Have you ever been to a friend’s house and admired some of the gorgeous roses in their garden, wishing you could grow your own of that particular variety?
With literally hundreds of types of roses available, unless you’re an expert it can be nearly impossible to determine what species a particular rose is, let alone where you can purchase one.
Luckily, it’s remarkably easy to grow, or propagate, roses from an existing bush. The most important factor is knowing where to cut a rose stem for growing.
Once your new rose is growing and healthy, then all you need to know is how to grow long stem roses.
There are several simple steps you need to follow when cutting a rose for growing. Just as with growing any type of plant or flower, there are no guarantees that you’ll be successful – but I’m going to up your success rate with my tips here for cutting rose stems.
There are several factors that lead to a hardy rose bush that flourishes in your garden. One thing to keep in mind is that if a rose is a hybrid, it makes it much more difficult to propagate- but once you have some experience it becomes easier. Many people love the challenge of propagating all types of rose bushes!
The most ideal time to try growing roses from an existing stem is in warm but not hot weather. Mid to late spring or late summer is generally a good time to give this a try.
In the spring roses start growing like weeds in the perfect weather conditions and it’s a good time to take advantage of this growth spurt.
Let’s go over the basic steps of cutting a rose stem for growing:
How to Cut a Rose Stem for Growing
1 – Cut Off the Rose
The first step is to cut off the flower. To do this you want to use sharp pruners meant for cutting roses. Using household scissors can result in a messy and imprecise cut.
Always make your cuts at a 45 degree angle. You’ll need to cut the stem at anywhere from six to 12 inches down. Then cut off the flower, also at a 45 degree angle.
You’ll want to cut this way because most of the plant’s energy is used for the flower, therefore removing it will help refocus that energy on the roots which is vital for propagation success.
Many gardeners recommend that you use sterilized cutting tools to snip the stems. This can prevent the spread of disease onto your new rose. To sterilize just heat the blades either under a flame or in boiling water.
2 – Remove Almost All of the Leaves
Next you need to remove most of the leaves off the bottom of the stem, except for the top two or three. It’s a fine balance of not diverting too much energy to the leaves so the roots will grow, but also ensuring that photosynthesis is still happening, or the rose will not survive.
3 – Prepare Stem for Rooting
In order to prepare the stem for rooting you’ll need to make a cut directly below a stem node. These bumps are obvious and can easily be felt.
Then using pruning shears make two cuts to quarter the stem. This process is called “wounding” and it creates an area for new roots to grow out of. The cuts should be about ½ inch to an inch in length.
You can also use a rooting hormone at this point. Rooting hormones can be found at most garden centers and are said to increase the likelihood of rooting for your stem. This is optional but if you want to increase the chances that you grow a hardy shrub, you may want to purchase some.
There are several different types of rooting hormones, but you’ll want to choose the powdered form for roses.
4 – Plant the Cutting
Use a small container with approximately 6 inches of soil for your cutting. There are special rose potting mixes that you can purchase which will have all the nutrients necessary for your new rose.
If you’re using a rooting hormone, be sure to make a hole using a pencil or your finger for the rose stem and carefully place it in before filling soil over the ends.
5 – Cover the Cutting
The final step is to cover the cutting with a plastic bag or wrap to help keep the soil moist, ensuring that there’s a bit of ventilation so mold doesn’t grow.
It’s important not to have the plastic touching the leaves which can cause fungus to develop. You are essentially creating a mini-greenhouse for your rose to thrive.
About two weeks later the roots should begin to form and your rose is ready for transplant. If you pull gently on the roots and there is some resistance you can be relatively certain the roots are growing.
Any new growth on the stem is a sign of growth as well.
How to Grow Long Stem Roses
Growing long stem roses is a very satisfying hobby. They not only look gorgeous growing in your yard, they also make excellent cut flowers for vases indoors as well.
Is there anything more pleasing than admiring a stunning bouquet on your kitchen table that you grew yourself?
Many people are unnecessarily intimidated by growing roses, but with a few helpful tips you too can have the garden of your dreams.
- Choose roses that thrive in your growing zone. All plants have a growing zone designation where they are most likely to thrive. There are many websites that can help you determine which zone you’re in so you know you’re only choosing varieties that will grow outdoors where you live unless you’re growing them in a greenhouse.
- If you have your heart set on cutting your roses for bouquets make sure the variety is designated as long stem. Some roses have short floppy stems which don’t make them ideal for bouquets.
- Make sure your roses are getting at least six hours of sunlight per day. Any less than this and they may not grow to full size or they may become susceptible to fungus. Some varieties may do better than others in part shade, so search these out either at the garden store or online.
- Plant your roses in mid to late spring. If you’ve bought your roses from the nursery, they should include specific planting and care instructions. If you’re growing from a cutting, make sure you learn about that particular variety before planting outside.
- Plant your roses in a well-drained area of your garden. Water-saturated soil can lead to fungus and mold problems.
- If you use fertilizer make sure you follow directions carefully. Try to find earth-friendly fertilizers since run off may end up in the water system.
- Roses should be watered once every two days.
- Trim or deadhead roses once they start to wilt. This will encourage new growth.
- When roses are dormant in the winter you can trim the bushes down close to the ground. This will ensure that when roses begin their growth cycle in the spring, they become full and robust instead of leggy and thin.
With their layers upon layers of soft petals, roses are some of nature’s most stunning flowers. Many varieties will bloom throughout the summer and provide you with endless bouquets for your home.
Learning how to propagate roses successfully can be a very satisfying and enjoyable hobby for any green thumb, for both novices and experts alike.
It all starts with knowing where to cut a rose stem for growing to help ensure that you’re off to a great start.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.