best time for starting rose cuttings

jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))August 26, 2007

My Blaze died but came up from the root stock as a single white which blooms for 1 day. :(

In a nearby cemetery, there is an amazing shrub rose with gorgeous double blooms, and the plant must be at least 80 years old, with trunks several inches in diameter. Obviously it is tough as nails as it gets NO protection from the north wind where it is.

I would like to take several cuttings of the plant, and was thinking that early September might be a good time. Do you think it will have enough time to formulate good roots to get it through the winter if I started within a week's time?

I was thinking of cutting the top 8 inches of a bloom end: removing all but the last 2 leaves, using a semihardwood rooting hormone; starting them in potting medium with good drainage; and then placing them in a protected shady northern light area of the garden. Am I on the right track?

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it's fine even to begin now. Our current weather is mild enough to sustain it. summer is the normal time to start with semi-greenwood cuttings. End of summer/early fall for hardwood cuttings. I'm assuming this shrub rose isn't one of those that are drafted. If so, it's likely the top part of the plant won't be hardy. Have you done much propagations by cuttings before?

Although I don't have my propagation book with me, I believe you should get both semi and hardwood cuttings. Semi hardwood is speedier in rooting but you also have to think about winter and will it root enough to survive the climate. Hardwood cuttings take longer to root but will be able to withstand winter's climate.

You understand your cuttings must be overwintered outside and therefore if you have a coldframe, (heavily mulched) this would provide the ideal propagation environment.

Your methodology looks sound. Make sure you have a good 8 inch cutting. I normally cut the bottom on an angle and also scrape the semi green or woody layer off to reveal the green underside. And this I dip into the rooting hormone mixture.

If the propagation book states anything else different, I will inform you.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 9:29AM
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Hi Jroot,

Not sure if this will be much help or not.

I took cuttings from my John Davis explorer rose around the end of July...left many leaves on the top of the branch, stripped off the rest of the leaves...then re-cut end on a diagonal. Then just put in a one gallon pot....of garden soil. I hope to get them planted in the garden this weekend. They rooted and are looking good so I hope they will winter. They will be protected with straw this winter.

If you are taking a few cuttings, maybe keep a couple indoors over the winter, either under lights or on a window sill....keeping them warm till they root. I start mini roses from new plants in Feb/March each year, indoors.

Good Luck,


    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 2:37PM
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A couple of tips after making many rose cuttings.

Use 1/3 perlite, 1/3 clean sand and 1/3 finely screened peat moss. Water thoroughly before use (soak).

Use a rose branch which has (recently) had a good bloom on it. Cut off the seed head.

Cover your pots with large zip loc bags supported by a stick in the middle. This will act like a greenhouse and help keep the moisture in.

Try and keep the cuttings out of the hottest parts of your yard, afternoon shade is best.

Good luck,

Here is a link that might be useful: Our website

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 3:51PM
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Well I promised to do an update should my propagation book instruct something different. Interestingly hardwood cuttings are most successful for miniature, groundcover and species roses, as well as some older ramblers. Softwood cuttings, under controlled environment, are effective for some more difficult species and cultivars.

"For hardwood cuttings, prepare a slit trench in semi-shade about 8 inches deep and sprinkle with some sharp sand along the bottom to improve drainage. Gather suitable shoots, cutting each at an angle JUST ABOVE AN OUTWARD FACING BUD. place the shoots in damp newspapers or moss to prevent them from drying out before they can be prepared. Divide the stems in 9 INCHES lengths, removing all but the top 2 leaves, and cutting thorugh a bud at the base of each cutting. Dip the base of the cuttings first in water, then in hormone rooting powder and place in the trench 4 - 6 inches apart. Fill in the trench and hill it up so that the leaves are at soil level. Firm and water well. In dry conditions, protect with black plastic mulch. Rooted cuttings may be planted out in a year. Quicker results may be obtained by rooting 3 inch cuttings in rooting medium in 3 inch pot under cover, supplying bottom heat of approx. 21 C in a closed case. The cuttings should be ready for planting out by the following spring. This works for groundcovers and miniature roses.

Softwood cuttings -- should be taken from plants that have been encourage to produce young wood by pruning them hard in early spring, preferably in a protected environmenta such as a green house. The firs new shoots from garden plants may be used as cuttings. This simple technique does not work for hybrid or grandifloras however. Early to midspring is the best time to take softwood stem-tip cuttings, when new shoots are only 1 1/2 - 2 inch long and need no trimming. Internodal stem cuttings from longer soft shoots may be taken in the summer. Treat all cuttings with systemic fungicide to prevent rot and hormone rooting compound to aid rooting. When inserting the cuttings into the medium or rockwool, ensure they do not touch. Maintain high humidity around the cuttings by tenting them in a plastic bag or placing them in a closed case or mist unit. Provide bottom heat of about 27 C at first, then after four weeks or so, reduce to 18-20 C. Harden off the rooted cuttings by gradually reducing the time they are covered. Pot them singly into 3 inch pots in a soilless mix. A reasonably sized plant can be produced in this way in 2 months or so. cut back young plants by about 50 percent to ensure bushy growth. The prunings will provide good materials for further propagation --- this is a common practise in commercial nurseries"

So based on this description, I believe you need to take both hardwood and semi-hardwood cuttings (referred here as internodal cuttings). Try both methods to ensure higher success rates. I personally believe the hardwood cutting/trenching method is the least troubling of the 2 ways described.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 9:52PM
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jroot(5A Ont. Canada (near Guelph))

Thank you, Ianna, Sierra, mystery gardener, and Ianna again. Your comments are most appreciated.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 4:44PM
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I put information on how to root softwood cuttings in "My Page". You can email me if you have any questions.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2007 at 9:26AM
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halaeva(z6 Toronto)

The best time for all plants cutting is Spring.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 7:38PM
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bonniepunch(USDAz4 AgCanz5a)

actually many (possibly most) hardwood cuttings are best taken in the fall or winter, when the plant is dormant. Cuttings from green or actively growing plants are usually best taken in the spring, but there are many exceptions to that rule too.

Plant propagation can be amazingly easy or difficult, depending on what you're taking cuttings from. I have two books on the subject and I still fail a good percentage of the time :-)


    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 11:11AM
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