Utterly confused about rooting rose cuttings

aliska12000(Z5)June 5, 2006

I've read so many different methods, cut my bottles the wrong way, bought the wrong stuff, I guess, went and got some coir but it is for lining baskets and not shredded finely enough, tried to cut it up even got out the meat grinder, sticks in that, no time to order the right kind I found on the net.

It's time to get the cuttings I want now or I will have to try seeds or hardwood cuttings and would rather at least give it a try now.

I can put my bottles over them the way they are until I can save up enough with caps and cut them again the right way and replace.

What do you think of this? I got 16 oz plastic clear cups, dug a small drainage hole in the bottom. What should I use for medium? Peat and sand? Peat, vermiculate and pearlite (have some fresh in the garage). Potting soil? That stringy coir will not hold close enough to the cuttings. Maybe it will be ok if I soak it; don't know how it will soak up yet. Maybe I can mix in something else, but that might defeat the benefits of the coir.

I read which kind to choose and to take the spent blossom off, all petals should be gone, so don't worry about that.

Don't have the best rooting hormone now I see, it's called ferti-lome root stimulator, liquid form. Can't be running out and buying different right now.

I thought I would bury the plastic cups in the dirt and cover them with the bottles. Then I can easily dig them up later and it should conserve moisture better, maybe, maybe not.

Open to suggestions. Sometimes you just have to do the best you can with what you have to work with.

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woodroid(z9Tejas)

I know this sounds a little simple,but just stick some cuttings in the ground in a shady spot and put whats left of your bottles over the top and apply the root stimulator. I use Stay Green potting soil in cups and it works great. I put four or five cups in a 5 gal. pot filled with mulch or whatever is handy, and the ones in the ground do just as well. The soil where I stick them is mostly clay and they don't care. Pure sand works good but when trying to repot them the sand in the cups falls apart and takes a lot of feeder roots with it. Try different methods till you find one you like. They all work if you don't let the cutting dry out.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2006 at 10:33PM
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madspinner(z7 WA skagit)

I agree, I think folks make it too complicated. Most roses root pretty easily.

I've just been sticking my cuttings in gallon pots of sandy garden soil. I've been using a powdered rooting hormone (Mostly. When I can't find it, I do without) and just sticking two cuttings per pot. I keep them in a spot where I will remember to water, and where they get a little afternoon shade so they don't fry or dry out too quickly.

Last year was my second year of rooting this way. I've got just about 20 new roses that made it. Granted, I started more like 30 varieties, but I still think that that was pretty good for only my second shot.

Don't stress about it too much. Make do with what you have and try it out. Maybe even try two diffrent ways and see which you like better. You can always try again next year if things don't work out.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2006 at 5:54AM
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aliska12000(Z5)

Thank you for the responses AND the encouragement. Since it is the easiest, I think I'll just try Canadian Gold fresh potting soil I have and maybe a couple with soaked coir and see what happens. There are only two varieties of roses I'm concerned with now. I'll dip the prepared cuttings in water, then full-strengh ferti-loam, shake the excess off, and plunge it into the soil.

Hope to get the cuttings later this afternoon. It has just rained and is overcast, and today should be a good day for it.

My old aunt who has now passed on told me they used to press a ball of clay around the cutting, bury it in the ground, and put a mason jar over it. But now I've read the risks of any jar and too much sun. I'll see what happens.

I'll start soaking some of the coir I do have and see what happens with that, too. If it looks like it will clump up better and not be so springy, I'll do a couple in that.

I can't bother to dig out a cold frame, but I saw one link where the guy had put an old screen over the bottles. I have old screens and a couple chunks of rock handy, and will try that. If it seems unstable, I'll try to think of something else.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2006 at 11:02AM
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mike_in_new_orleans(9a/ coastal LA)

This response may be a bit late, so I wish you well with the bottle method. I think if your outdoor conditions are good --e.g. no direct sun but enough difuse sunlight, not too hot (which is my problem here)you'll probably be o.k. as the others have said above. But, in case this attempt fails on you, here's my 2 cents' worth. I have had very poor success rates with cups or bottles placed over cuttings in the ground. The reason is that it's too hard to control the humidity/moisture level, and temperatures tend to get very hot here. I've had maybe a 10% success rate that way.

By far my best success (about 75 to 80%) comes from the gallon zip-loc bag method indoors. I stick 2 inches deep "soilless" (meaning no sand, clay, or loam in it) potting soil in the bag. Spray water with a spray bottle and mix it gently with my hand until it sticks together but no water pools in the bottom. Re-cut the cuttings under water so that there is a healthy, clean and hydrated stem cut; snap off all but the top 2 leaflets, dip lightly in root-tone, press into the soil 2 to 4 stems per bag depending on their size) and place in a north facing window. I check every couple of days to make sure the bag is still sealed and upright. If the window gets any direct sun at any point in the day, as mine do early in the morning, I found that taping thin layers of white facial tissue to the window blocks the direct sun but still lets in the light. Sometimes the leaves yellow and drop, but don't despair; as long as the stem is still green it's fine. Just carefully remove any fallen leaves to discourage mildew, and re-seal the bag. In 5 to 7 weeks I almost always see roots formed. Then I pot them and find a fully shady spot for them outdoors for a week or so to help them acclimate. This has worked consistently for me. I hope this is a helpful plan B for you. Happy rooting!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2006 at 6:16PM
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aliska12000(Z5)

Thank you for your response, better late than never. I've lost all my cuttings but one of the smaller pink rose, and have about 5 that may root of the large rambler. I never covered them with bottles because I didn't want the leaves touching the sides and didn't want to cut any more off, planted 16-oz plastic cups with drainage holes I cut in them in the soil on the east side of the house which doesn't get a full morning of sun, laid an old wooden screen against the house to screen the morning sun a bit.

The pink rose just has too short greenwood to root, so I will go for some hardwood cuttings or see if it sets some seed. One may make it.

I read about the ziplock bag method and may try that the next time or the coir, can't decide. I will use a north window, the first ones I tried a couple years ago I put in the west window thinking they needed sun. They didn't like it and rotted.

Thanks for the help. I wanted to get at least one plant of each before fall, but will be happy if any survive. It's been since the 7th of June. All the ones I put directly in the ground have shrivelled up even though I watered them, tried not to overdo that.

When I get some fresh cuttings, I will try to pick up some fresh powdered rooting hormone; I used some liquid that is 2 or 3 years old.

I tried to keep my cuttings separate and cups color coded, but I may have gotten one or two mixed up.

You know, I've been thinking the pioneer women probably didn't go to all this fuss with their roses. I wonder how they traded plants and took them on journeys, surely not all used the mason jar method. I doubt they had rooting hormone either. They may have propagated by suckers and potted them up or something. I don't know.

I also wonder if they just dug up a large piece of root and planted that and waited through the winter.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2006 at 7:32PM
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countrygirl_sc

Aliska, I usually try to start 10 of each rose and hope to get one or two rooted. I have better luck with some and no luck at all with some. I usually have no luck with the zip lock bags so have created me a room in the basement. I use a rectangular Rubbermaid bin, put the cuttings in damp soil in the clear plastic cups so I can see when there are roots. Then cover the bin with plexiglas under a grow light. Spritz them when they look like they are drying out with water with a little bit of ivory dish detergent, baking soda, and Miracle Gro for roses. I currently have rooted in the cups: 17 Westerlands, a few Sombreuils, a few of an old fashioned unknown yellow climber, a few of an unknown red that a friend gave me, and about a dozen of Fragrant Memory. This is out of 90 that I started. That seems to be about 50%. LOL!

My grandmother and other ladies of her generation that I knew used plain sand to start their rose cuttings. And some people use it today.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 12:57PM
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aliska12000(Z5)

It's three weeks today. I will not use this method again. The cuttings from the big bush aren't all dead yet, most of the ones from the smaller one are, but as long as there is still a green stem, I'm not going to give up completely.

I won't do this method again, but I don't have any lights to grow under, one more thing to buy. Maybe I should have spritzed them outside three times a day. Next time I will use a different rooting medium, and I might try a couple bags in my north window but that method (and it uses gallon ziplock bags and potting soil) seems like a lot of fuss. I could put up more shelving by that window, rather rig up something outside under that north window, old screen as a lean to and cover with heavy clear plastic maybe.

I really wanted to find a method to root them outside so I don't have to bother with hardening them off (as much), if at all possible.

It's kind of late to try another batch of soft cuttings, so I will have to wait until next year. I will try to gather some seeds from both bushes I'm especially interested in and try a simpler method I read about with those, probably not reliable. If it's simple, it's probably too good to be true.

Thank you for sharing your success story. If any of these do happen to root, I will have to figure out a simple cold frame for winter.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 8:37PM
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elks(US5 Can6)

You might try this method if you haven't already.
Steve

Here is a link that might be useful: Rootings Cuttings Outside in Zone 5

    Bookmark   June 29, 2006 at 5:12AM
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madspinner(z7 WA skagit)

I havn't used potting soil in the past because it dries out so fast. The sandy soil kept more moisture in, but seemed to let the roots take better than my native soil.

I've done cuttings in the fall or winter here... they seem to root even better than in the spring. I don't know if it is too cold for you to do that? Do folks do fall cuttings there? The main reason I do so many cuttings in spring, is that I can find the roses blooming along the sides of the road this time of year... and it is harder in the fall or winter. But if this batch doesn't root, I'll go get some more cuttings in early fall/late summer to try again. One rose I keep trying this is the 3rd time I've tried to root. Others root the very first try! It is all an adventure.

I think the most important thing is for the soil not to dry out. That, and roses with smoother stems seem to root more easily. And if it is anything that suckers, take a sucker instead of a cutting. Even if you rip it out of the soil with your hands and it has almost no roots... it will likely manage to survive. I do this whenever possible with roses growing in ditches. I don't usually have anything to dig with in my car, so I just pull really hard and hope I get some roots. I've had almost every one of those survive.

Don't be discouraged. The first year I was serious about cuttings, most of mine died. The second year I had a much bigger percentage live. This year, I am pessamistic so far, as we have had some rather hot weather and I think that even watering every day and having them in shade that they are going to dry up. I'll try any that don't show signs of life again in the fall.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2006 at 7:22AM
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madspinner(z7 WA skagit)

I forgot to mention, that I take much bigger cuttings than most people. I usually use at least a foot long cutting, not the tiny things some people use. Maybe this makes a diffrence outside?

I did try some small cuttings this year that someone gave me and I tried her meathod too. She said to put them in pots with potting soil (which I have not used) water well, put them in a white garbage bag sitting up on something, tie up the bag, put it in the shade, and don't open it for 8 weeks. I am forbidden to peek. We will see how this goes. I'm curious if this will work, but she says she has great success.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2006 at 7:27AM
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