Quality roses are readily available in Tyler area nurseries; however, having a rose bush that you started from a cutting from the garden of a much-loved relative or friend gives that rose special meaning for you. Propagating roses from cuttings isn’t difficult, and you will be rewarded with a rose that you will always treasure.
The best time of year to take cuttings is during the cool months-November through February. The most successful section of the rose to cut is the end of a stem that has recently flowered. Preferably, the stem has a withered bloom or a hip that is beginning to form. Cut six to eight inches with a sharp knife or pruning shears at approximately a 45 degree angle. Remove the spent flower or hip along the stem to the first group of vigorous leaves, being careful not to let the cutting dry out or be exposed to excessive heat or cold until it has been placed into the rooting medium.
Your choice of location is important to the success of your cutting. Roses favor a sunny spot; but when rooting a cutting, it is preferable to have protection from the burning afternoon sun. A location where drip from a roof helps keep the area moist is advantageous, but the soil should have good drainage. Remove foliage from the bottom half of your cutting and dip the cutting into a rooting hormone, tapping lightly to remove any excess. Use a pencil or similar device to make a hole for each cutting. These holes should be approximately half the length of the cutting and six to eight inches apart. Firm the soil around each cutting and water thoroughly.
Early in the rooting process, it is essential that the cuttings not be allowed to dry out. During a dry time, you may have to water every other day. Prevent damage from extreme cold by covering for a few hours or days as necessary. As spring arrives, your cuttings should sprout new growth. Again, it is important to keep the soil moist. Young plants are particularly vulnerable to stress during their first summer and should be left in place to strengthen their root systems. By late fall, your young plants will be ready to move to a permanent setting in your garden and should have their first blooms by the following spring.
Mary Wilkerson, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas AgriLife Extension Service