Of all flowers, the rose is considered the most loved. Our ancestors felt the same, because they took their roses with them when they moved and shared them with family and friends. We now call these roses “Old Garden Roses” or “Antique Roses.” And, as your ancestors would tell you, these roses are as easy as one, two, three to propagate.

You will need a six inch plastic pot, a potting mixture of half perlite or vermiculite and half potting soil, a sharp knife or clippers, rooting hormone, an 18 inch length of wire, and a plastic bag. Then, follow these simple guidelines:

Take the cutting, making a forty-five degree cut just below a leaf node on a stem where the flower has finished blooming. The cutting needs to be six to eight inches long. It is important to keep the stem moist by placing it in water or wrap it in a wet paper towel.

Next, remove the lower leaves, leaving at least two on the top. Using the eraser end of a pencil, make holes in the rooting medium. Dip the cut end in rooting hormone and gently tap to remove any excess.

Place the prepared cutting in the hole, firming the soil around the stem. Water with a fine spray, and label each pot with the variety, name and date. Cover the pot with a plastic bag, which is supported above the foliage with a bent wire. Make sure the pot does not dry out.

Set the pot in a warm and bright, but shaded location. When the cutting has grown roots, it will send out new leaves, usually in five to eight weeks. To ready the rooted cutting to be transplanted into a larger pot, put several slits in the top of the plastic bag, exposing it to drier air for a few days. Pot the newly rooted rose and place it in filtered sun for the rest of the growing season.

Sue Adee, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service


Though spring and early fall are the best times for propagating by layering, it can be done at almost any time of year. It may take longer to get a viable new plant during late fall and winter (from two to four months), but this method is nearly always successful. However, avoid bending canes when prolonged cold makes them brittle

Choose a flexible cane and pull it to the ground, bending the last six to eight inches into an “elbow.” Use a sharp knife to nick the cane at the bottom of the elbow. This will promote faster root formation. Then, bury the elbow approximately six inches deep at the base of the plant. A rock or brick will keep the cane from springing up when disturbed by the wind.

After six to eight weeks, check for new roots by gently tugging on the cane. If it pulls out and no roots have formed, simply replant it and wait a few more weeks. New growth is a sure sign of good root formation. When you are ready to transplant, cut through the end connecting to the parent plant and move it to the new location.

Geneva Thomas, former Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service



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, former Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Posted in Propagating Roses, Roses