Roses look gorgeous in any place at any time. There’s no wrong time or situation for giving away a rose. And more importantly, there’s no garden impossible to enhance with the addition of a rose.
Growing this flowering plant may not be as easy as it seems, though. Despite their capacity to grow almost anywhere, roses are slightly picky and problematic. Significantly when growing from cut stems, it may feel like a titanic endeavor.
Luckily, there’s no need to worry. Here, we’ll teach you how to grow roses from cuttings, even if you’re a beginner. We’ll break down every vital factor to consider before starting. Then we’re going to walk you over every critical step to take in the growing process. Keep scrolling and learn!
What Does a Rose Need to Grow?
Before going into the cutting, planting, and growing process, let’s teach you the basics of helping a rose thrive in a garden or pot. Here’s what to consider:
Space & Pot
First and foremost, where should you plant the rose cutting? You shouldn’t worry much about this. Roses grow pretty much anywhere with enough soil. That’s why we recommend only planting wherever they have at least 6 inches of soil depth. This includes both gardens and pots.
It’s worth considering that there are hundreds of different rose types to consider. Some of them grow in bushes, while others like to climb like viny plants. This means you’ll have to find the right place depending on the variety you pick.
For example, a bush variety will need at least 20 inches of space around to grow. But a viny plant will need a lot of space above so it can grow without stunting.
Soil & Fertilizer
While roses are not incredibly picky about where you plant them, they are indeed fussy about the soil. Roses require rich and moist soil that drains well. Otherwise, they won’t grow quickly or large enough.
Luckily, roses have their own soil mix. You can pretty much find it in any plant nursery. If you don’t want to spend any money on a soil mix, you can prepare it yourself by combining compost with garden soil.
As for fertilizer, a slow-release mix is more than enough. You can complement it with liquid feeding to keep it even healthier and thriving.
Water & Humidity
There’s no need to keep roses in damp soil, but they require proper irrigation to thrive. They must receive adequate moisture, as the plant tends to consume a lot of nutrients. This happens more efficiently when the soil is humid.
In warm seasons where the soil dries fast, it is worth watering once every two days. As long as the soil stays moist, the plant shouldn’t have a problem to keep growing.
It’s worth noting that roses are humidity lovers. Meaning, they prefer when the climate is relatively humid at 40% to 70% of humidity. Because of that, they love moist soil – so don’t let it dry.
Light & Air
Alongside with consistent humidity and proper soil, roses love a lot of sun exposure. They aren’t a full-sun tropical plant, but you should still ensure 6 hours of sunlight. In cloudy places, 8 hours of daylight would be even better.
It is essential to ensure ideal sunlight if you’re growing indoors. They prefer windy environments but if you’re growing indoors, let them feed on sun rays.
Temperature & Environment
The perfect temperature for a rose to thrive would be anywhere from 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, they can grow without problems in temperatures as high as 85 degrees.
Having said that, they don’t appreciate cold environments. Places with temperatures lower than 40 degrees Fahrenheit will make the rose struggle. And even worse, they can die if temperatures go lower than 32 degrees.
It’s recommended to only plant roses in relatively warm environments. If you live in a place with freezing temperatures in winter, taking the rose indoors and placing it in a warm area would be a wise decision.
When to Grow Roses from Cuttings
There’s no particular moment to grow a rose from a cutting. You can pretty much plant them at any season, and they should thrive.
However, roses prefer spring. Like most flowering plants, roses appreciate when temperatures are relatively warm and the environment is humid. This is why spring is such an excellent option.
But you can still take cuttings at any time of the year and plant them. The rose should have no problem growing either way.
The only thing worth considering is that roses don’t like when you prune them during blooming season. Meaning, it’s better to wait for the flowers to go away when you see roses at their maximum splendor.
This is because the plant is focusing on blooming at the time, leaving roots growth for later. Thus, the cutting won’t develop as needed.
Types of Cuttings to Consider
There’s yet another factor to consider. Depending on when you take the plant’s cutting, it will have a different name and growing process. Below we explain more about each:
Taking Softwood Cuttings (Spring & Summer)
This is a perfect cutting to start right away. As the plant won’t necessarily be blooming, it will make the whole process easier (fast growth and rooting.)
We recommend cutting stems of 8 to 10 inches. Make sure the cut is done at a 45-degree angle so the roots grow quickly. Remove leaves and flowers from the stem.
Taking Semi-Hardwood Cuttings (Late Summer & Early Fall)
It’s still possible for those who couldn’t cut in the spring to get the cuttings in the late summer or early fall. These are called semi-hardwood cuttings, and the stems are fully matured.
You may not see flowers as they’re already dead (but you may see rosehips.) Either way, you can cut an 8 to 10-inch stem and get rid of its leaves and rosehips.
This should take a bit of time to establish in the soil than a softwood cut, but it still roots fast. More importantly, it grows fast because the stem is matured.
Taking Hardwood Cuttings (Mid-Fall & Winter)
In case you’re thinking of starting the rose in winter or fall, you use a hardwood cutting. Here, the stem will be in a semi-dormant state, meaning it will take a lot more to grow and establish in the soil.
If you take a cutting at this stage, it is worth waiting a few days before planting. Preferably, you should wait until winter is almost over to cut and plant.
Either way, cut the stem at a 45-degree angle, about 5 to 8 inches. Try to select a healthy stem for better growth when it’s time.
How to Grow Roses from Cuttings in 10 Steps
Now that you’re familiar with the different types of cuttings and the requirements of a rose to thrive, it’s time to get your hands dirty. Take a look at how to grow rose from cuttings:
1. Gather the Supplies
Even when the process is relatively simple, you will need to prepare a few tools. Here’s what we recommend:
- Pruners or shears
- A pot of at least 12 inches diameter (Optional)
- Rooting hormone (optional)
- Liquid fertilizer
- Potting or garden soil (preferably rose mix)
- A plastic bag or bottle
You will probably need a few extra supplies for the job. However, you will have to pick them on the go depending on your needs.
2. Pick the Stem to Cut
With everything prepared, it’s time to choose the stem you want to use for the cutting. This stem needs to be as thick as a pencil and as straight as possible. More importantly, it should be a ripe stem (preferably softwood), which means it is easy to snap with little effort.
Lastly, make sure it is a young stem. Stems from previous years are often old and don’t grow as fast, mainly if flowers have grown out of them. A young stem with only a few leaves should be ideal.
3. Make the Cut
After finding the stem to use for the job, cut it out. But make sure you cut it following these requirements:
- Preferably pick a clean & healthy stem before cutting (better if it doesn’t have flowers or rosehips)
- Re-check that it is a young stem before cutting (green and fleshy instead of woody.)
- It should be anywhere from 5 to 12 inches (depending on the type of cutting.)
- Grab the pruners and make the cut at a 45-degree angle (it boosts root growth.)
You should now have the stem to plant in your hands. Proceed to clean it up.
4. Clean & Dip the Cutting
Once you’ve cut the stem to plant, you should proceed to clean it away. This means getting rid of the leaves, rosehips, and other unnecessary parts of the cutting. Do this:
- You shouldn’t prune away all the leaves. We recommend leaving a set of two leaves for better growth. If you can forgive the old but healthy leaves, that would be even better. This concentrates the stem’s energy for rooting instead of producing leaves.
- Once the leaves and other parts are cut, you can proceed to dip the cutting in water. We recommend doing this right away, as you’ll encourage the cutting to stay moisturized.
- Leaving the stem cutting to rest for a day or two in the water should make it easier to cut later (in the preparation process below.)
5. Prepare the Mix for Rooting
With the stem resting in the cup of water, it’s time to prepare it for rooting. Here’s what to do:
- First, prepare a little mix of perlite with vermiculite and water. This is the mix that you will use for the stem to produce roots.
- Before doing so, cut the stem in the bottom part. Split the bottom of the cutting, so the stem grows roots faster. Only split about 2-4 inches of the stem. Leave the rest alone.
- Place everything in a jar or cup once again. Dip the split part of the cutting into the mix with water. Then leave the stem under the sun for a few weeks (usually 4 for the roots to appear.)
You should now wait for the cutting to root.
6. Apply the Rooting Hormone (Optional)
In case you want to boost the rooting process, using the rooting hormone will help you enormously. Here’s how to do this:
- Before dipping the cutting into the perlite mix with water, moist the split part of the cutting.
- When moist, grab the rooting hormone and pour some of it in this area (2 to 4 inches from the bottom up.)
- With the rooting area already dipped in the gel, powder, or liquid hormone, you can plant it back into the rooting jar/cup.
Once again, leave it to receive sufficient sun for a few weeks. The cutting will start rooting faster (this may reduce the rooting time by up to 2 weeks.) Once it feels sturdy in the rooting soil, it’s ready to transplant in regular soil.
7. Prepare the New Soil
After a few weeks, you should check the cutting in search of roots. When these roots have grown for an inch or so, it’s time to plant them in a rose soil mix.
But first, you have to prepare this soil mix. Here’s what we recommend doing:
- If you can get a rose soil mix directly, that would be ideal. Otherwise, mix a part of sand with garden soil plus compost (a third part of each.)
- You can add perlite or grit to the mix to make the soil moisture-oriented. Don’t add too much, as the soil should still drain well.
- Mix the soil until every material is well-distributed. Use a spade or similar hand tool for the job.
Once the soil is ready, you can proceed to plant almost right away.
8. Plant the Rooting Stem
With the stem rooting and soil waiting, you’ll have to grab the pot or space in the garden to plant.
This process is relatively easy. Follow these tips:
- If you’re using a pot, fill it up to about three fourths (75%) of its capacity with the soil. For gardens, just pour the soil mix in the area, digging beforehand to remove the unwanted soil.
- Once you have the pot or area in the garden ready, dig a 4-inch hole in the soil. This hole should be enough to host the entire rooting area of the stem.
- It is essential to open this hole wide enough so the roots can enter safely without breaking. You can pour more rooting hormone as well (so make sure the hole is broad enough that it doesn’t wipe the hormone.)
- If you’re planting several cuttings at once, separate them by 6 inches in pots and no less than 8 inches in gardens.
- Finish by filling the hole after inserting the stem. Compact the area a bit for the rose cutting to feel slightly sturdy.
You’re done planting the cutting. It’s time to let it grow.
9. Protect the Cutting While it Grows
Letting a rose cutting grow is not as easy as it seems. This is probably the most challenging step because the rose cuttings tend to be relatively fragile in the establishment period. To protect it while it grows, you’ll have to create a greenhouse (a small area covered from exterior factors.) Here’s what to do:
- You can use either a plastic bottle (large enough to fit the growing stem inside) or a plastic bag. Either way, the focus is to cover the cutting in the garden or pot to keep moisture inside.
- The bottle or bag should cover the stem entirely. We recommend leaving a small area open so you can pour water and the plant gets sufficient ventilation.
- If you’re using a plastic bag, make sure it doesn’t touch the leaves. This is to prevent stunted growth as well as infected leaves that don’t dry up.
- You can always use a small stake or twig inside the bag to keep it firm. This could also help to grow the stem with more stability.
This protection should help the cutting establish in the pot or new garden soil. A couple of weeks should be enough for the plant to feel sturdy and start growing new leaves.
10. Monitor & Nurture the Cutting
The plant is almost ready – but you still care for it. Here, we recommend doing the following:
- Either in pots or gardens, maintain the soil moist. Water at least once a day or whenever the soil starts to dry up. Don’t let it stay dry for long.
- Keep checking the stem consistently, tugging to see whether it feels firm. After a couple of weeks, the stem should be hard enough, so it doesn’t move at all.
- Add some fertilizer after a month. We recommend liquid fertilizer. Use it directly on the soil, so the plant keeps on feeding itself.
- The plant should receive sufficient sunlight a day. If you planted in pots, then it should be in a place where it receives at least 8 hours. It should be the same for a garden (get rid of plants that give too much shade.)
- After a month or two where new leaves start appearing, you can take the greenhouse off (bag or bottle.) The plant should thrive without any protection now.
There’s nothing else to add to its care. After a few months, depending on the season you planted in the first place, you should start seeing the new flowers coming out. If that’s the case, you’ve successfully grown a rose from cuttings.
Now that you know how to grow roses from cuttings, you’ll realize it’s not precisely the easiest of endeavors. But when you read a guide like ours above, the process will undoubtedly feel straightforward.
If you’re following our advice, make sure to read and re-read before starting. You should be well-aware of everything before you plant your roses and during the whole growing process.
As long as you follow our advice to the letter, your roses will thrive and bloom sooner than you expect. Without much further ado – put your hands to work now!