peel or scrape away the green layer with the sharp knife to reveal the white layer. Be careful not to cut too deep or your cane will snap off. Just get deep enough to be able to peel away the green layer.
Paint the rooting hormone onto the white area. You can use an old craft paint brush or q-tip.
Wrap rose cane with container
Wrap your moist moss filled water bottle around the cut portion of the cane. If you need to fill the bottle with more to make it nice and snug go ahead, just make sure the cane is in the center of all the moist moss.
Secure it with your ties or duct tape. (I like using the ties so I can open it up and check for rooting easier)
Protect air layering container
Now you should cover the bottle with foil to keep it from getting to hot in the bottle and it will block light that can cause algae to grow.
Keep the moss moist. You may not need to water it, but if you can put your pinky finger down the bottle spout to check it. Remember that the top most moss gets more air than the center so even if it feels dry close to the opening it may not be dry in the center.
If you need to, water it through the top hole.
Check for roots
After 4 weeks open it up gently (in a way that you can close it back up easily) and check to see if you find roots or signs of them developing.
If you look at the photo below you will see white nodules, that is a sign of roots beginning even if you don’t see any actual roots yet.
I checked mine after 4 weeks. Yay! We have roots. I close it back up and let the roots get longer and stronger before severing the cane below the roots and potting up.
Once you have a good mass of roots it is time to sever the cane and pot it up.
Now I will have another gorgeous climbing rose to add to my garden or give to a friend.
This was my first time using this technique on a rose and it was so easy and I could not be more thrilled with the results. Give air layering to root roses a try, you may be hooked too.
Want to see how I remove the new rose from the mother plant?
I show you in this post Potting Up Newly Rooted Roses
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Just a note: many roses are patented, I only propagate roses that are not under a patent, there are plenty out there. There is restrictions on propagating patented roses and it is against the law.
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