Taking rose cuttings can lead to a new crop of beautiful, successful roses. Like many other plants, it's important to choose a sunny spot for your rose cuttings that has moist soil. Cutting strong, healthy stems right above a set of leaves makes for great growing conditions, and dipping your cutting in a rooting hormone will help the roots take faster. By keeping your rose cuttings well hydrated, you'll have strong roots in no time.

Part 1
Part 1 of 3:

Taking a Cutting

  1. Once you’ve selected healthy rose stems, you’ll want to cut them so that they’re 6–8 inches (15–20 cm) long. Use pruning shears or a sharp knife to cut right above the first set of leaves at a 45 degree angle.[1]
  2. It’s very important for the rose cuttings to stay hydrated so that they don’t dry out before you plant them. Immediately after you take the rose cuttings, put them in a cup of room temperature water until you’re ready to transfer them. Ideally, you’ll be ready to put them into the soil right after you cut the stems.[5]
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  3. Since you cut the rose stem right above a set of leaves, those top leaves are the only ones you’ll want to keep. The rest of the leaves on the stem should be removed using the pruning shears or sharp scissors.[6]
  4. While this is optional, most people who take rose cuttings use some type of rooting hormone powder to help the cuttings take root. Make sure the base of the rose cutting is damp before dipping it into the powder. Gently tap off any excess powder.[7]
    • Wash your tools with rubbing alcohol again when you're done.
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Part 2
Part 2 of 3:

Choosing Healthy Soil and Stems

  1. Where you place your cuttings is especially important if you’re planning on growing them outdoors. Choose a spot that’s sunny but that’s not in direct sunlight — you don’t want them to dry out. Putting the rose cuttings in a pot or container is alright as well, just make sure the container is deep and wide enough for your rose cuttings to grow.[8]
    • If you have a sunny spot near a drain pipe or other water source, this is a great choice for ensuring the soil is always moist.
    • The container you’re using should be at least 6 inches (15 cm) deep.
  2. For rose cuttings, you want your soil to be made of a mixture of sand and horticultural grit (or perlite). The soil mixture should be able to drain, and be sure to cultivate it 4–6 inches (10–15 cm) deep beforehand.[9]
    • Cultivating the soil requires using a gardening tool, such as a mini spading fork or shovel, to break up the soil so that it's loose.
    • You can purchase sand and horticultural grit from your local home improvement store, or online. A bag of horticultural grit costs $5-$15, while a bag of sand will typically cost less but entirely depends on the size.
  3. When you go to take your rose cuttings, you want to look for stems that are long, strong, and healthy, meaning no withered or brown stems. It’s best to take softwood cuttings in the late spring or early summer so that they take root faster, so choose stems that are young and flexible.[10]
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Part 3
Part 3 of 3:

Growing Strong Roots

  1. Some people like to plant them during the cool months, while others wait until the early summer. Rose cuttings should be able to grow during any season. However, keep in mind that they'll need to be constantly watered, so if you plant them during the summer or live in a hot climate, they're going to dry out faster. For this reason, the rainy season might be your best option.
  2. Use a stick or pencil to make a hole in the soil for each of your rose cuttings that is 3–4 inches (7.6–10.2 cm) deep. You'll want to make sure the holes are wide enough that they won't wipe off the rooting hormone powder when you push the stems into the soil.[11]
  3. Gently push the cutting down several inches into the soil, or half the length of the cutting. Once the cutting is in place, pat down the soil around the stem.[12]
    • For planting multiple cuttings, place them in rows 6–8 inches (15–20 cm) apart.
  4. The most important thing for successful rose cuttings is that they remain moist. Water them frequently, several times a day if the weather is warm, and this will help the roots flourish.[13]
    • To ensure that the moisture remains in the soil, you can place a plastic bag around the cutting once you’ve watered it. This creates a mini greenhouse for the roses.
  5. Keep an eye on the cuttings to make sure they’re never dried out, as well as to make sure the cuttings are taking root. You can test to see if the roots are growing by gently tugging on the cuttings. You should be able to feel a slight resistance after a week or 2, meaning the roots are growing well.[14]
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Expert Q&A

  • Question
    How do you grow roses from cuttings?
    Maggie Moran
    Maggie Moran
    Home & Garden Specialist
    Maggie Moran is a Professional Gardener in Pennsylvania.
    Maggie Moran
    Home & Garden Specialist
    Expert Answer
    After taking a cutting from a bush, dip the root in rooting powder. Place the cutting in a moist perlite potting soil mixture. Cover the cutting with plastic to contain the moisture.
  • Question
    How do you take a cutting from a clematis?
    Maggie Moran
    Maggie Moran
    Home & Garden Specialist
    Maggie Moran is a Professional Gardener in Pennsylvania.
    Maggie Moran
    Home & Garden Specialist
    Expert Answer
    You select a leaf bud that is not too soft, but not too hard either. Typically, these can be mostly found in the mid-section of the plant.
  • Question
    How do you take a cutting from a shrub?
    Maggie Moran
    Maggie Moran
    Home & Garden Specialist
    Maggie Moran is a Professional Gardener in Pennsylvania.
    Maggie Moran
    Home & Garden Specialist
    Expert Answer
    Cut a stem that's 6-12 inches in length. Remove all the flowers or fruit and trim the stem to just below the bottom leaf. Once this is done, cut off half the leaf.
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Things You'll Need

  • Soil bed or container
  • Pruning shears or sharp knife
  • Rooting hormone powder
  • Sand and horticultural grit
  • Container of water
  • Pencil or stick
  • Plastic bag (optional)
  • Gardening tool (optional)

References

About This Article

Artemisia Nursery
Co-authored by:
Plant Nursery & Garden Shop
This article was co-authored by Artemisia Nursery. Artemisia Nursery is a retail plant nursery in Northeast Los Angeles specializing in California native plants. Artemisia Nursery is a worker-owned small business with plans to become a worker-owned cooperative. In addition to California native plants, Artemisia Nursery offers a selection of succulents, heirloom veggie and herb starts, house plants, pottery, and gardening tools and supplies. Drawing on the knowledge of the founders, Artemisia Nursery also offers consultations, designs, and installations. This article has been viewed 380,704 times.
80 votes - 89%
Co-authors: 6
Updated: January 9, 2024
Views: 380,704
Categories: Roses
Article SummaryX

To take rose cuttings, look for healthy, strong stems that are at least 8 inches (20 cm) long and from this current season's growth. Using garden shears, clip the stems at a 45-degree angle just above the first set of leaves. Then, clip the buds off and remove the remaining leaves from each stem. Next, prepare a raised bed that’s roughly 6 inches (15 cm) tall in a sunny part of your garden. If you don't have access to a raised bed, you can also plant your cuttings in a pot that's at least 6 inches deep. Fill the bed or pot with a mixture of sand and horticultural grit, then use a spade or trowel to dig a narrow trench or hole that's roughly 6 inches (15 cm) deep. Pour a thin layer of sharp sand into the bottom of the trench and place the cuttings vertically inside so that 2/3 of each cutting is hidden in the soil. To help your cuttings take root, you can dip the end of the cuttings into a rooting hormone before planting them. Leave at least 6 inches (15 cm) between each cutting to give them plenty of room to grow. Finally, fill in and tamper down the soil around the cuttings and water the soil bed thoroughly. Water the cuttings every day or so to keep the soil moist until the cuttings take root and bud, which can take up to 1 year. For more advice from our Horticulturalist reviewer, including tips on how to grow strong roots, keep reading!

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