Skip to Content

easiest ways to Root Roses from Cuttings

Root Roses from Cuttings or Slips an easy way to get more roses.  Rose propagation is simple enough for beginner gardeners and just plain fun for all.

You can easily root roses from cuttings or slips.  I show you how quickly and easily. Some roses are harder to root than others so don’t be discouraged if you don’t have success, it could be the rose and not you.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read my disclosure for more info.

It is no secret I love roses.  Almost any rose is top-notch in my book but I have a special affinity for old roses, English Roses, and their French counterpart, Romanticas.

For my latest window sill propagation method see below where it says UPDATE

Important Note:

(when choosing roses to take cuttings from, please use only non-patented roses otherwise we are infringing on patents and that is considered stealing, there are tons of old roses that are not patented and they are easy care, tough plants)

I have shared a post on Rooting Lilacs from cuttings and my setup for roses is similar as far as the fish tank and box of soil mix.

But if you don’t have that much room or you want a smaller setup?  Voila, I have you covered.

Why Grow roses from cuttings?

I love to grow roses from cuttings not only because it is fun but it is also an easy way to get more of the roses that you love. Plus it can save you if you lose your favorite roses for some reason or other. 

In the article below I show you how I saved a rose that was dying from a rodent attack. But I could just have easily lost it forever. 

Related: How I saved a Dying rose

Having spares that you have started from cuttings is a good insurance policy. 

Eat the Potatoes

Just so you know I have tried the potato method that I have heard so much about and is popular on Pinterest,  it just has not worked for me. 

I have tried that method a few times and all I got were little potatoes and none of the cuttings rooted.

Zero, zip, nada!

At the same time the cuttings I started using my other methods I had 80% success rate.

So save the potatoes for eating and just go this route for rooting roses, it is so much easier and more successful.
So here we go.

How to Take your Rose Cuttings or Slips

Take your rose cutting from a cane that has just finished blooming, you can see the spent blooms here.

My favorite tool for this is Fiskars Bypass Pruners

Roses from cuttings or slips, FlowerPatchFarmhouse.com (1 of 1)

Some say getting the heel wood is the best but I cannot attest to that. 

I should do some experiments and see if it works better than just a cane cut below a leaf bud.

Roses from cuttings or slips, heel wood, FlowerPatchFarmhouse.com (2 of 1)

About 6 inch length is good and you want the cane to be close to the diameter of a pencil, it can be a bit smaller around but that gives you an idea.

How to Root Roses from Cuttings, FlowerPatchFarmhouse.com (3 of 8)

Wound the rose cuttings

This step is not absolutely necessary but it is claimed to speed up rooting.

To wound the heels of the cutting I scrape the end of the cutting with a very sharp knife or edge of my pruners to reveal the white layer, which will help in rooting.

I have also just stuck the canes as they are above straight into the rooting hormone and not wounded them and it has worked but wounding them supposedly produces more roots faster.   

Wounding the cuttings exposes more of the Cambium layer and here is the definition of that right from a dictionary:
Definition of CAMBIUM. : a thin formative layer between the xylem and phloem of most vascular plants that gives rise to new cells and is responsible for secondary growth.

You can also wound the rose cutting by slicing a straight line with a razor, sharp knife, or xacto knife straight into the cane and not scrape away the green part.

How to Root Roses from Cuttings, FlowerPatchFarmhouse.com (4 of 8)

Coat rose cutting end in Rooting Hormone

After you have wounded your rose cutting or slips, brush the wounded ends with a rooting hormone or solution. This speeds up the rooting process. 

Right now I am loving this stuff for rooting,  it roots things faster and more successfully.

Hormex 8 Hormone Rooting Powder #8 

It was recommended to me by a local Rose Society member that roots hundreds of roses each year. 

But I have used Olivia’s Cloning Gel and Garden Safe Take Root with success.

Growing medium to Root Rose Cuttings or Slips

Mix up a growing medium of 1/3 perlite and 2/3 potting soil.  Get a non pre-fertilized mix. 

Put your soil in a pot that is wide enough for your cover to fit over but have a space around the rim. I have no issues with fungus or disease so I don’t worry about getting sterilized soil.  You can pasteurize your soil mix if you feel it is needed.

My friend loves to use clean play sand or builders sand. She has successfully rooted cuttings and slips for over 50 years. Sand works great too.

I am now testing my cuttings in mostly perlite and so far so good.  

Put rose cuttings into a Terra Cotta Pot

(See below for a more updated variation I use also)

Right now I am using terracotta pots for rooting plants as I have found that because it breathes I have even more success than in plastic pots. 

Related: Why I love terra cotta pots

Also by viewing the side of the pot I can tell if the soil is drying out, the clay shows if their is moisture present in the soil.
Put your canes down into the potting mix and water in well.

New roses from cuttings or slips, FlowerPatchFarmhouse.com (1 of 1)

Cover to maintain humidity

Cover your rose cuttings or slips. 

My cover is a large plastic mayonnaise jar from Mayo we get at Costco.  I like the wider size as I can fit more cuttings in the pot at once.  

Some like to use plastic bags or wrap but I have found that to be too fiddily. Others have used a 2 liter clear soda bottle but we don’t drink soda so this works for me. 

How to Root Roses from Cuttings, FlowerPatchFarmhouse.com (7 of 8)

How to Water cuttings

In the photo below you can see the space between my cover and the pot. 

This is where I will water when I need to.  See the darker color of the pot when it is moist. 

The base looks the same and when I see it drying out I know to water a bit.  It is important to have a loose mix as you don’t want to drown the cuttings but you don’t want them to dry out either. 

Place in a bright place where it does not get direct sun. Direct sunlight will make it too hot for the cuttings and kill them off.

How to Root Roses from Cuttings, FlowerPatchFarmhouse.com (8 of 8)

Watering of your cuttings depends on so much. Temperatures, the humidity of your region, and more.

You will need to determine by observation when to water your cuttings. You want to keep the medium moist but not saturated. How fast the soil dries out determines how often you water.

With the method of a jar on top just remove the jar and feel into the soil with your finger, poke down about 2 inches. You can also use a bamboo skewer. If the soil or medium is damp then do not water, if it is dry then add some water.

Usually if there is condensation in the jar then there is no need to water.

How long does it take for cuttings to root?

This varies just like the watering. Many people will give you a definite time frame of a few weeks but personally I have found that it can depend on many things.

Again, time of year, temperatures, the rose type and day length. Believe it or not I have had rose cuttings root in 4 weeks and others that took a year.

I have even tried rooting one rose, called Tamalpais Homestead, several times and it never would root at all! That rose was a total rooting flop for many of us who root roses all the time. So I figure it will take Air Layering to get a new rose from it.

So be patient and diligent and you should get roots in time.

Roots on a rose cutting, FlowerPatchFarmhouse.com

Re Pot your Rooted Rose cuttings or slips

For a detailed step by step on Potting up Rooted rose cuttings see this post!

Don’t worry about the roots intertwining from all four canes. 

I just pop all the cuttings and soil out of the pot (once I know there are good roots) and I put it in a tub of water, the soil washes away and the roots slide apart. 

Re-pot each rooted rose cutting in its own pot and let it get big and strong.

Another great container for this is the humble milk or water jug. I use these to winter sow seeds but they also work great for cuttings!

winter sowing of seeds, milk jug cut

UPDATE: 

This past Summer and Fall I tried another way to root roses..the essentials are the same but this container is so awesome and for the most part free! 

My husband loves the frozen frappuccinos at coffee places and his empty cups are the best containers I have used so far to root roses.

They are so easy!

Just put some holes in the bottom (I use a metal skewer heated over a flame to melt holes into the bottom) of the clean cup.

Add your soil mix and poke the canes down into it.

I write the Rose name on the cup and lid so I know which ones are which.

Rose cuttings in plastic cups for rooting, How to root roses from cuttings, rose propagation,

See the video of how I do this here, just tap.

Rooting roses video photo

Let  the top of the canes come through the hole in the lid.  I did 4 to 5 canes per cup.  Or you can just trim the cutting down to fit inside.

I like the taller cups better but it still works in the shorter ones. 

The domed lids are perfect as the hole in the center allows air to get in but still keeps the moisture levels high enough and I have not had any issue with mildew.

Wrap the base of the cup with foil, this prevent sunlight from creating the green algae.  Foil is easy to remove and replace to check for roots or to monitor it for moistness.  

Another bonus is it is easy to water through the top hole when needed. 

I really do like being able to see when they have rooted!

bottom of plastic cup with rooted rose cuttings, Root rose cuttings easy, rose propagation method, flower patch farmhouse

I will let them get tons of roots before I separate them and pot them up into larger pots.  For now they are doing great just in the cups.

This works well because I can bring them in and put in on a bright windowsill. No direct sun though. 

For a printable instruction sheet for rooting roses from cuttings just fill out this form.

Just one more note, I credit my chickens and their leavings (doo) with a lot of my success in gardening, great soil builder. That being said if you would like to get into chicken keeping here is a great resource on it: Fresh Eggs Daily, Raising Happy Chickens Naturally.

Want to propagate your African Violets? This is so easy and is a fun way to get started with plant propagation!

Here is an easy DIY Arbor built from our Obelisk design!

signaturePamela_thumb.png

Happy Gardening!

You May Also Enjoy…
Start Geraniums from Cuttings
Dahlias from Cuttings
Propagate Clematis by Layering
Propagate Perennials by Root Divisions

Feel Free to Share!

dark purple lilac bloom flower
Previous
Lilac Not Blooming? Fix it
Next
Best Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Dee Dee

Thursday 8th of April 2021

I like the idea of the clear cups to see if the roots have started. I had used the red Dixie cups with the punched holes, but your idea makes more sense and a greater aid in checking the cuttings. We're trying to pass on cuttings of my mom's roses before we have to sell the house, and I had hoped to pass these on to family and friends in memory of her.

Karen

Tuesday 16th of March 2021

Hi Pamela! This is the first time I took cuttings from each of my rose bushes and each cutting seems to have new leaves but not sure about the roots. However, I'm in no hurry to plant as it's still cold and windy here in Los Angeles. Big Question: What's next? I want to put these in the garden but when should I plant them? And, how should I take care of them when they are planted? Summer here is EXTREME sun and heat so should I plant, mulch and give them shade for a couple of weeks? I'd hate to lose them now as I feel like a proud Mama.I know that's silly but growing things nourishes the soul, right? Thanks for all your great articles!

Pamela

Tuesday 16th of March 2021

Producing leaves before actually having roots is typical so as you say, don't get into a hurry. They may not have rooted yet. Do you see any roots at the bottom? I don't know which type of container you used but even if it is in an opaque container you cannot see into you can note when roots start to come out of drainage holes. For the best chance of surviving being put out into the garden, you do want them to have a good root system. You may not be able to put them out into your garden until late next Fall. To be sure, rooting cuttings is a long game.

Rhapsody Hooks

Sunday 7th of February 2021

Every time I have tried to root cutting of roses without the humidity they dry out. Every time I have tried to root cuttings of roses with humidity the mold. What am I doing wrong?

Pamela

Tuesday 9th of February 2021

Use clean sand for the rooting medium, it is inhospitable to fungus, and treat the cuttings to a dusting of cinnamon before placing in sand. Cinnamon is a natural anti-fungal and can help tremendously. Make sure your pots and tools have been thoroughly cleaned and sterilized with a diluted bleach solution of 10 parts water, one part bleach. Fungal problems are the main bane of rooting plants! Keep trying, you can do this.

Lisamarie Cohen

Saturday 30th of January 2021

Thank you for this advice. I bought myself a cheap bunch of roses on the 6th of January and noticed they were shooting, so now I am going to take cuttings and get them rooting for planting this spring. I am hoping they will thrive and then I can gift them to others in my family. They are a beautiful white and I think if anything is wanting to grow, then give it a chance.

Pamela

Monday 1st of February 2021

Just be aware those shoots are very tender and take extra care to root before they can fall victim to many different things. Canes best suiting for cutting are ones that have just finished blooming, so they are semi-hard, not soft.

India Flowers

Wednesday 16th of September 2020

As a flower lover i can confirm that this is a really knowledgeable post you made there. Its really helpful, thanks for sharing.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.