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easiest way to Root Roses from Cuttings

Rooting Roses from Cuttings or Slips is easy and fun.  Rose propagation is so rewarding, get more roses for free! Simple enough for beginner gardeners, fun for everyone. 

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.

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Red rose with text overlay, Free roses from cuttings, step by step for beginners, Flower Patch Farmhouse

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.

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

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.

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 set up 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 set up?  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.

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!

yellow rose with text overlay, how to root roses from cuttings fast and easy, flower patch farmhouse
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Happy Gardening!

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

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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.

Chantal Angus

Tuesday 12th of May 2020

Approximately how long from planting a stem does it start blooming roses?

Megan Flores

Sunday 24th of May 2020

Hi. I’m wondering about some cuttings that have been cut a few days. I had to transport them a few states. Will this still work? Thanks

Alicia

Friday 1st of May 2020

Hi Pamela,

I'm so glad I found your website- you have such awesome straight forward and very useful info on it, thank you! I am a novice at rose growing but I was lucky enough to move into a home with a small rose garden already there! I am elated every time I look at it, walk around it and smell the gorgeous roses and share the pics w/ my friends! But I know very little about propagating them from cuttings as well as caring for the well established roses bushes. 1) I am following your instruction (found too late, unfortunately!) on cuttings. I now have the remaining 4 from 9 (5 are gone : ( ) Three of which I have put into a milk container as per your advice and so far they look much better than they did before! My last cutting that is still in a planter with a plastic bag over it, doesn't create any humidity like the milk container/planter. It is about 14 inches tall. *Should I cut it down and also plant it in a milk or other plastic bottle type container? It is still green all the way down the cutting, but so far is only sprouting a few tiny new leaves. I am afraid to mess with the soil to check for roots. 2) Of the established roses in the older rose garden, some are growing above my head! I am 5'6", I'd say they are probably nearing 6 feet tall! They are still budding. Do I prune them down? When would be the best time to do that? And how low should I cut them?I saw another site in which the gardener clipped the living daylights out of his long stem roses and it looks so drastic and scary! I don't want to ruin these beauties. 3) Some of the leaves on the established rose bushes are deep green and lovely! But some are getting spotted and yellow/brown. I am going to buy ladybugs but I don't see a lot of aphids at all. Any ideas? If you ever look at photos to check out what your followers are writing about, I would love to send you a few pictures. Let me know. Please advise whenever you get a chance. I hope you are well and staying strong and having a lot of fun in your garden!! Thank you very much! Alicla

Arzoo

Monday 2nd of December 2019

Thank you for showing it step by step. Such great content to read and helpful too.

Kristin

Thursday 23rd of May 2019

Thank you so much for this tutorial! I have a black thumb but my 100 year old Grandma passed away last week so I snipped a few stems from the rose bushes she faithfully tended my entire life to hopefully root >> transfer to my Mom's garden as a gift to her. I used the starbucks cup method and I'm only on day 2, but the greenhouse effect is working perfectly! It's nice and warm and drippy inside the cup. Cannot wait to see if this works - wish me luck! :)

Angie

Friday 19th of June 2020

Great article! Can you tell me where you find "non pre-fertilized soil"?

Pauline

Friday 29th of May 2020

How did they turn out?

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