Can You Grow Roses From Cuttings? Sometimes.

Woman holding a bunch of roses
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  • 01 of 07

    Growing Roses from Cuttings

    can you grow roses from cuttings
    Illustration: © The Spruce, 2018

    Ever wonder if you could root and grow roses from a branch of your favorite rose bush? Roses actually root rather easily. However most roses are grafted onto the rootstock of a different type of rose than the top, flowering portion, so the rose you root and grow may look nothing like the rose you started with. Grafting is done to improve strength, disease resistance, or hardiness, and even if you do get something resembling the parent rose you took your cutting from, it might not have that rose's hardiness. Rooting a rose cutting may not be hard to do, but it is something of a gamble.

    How about trying to root a cut rose from a bouquet? These are harder to root, since they've been grown in controlled environments. And cut roses that have been sitting in water have already expended a lot of energy in blooming. There's also still the grafting dilemma. Finally, there's no guarantee your rose will thrive, even it if does root.

    That said, you have nothing to lose by trying.

    Here's what you'll need:

    • Rose Cuttings
    • Pruners
    • Rooting Hormone (available in most garden centers)
    • Container with Sand or a Soil-less Potting Mix
    • Plastic Bag (to cover the container)
    • Water
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  • 02 of 07

    Always Remove the Flowers from Cuttings

    Rooting Rose Cuttings
    © Marie Iannotti

    Remove the flower and leave about a 12 inch section of stem. The flower is using up all the plant's energy. By removing it, you encourage the stem to refocus its energy on survival and that means sending out new roots. 

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  • 03 of 07

    Then Remove Almost All the Leaves.

    Preparing a Rose Cutting
    © Marie iannotti

    Remove all but the top 2 leaflets on the stem, cutting just above the top set of leaves. You need to remove the excess leaves for the same reason we removed the flower in Step #2. They're taking up too much of the plant's energy. However we want the stem to continue to photosynthesize and feed itself until the new roots form, so we need to leave a couple of leaves.

    A branch from a bush should have full 3-5 leaf leaflets. This is a cut rose and you don't always get full sets of leaves when you buy cut roses, so you have to make do.

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  • 04 of 07

    Prepare the Stem for Rooting.

    Rose stem ready for rooting.
    © Marie Iannotti

    Use your pruners to make a fresh cut on the bottom of the stem, just below a node (bump) and use your pruners to slice up into the bottom of the stem about 1/4 inch, quartering it.

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  • 05 of 07

    Use a Rooting Hormone to Promote Fast Rooting.

    Using Rooting Hormone on Rose Cuttings
    © Marie Iannotti

    Rooting hormones spur the plant into developing new roots. They are not absolutely required, but they do help. To use a rooting hormone, slightly wet the split stem tip and then dip it into the dry rooting hormone. Shake off any excess.

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  • 06 of 07

    Plant the Cutting.

    Potting Up a Rose Cutting
    © Marie Iannotti

    Plant the cutting in sand or potting mix. Poke a hole first, in the potting medium, and then insert the stem. Be careful not to rub off all the rooting hormone. Gently pat into place and water well.

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  • 07 of 07

    Cover the Cutting and Wait.

    Getting a Rose Cutting to Root
    © Marie Iannotti

    Cover the cutting loosely, pot and all, with a plastic bag or plastic wrap and keep the soil moist. Putting a tall stake into the pot will hold the plastic away from the leaves. If the plastic touches the leaves, they remain wet and can succumb to a fungus disease. Along the same lines, make sure the condensation can escape from the plastic or the stem will rot.

    Now be patient, keep the soil moist and start checking in a couple of weeks to see if roots are forming. Check by gently tugging on the stem. If there's resistance, there are probably roots.