There’s an open secret about roses: they’re not only easy to propagate, but making more of these plants is one of the best, most magical parts of having them around. You could sprout the seeds, but growing roses from cuttings is the easiest way to reproduce your favorite varieties. There are several practical reasons to propagate roses from cuttings. If you have a variety that does especially well in your garden, rooting a few cuttings from that rose provides an inexpensive way to increase your collection. Or you may want to create backups of a rare variety or a family heirloom rose. Homegrown rose cuttings are also great for swapping with other gardeners. Here’s how to grow roses from cuttings successfully, broken down into 10 simple steps.
Best Time to Take Rose Cuttings
You can successfully root rose cuttings any time of the year. But for more consistent results, check the weather forecast. Plan to take your cutting when daytime temperatures are above 55°F and below 90; the ideal is between 70 and 80. That will probably be in spring and fall. It’s also best to take cuttings early in the morning.
What You’ll Need
Overall, rose growing from cuttings is a simple process. Whenever you prune your rose plants or cut off the faded flowers, the balance of hormones in the removed stem changes. Under the right conditions, the changes stimulate it to grow roots. The resulting plant is identical to the parent.
Water the Day Before
Healthy, well-hydrated roses root better. Along with making sure to keep the parent plants in good shape through the growing season, water them the day before taking cuttings.
Choose stems immediately below flower buds that are just about to open. The second best option is stems beneath flowers that have begun to drop their petals. Aim for cuttings that are 4-8 inches long with three to five nodes (the regular intervals where buds, leaves, and stems emerge). The cut at the base should be about a quarter of an inch below a node and the cut at the top should be about a quarter inch above one.
Bonus tip: Heel wood often roots more easily. It’s located at the base of a stem right where it emerges from another stem. Try pulling your stem straight out from where it attaches. Or cut slightly into the older shoot with a sharp knife.