Propagating Roses – Taking Rose Cuttings

Rose Cuttings

Generally speaking, Nurseries do not find it worth while to try to produce roses on their own roots. There are various reasons for this, but one is outstanding: in these days of grading, lack of uniformity in the crop is an insuperable obstacle to commercial success. Other reasons include the amount of plant material required, which is of course much greater; the time it takes to produce good saleable plants; the variation which occurs in varieties; and the development, especially among hybrid teas, of unsatisfactory rooting systems which do not transplant successfully.

rose cuttings However, all these difficulties can be overlooked by keen amateurs, who often prefer to have roses on their own roots because any suckers which arise will come not from a rootstock but will be of the variety which is being grown. Cuttings root best when the wood is well ripened in the autumn, generally during September and early October. Shoots should be about 230 mm (9 in) in length and should not be from old growth, which is unlikely to make the cell changes necessary to produce roots.

The cutting should be cut off squarely under a leaf node; roots can be encouraged to develop by dipping this end into a hormone rooting powder. Leaves can be removed, except for two or three at the top; the cuttings are then inserted up to these leaves, which should mean at least two thirds under the soil. Taking out a small trench in a sheltered border where the soil is not cold and wet is probably the best method, and rooting can be hastened by the addition of some sharp sand in the trench bottom. Place the cuttings 150 mm (6 in) apart, allowing 300 mm (1 ft) between rows. Fill in the trench, firming the soil well; give it a soaking with water if it is dry.

Many varieties grow readily from cuttings. Indeed, in many districts this has led to the popularity of particular varieties, cuttings having been passed on to friends and neighbours. Ramblers, in particular ‘American Pillar’, ‘Albertine’, ‘Chaplin’s Pink Climber’, ‘Dorothy Perkins’ and ‘Goldfinch’, have benefited greatly from this form of propagation; indeed, they are frequently overplanted, leaving little if any space in gardens for more attractive varieties. Many of the more vigorous floribundas, which produce firm, hard, pencil-thick growths, root quite readily, as also do hybrid teas. The exceptions are those varieties that produce pithy growth, which makes it difficult to root the cuttings.

Shrub and climbing species are generally propagated commercially by budding, except for species such as R. spinosissima, R. rugosa, and R. virginiana, which sucker freely. Those grown from either cuttings or suckers are an advantage for the amateur, as only suckers of the parent will be produced, and eventually these will produce nice clumps or thickets. Some other shrub roses which can readily be propagated from ripened wood cuttings are the hybrid or Pemberton musks, hybrid China roses, and hybrid perpetuals.

Miniature roses have increased in popularity in recent years and are being produced commercially from cuttings. This is carried out under glass, using young wood and the modern method of mist propagation. Budded or grafted plants are apt to grow rather tall, and many rosarians believe that these delightful plants retain their true character if grown on their own roots. Some amateurs also use mist units for propagating miniature roses, particularly during summer months. Alternatively, young growths can be placed as cuttings in a sandy mixture in September and kept in a closed propagating frame, either in a greenhouse or a larger cold frame; when rooted, they are put in individual pots and kept under protection for the first winter.


11. March 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Propagating Roses, Roses | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Propagating Roses – Taking Rose Cuttings


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