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How to Grow Roses from Cuttings

Updated on January 10, 2015

How to Grow a Rose From a Cutting

Did you know you can grow roses from cuttings with the right techniques? There are actually several ways to propagate roses from cuttings. Some are easy and some are more advanced.

Here will discuss the basics of growing roses from cuttings and how to successfully grow them into large rose bushes. This is the most basic method, but very successful. More advanced rosarians are now growing them using newspapers, darkness and cool temperatures. We will save that technique for another date.

Below you will find step by step instructions for growing roses from cuttings. This technique is great for beginners and professional rosarians.

Image Source: Stephanie Manning

What You Will Need

Supplies Needed for Grow Roses from Cuttings

A Healthy "Parent" Rose Bush

Small Pots or Clear Plastic Cups

Sharp Shears

Sterile Potting Soil

Rooting Hormone - not required but helps speed the process


Depending on your method you will also need:

Clear Gallon Bags

Rubber Bands

Clear Plastic Soda Bottles

Select a Healthy Rose Bush to Take Rose Cuttings From

The first step in growing roses from cuttings is to select a healthy rose bush. Always take cutting from a rose bush that is disease free and very healthy. This will insure a healthy start for your new roses.

Once you select your rose bush it's time to select a stem. Choose a stem that has recently bloomed or is putting on new buds. This is very important. Not all stems will bloom and if you grow a rose cutting from a stem that hasn't bloomed then your new rose cutting won't bloom either.

Prepare the Soil You Will Use to Plant Your Rose Cuttings

Before making your cuttings you want to prepare the soil. Always use fresh medium that is sterile and free of pests. Fill your pots or clear cups with potting soil. Water the soil thoroughly and insure the water drains well. Once the soil has drained water one more time and allow it to drain again.

Once the soil has drained, use a pencil or similar object to press holes into the soil. Gently press the pencil in the soil and slightly wiggle it side to side to insure the whole is large enough for each cutting but not to large. Set the soil aside and then prepare your cuttings.

Sterling Silver Rose

Sterling Silver Rose
Sterling Silver Rose

How to Take a Rose Cutting

Once you have selected your rose bush and the stems it's time to take the rose cuttings. Using sharp, sterile pruning shears make your cuttings 4 to 7 inches long and just above a set of leaves. Make the cut at an angle to insure a clean cut is left on the rose bush.

Cuttings should be about the size of a pencil give or take a little. Always use fresh, green growth and avoid old, mature wood that may not root very well. If you have long, healthy stems that are long enough to take several cuttings from then go ahead and take the stem as low as you can without the diameter getting any bigger than your pinky finger.

Once you take a rose cutting it needs to be planted almost immediately. If you are not able to plant the cuttings immediately, for whatever reason, they need to be kept cook and moist. This can be done by wrapping the bottom end in a wet paper towel and placing them in gallon bags. They can also be put in a glass of water and kept for a few hours. Make sure the cuttings are in a cool, shaded area to prevent them from drying out.

Prepare Your Rose Cuttings

Once you have taken your cuttings it is then time to prepare them to be potted. Start by cutting off all the leave except for the top two sets. If the type of rose you used has several leaves on leaflet then cut the tip of the leaflet off leave 2-4 leaves per each set.

Be sure to use sharp scissors or shears that are sterile. Funguses such as Black Spot spread easily through tools and can quickly take over your cutting before it gets a chance to root.

Once you have removed the leaves make a fresh cut at the button of the rose cutting at a deep angle. Make sure that your cutting has one bud or leaf node near the bottom. This is where most of the roots will form. Regardless of the size of the cutting make sure that at least one of the nodes are in the soil when you pot it.

Once you have removed the excess leaves use a sharp razor or one of the blades on your shears to gently remove the green exterior on one side of the cutting at the very bottom. Cutting away the green ‘bark’ will allow an open wound to reach the soil and will increase the rooting chances. Do not cut it too deeply as you can injure the plant. Just remove a small section deep enough to see the white begin to show through.

Anastasia Rose

Anastasia Rose
Anastasia Rose

Dip Your Rose Cuttings In Rooting Hormone

Using rooting hormones will help increase your chances of success and prevent your rose cuttings from rotting. While it is not required it is highly recommended. There are many types of rooting hormones available from the basic gardener type to the expensive commercial grade types used by nurseries and professional propagators. The normal rooting hormone available at garden centers such as Walmart, Lowes and Home Depot will do just fine. Plant immediately after dipping in hormone.

Dip the end of each rose cutting into a glass of water and tap off the excess water. Dip each wet rose cutting into the rooting hormone and gently shake of the excess.

Rooting Hormone

Amazon is a great place to find rooting hormones in general and commercial grades. Most of these can not be found at your local garden centers.

Planting Rose Cuttings

How to Plant Rose Cuttings

Next, place one rose cutting in each hole in the prepared soil at least 2 inches deep. Insur at least one bud or leaf node is below the soil. The longer your cutting, the deeper it should be planted, typically about half the length of the rose cutting. If for any reason the leaves are touching the soil cut the leaves back far enough they don't touch. If they do they could quickly rot or set of fungus causing problems.

Once you have positioned your rose cutting in the soil gently press the soil around the cutting and make sure it is secure but not to compacted.

Next, water your rose cuttings using a gentle nozzle. Water them thoroughly so that the soil is very moist but not soggy. This is one reason that using containers with good drainage is very important.

Depending on the size of your pot you can plant 2 to 3 cuttings in each pot. If you are using really big pots than you can plant more. Just be sure that they are not touching and there is plenty of room for air flow.

My Favorite....Joseph's Coat

My Favorite....Joseph's Coat
My Favorite....Joseph's Coat

Cover and Protect Your Rose Cuttings

Once your cuttings have been planted they need to be kept in a humid environment. A greenhouse with a misting system that will be sufficient and if you don’t have one you can create the same environment with a gallon bag or clear plastic bottle.

Growing Rose Cutting Using the Gallon Bag Method

Using a gallon bag (or other clear bag), fill it with air and place over the top of the pot. Using a rubber band, secure the gallon bag to the top of the pot and insure there is plenty of air inside and that no part of the plant is touching the bag.

Using Rose Cuttings Using the Plastic Bottle Method

Take a clear plastic bottle such as a 2 liter bottle or large juice bottle and cut the very bottom off. Place the bottle over the cutting. This can be placed over the outside of the pot or on the inside of the pot as long as it covers the rose cuttings but does not touch any part of it.

Place your rose cuttings in a shaded area protected from bright light. Make sure the area is warm but not extremely hot 65-75 degrees is optimal but no higher than about 80 degrees. Scorching sun can kill the rose cuttings within hours so always be sure to protect them from the bright light.

Keep the Rose Cuttings Watered

It is very important to keep the cuttings watered until they root. Make sure the soil stays moist at all time but not soggy. The easiest and safest method is to water from the bottom. Using a deep dish, baking pan, or other type of bowl, place the pot in the dish and fill the dish with water. Let it set about 15 minutes or longer if needed until the soil is moist. If you don’t let it dry out it shouldn’t take too long to water from the bottom.

Snow Fire....Red Interior with White Exterior

Snow Fire....Red Interior with White Exterior
Snow Fire....Red Interior with White Exterior

The Waiting Process...

Waiting for Your Rose Cuttings to Root

Once you have planted your rose cuttings the next thing to do is to wait patiently. I cannot emphasize the patient part enough. Cuttings will root in 2 to 4 weeks depending on the type of rose and the time of year you took cuttings.

Once new growth appears, new leaves are showing and the plant is starting to grow you can rest assured it has rooted. This is really the only safe way to tell when it has rooted unless you used clear plastic cups. Doing so allows you to see when the roots have grown and to two to three inches and can rest assured that there is an optimal root system.

DO NOT pull the cuttings from the soil. Doing so will tear away the roots and kill the rose cuttings. To check for roots gently, and I do mean gently, give the cutting a little tug. If it feels secure it may be starting to root. If not then there are no roots.

All too often, growers pull the root cuttings up to look and tear the tender roots. I am guilty of this and have quickly learned not to. The best bet is to wait for new growth or at least 4 weeks. Once you have waited 4 weeks and the cutting looks healthy but has not put on any new growth you can water the plant thoroughly and then gently remove the entire cutting and soil from the pot. It's best to use a pencil or other object to push the soil up from the bottom. Gently remove any soil and check for roots. If you do not have any roots place the cutting back into the soil.

Need Rose Cuttings?

You can buy rose cuttings online from eBay. Many growers, including myself, offer a variety of rose clippings from some of the rarest rose bushes you may ever come across.

When to Remove the Cover from Your Cuttings

Once your rose cuttings have formed roots and begin to put on new growth you can remove the cover. Continue to keep the soil moist which may be required more often now. It’s also a good idea to mist them daily for the first week or so to allow them to get used to a lower humidity.

Do You Grow Roses From Cuttings

Have you ever tried to grow roses from cuttings?

See results

When to Fertilize Your Rose Cuttings

Once your rose cuttings have formed a good root system and are starting to put on new growth you can then fertilize them. Use a liquid form of general purpose fertilizer or a rose fertilizer at half recommended strength and fertilize according to the directions on the package. Again, be sure to only use half of the amount it calls for in the first batch. After that you can fertilize accordingly. This will help prevent the tender roots from being burned by too much fertilizer.

Chicago Peace Rose

Chicago Peace Rose
Chicago Peace Rose

How to Plant Roses From Cuttings

Planting Roses from Cuttings

Once your rose cuttings have established a healthy root system they are ready to be planted outside in your landscape or into larger pots. It's best to wait till the following spring to plant roses from cuttings to avoid damage by freezing temperatures.

The following spring, plant roses grown from cuttings outside as you would any other rose bush. Continue to make sure they get adequate water and use a good compost or potting soil to give them the best chances of a new start. Keep them watered daily for at least two weeks until established. New growth and buds are a great sign that your rose cuttings are settled in, well established and officially a huge success.

Growing Roses from Cuttings with a Patent

Growing roses from cuttings can be fun and a great way to save money. However, there is one thing you should keep in mind. Roses do have patents. It is illegal to propagate roses and other flowers with a patent on them. Rose patents usually last 17 years depending on the patent. This patent is to protect the grower and insure he has a chance to get royalties from his rose.

Must older roses or those you see all the time at the local box stores have patents that have expired and are free to use. New varieties and colors will most likely have a patent. Knock-Out Roses for instance would have a patent. If you aren't sure research the specific plant you are wanting to cut. Again, older varieties won't have a patent but newer one will.

Who would know right? Well if you are just doing it as a hobby and not selling then chances are no one would know but that still does not make it right. The breeder spent many years trying to perfect their rose and deserves a little credit. Take a few dollars and go buy the rose if it has a patent.... save yourself a guilty conscious, a lawsuit and possibly even prison time if you were to get caught mass producing.

Use Clear Cups for Growing Rose Cuttings to See the Progress

Rose cuttings
Rose cuttings

If you are like me and find yourself to be impatient then you may benefit from using clear plastic cups. Poke a hole in the bottom so that it has drainage and then plant you cuttings like you would above. Shortly after the cuttings root you will be able to see the tiny roots and watch them grow. This way you want have to tug on them to find out if they are ready. You will be able to see by looking for them!

Get Your Roses at a Discount

eBay has a ton of roses of all varieties and colors at steep discounts. Some are commercial growers and some are hobby growers who propagate by cuttings and then sell them when they are big enough.

***Please use caution when buying rose seeds. Rose seeds to not bloom true to the parent and that is how new roses are produced. My main reason for cautioning you is because those who are offering Rainbow Rose seeds, Black, Bright Blue and other specific color seeds are a scam. There is no way to determine what color you will get and 99.9% of the seeds they are offering, the parent plant doesn't even exist. For instance, the rainbow rose does not exist as a bush. Those are dyed by florist so it will be impossible to ever grow one.

Have Your Ever Grown Roses from Cuttings?

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      yes i did! i chose the stem which is not too old nor too young and they all grow well.

    • Fran Tollett profile image

      Fran Tollett 

      5 years ago

      This would be a great Sunday school project. I LOVE all your information.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Thanks for this excellent lens. I have never grown roses from cuttings, but I will from now on. Thanks for sharing this great information.

    • Appollonia profile image


      6 years ago

      This is a great lens. I plan on adding roses to the garden and the information here is wonderful. Thank you!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Wow, this is very thorough. I have never tried growing roses from cuttings before, but now that I know how to do it, maybe I'll give it a try.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Wow, I have to try this... thanks for the detailed information on growing rose flowers from cuttings.

    • srsddn lm profile image

      srsddn lm 

      6 years ago

      Quite informative. Worth trying ideas.

    • siobhanryan profile image


      6 years ago

      I have but it failed-thanks to you i will try again


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