Use existing healthy varieties to grow even more of these classic beauties.

By Kelly Manning
January 26, 2021
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Whether you fancy English, hybrid tea, miniature, or any of the other thousand-plus rose varieties, these blooms are a staple in every garden. The fragrant, woody-stemmed plants pair well in mixed flower beds or hold court on their own. And if you've seen success with your roses in previous seasons, you may want to consider taking and establishing cuttings in an effort to expand your rose empire. Below, David Filter, the owner of English Garden Florist and a BloomNation affiliate, walks us through the process of doing so.

Take a Cutting

To begin, use sharp pruning shears to clip a four- to six-inch piece of stem near the top of the plant (never cut the tip, since that is where the plant is still growing). Snip below a node, the area where new leaves form, leaving approximately three nodes on the top half of the stem. It's important that the upper half of your clipping has leaves in order for your plant to receive nutrients once it's replanted in soil. Filter recommends taking several clippings at once since it's unlikely all of the cuttings will yield growth.

rose bush
Credit: Getty / Rosemary Calvert

Use a Hormone Stimulator

Moisten the bottom of each stem and dip it into a root hormone powder, such as Hormex Rooting Hormone Powder ($17.99, amazon.com), to help stimulate growth, notes Filter.

Plant the Cutting in a Temporary Pot

If you have any leftover small plastic containers from trips to garden centers, reuse them as your clipping's first pot. But first, Filter recommends cleaning each with bleach and water to remove any lingering bacteria. Next, plant one clipping per vessel using a nutrient-rich soil mixture, such as Miracle-Gro ($21.99, amazon.com), and place them in a well-lit area. Don't forget to maintain a regular watering schedule while your roses are propagating.

If the existing foliage remains "perky and attached to the plant, then you know the clipping will make it," says Filter. It should take about a week for the roots to take hold, after which the expert suggests taking one of your plantings out of its container to check for roots. If a root ball is evident, then it's likely your other clippings are in a similar state.

Replant the Clipping in the Ground

Transplant your clippings into the ground with a mix of nutrient-dense soil and existing ground soil. Expect to see buds form within three to four months, so long as you keep up with watering. During the first or second winter after your plants have been propagated, Filter suggests protecting the young leaves with a chicken wire enclosure, burlap, or extra mulch around the base of the plant.

Don't Forget About Pests

Roses are prone to pests, such as spider mites—symptoms of which can appear as discoloration or dark spots on foliage. If you find yourself faced with these pesky creatures, clip off infected leaves with shears and wipe remaining foliage with a damp cloth. Furthermore, keep an eye out mildew, which presents as a white, powdery substance. Clip off leaves exhibiting mildew and spray the plant generously with a fungicide.

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