Rose propagation: my method

(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

First step is the coir, since it takes the longest.

Coir is shredded coconut fiber and is the medium that professional rose growers use. It can be found in the pet stores(sold as lizard bedding), or in nicer, or more specialty nurseries.

It is neutral: not on the acidic side or the alkaline side. (Sphagnum moss is on the acidic side, and so is peat moss.)

It is also environmentally friendly, whereas there is concern over moss...

It is wonderful because it holds moisture, but also allows air to the roots. The cuttings need 50% air, and 50% moistue. (This is why the rose cloning machines are so effective.)

Remove the coir brick from its package and soak in really hot tap water. It doesn't have to be hot, but the hotter it is, the faster it will be absorbed by the coir. I've had hot water absorbed in as little as an hour, whereas cold water has taken as long as over night...

This message was edited Nov 12, 2005 12:54 PM

Thumbnail by seedpicker_TX
(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

When the compressed coir has absorbed the water and is fully expanded, it will grow to several times its original size...

This message was edited Nov 12, 2005 12:55 PM

Thumbnail by seedpicker_TX
(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

Once the coir has finished soaking up the water, it is time to break it apart. I do this by rubbing pieces of it between my hands to break it down into small crumbles.
When you are finished it will be really fluffy, and resemble "spongy" coffee grounds.

This message was edited Nov 12, 2005 12:58 PM

Thumbnail by seedpicker_TX
(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

The coir is not sterile medium. In fact, once I found a large "compressed beetle" in the coir. Ick!

It is best to rinse the coir in a large strainer, then squeeze out the extra moisture, when you are finished rinsing it. If you can squeeze the coir, and it drips, it is too wet...

Place the coir in a baking bag. (These are usually sold on the aisle with the saran wrap and paper plates). They are the bags that are designed to use to cook a turkey.

Place in a flat, glass cooking dish, and be sure no part of the bag touches any part of the oven(except for the glass dish, of course).

Stick a meat thermometer in the bag( I just stab it through the bag and into the center of the coir...don't stab it all the way to the bottom to where it touches the pan. Make sure it is centered in the coir.)

Cook until the temperature reaches 160-170 for pateurized soil, and over 200 for sterile soil. Pasteurized is enough to kill mold spores and fungus, but still retain some beneficial nutrients. Sterile is sterile, lol...

This message was edited Nov 12, 2005 1:05 PM

Thumbnail by seedpicker_TX
(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

While the coir is soaking and then baking, you can prepare your rose cuttings.

First prepare a warm bucket of water before you get your cuttings. Make sure the water is as hot as you can comfortably still hold your hand under, but not hot enough to jerk your hand back.
Put a few drops, (to a whole capful), of superthirve in the water. (Superthirve is concentrated liquid vitamins, and hormone).

When you cut your rose cuttings, drop them immediately into the warm water. The warmth of the water expands the tubules inside the stem(not sure if that is the correct term) and causes them to not only stay open, but to actually expand. Their "first drink" of this water, will cause them to absorb extra hormones.

The perfect cutting, is usually a tip cutting 6-10 iches long, with an expired bloom. This cutting will usually have around 5-7 leaf sets. The tips of a rose bush are typically loaded with the most hormone, and root the best. An expired bloom indicates that the cutting is aged enough. Floppy soft green tip cuttings will not work. They are too new, and will wilt and die quickly.

Below is an example of a perfect cutting.

Once you've gathered your cuttings(if you are doing multiple types, you may want to rubber band them together, and tag them, to keep them straight as you go...) then remove all the leaves, and the expired blooms.

This message was edited Nov 12, 2005 1:30 PM

Thumbnail by seedpicker_TX
(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

Not only do you want a matured tip cutting, but you also want to make your cut at the "heel".
Below is a picture of a heel. It is the area where the stem connects to anther stem, and has these brown rings around it...

This message was edited Nov 12, 2005 1:33 PM

Thumbnail by seedpicker_TX
(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

Now that you've taken your cuttings and removed all the leaves, you will want to re-cut your cuttings under water. Be sure to wipe your snips down with alcohol.

This message was edited Nov 12, 2005 1:35 PM

Thumbnail by seedpicker_TX
(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

When you cut your stems outside, they were exposed to a few seconds of air between the time it took you to cut it, and the time it was dropped in the water...

The next step is to recut all your cuttings under water. Try to use your hormone water for this, if it is still warm. If not, make some new hormone water.

If a stems is cut in the air, many of the tubules can seal themselves within a second. Cutting under water makes sure that the stem does not seal off any tubules, and retains the maximum ability to absorb water and nutrients.

This message was edited Nov 12, 2005 1:40 PM

Thumbnail by seedpicker_TX
(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

Now, your cuttings are ready, but don't stick them in the coir, yet. They should be disinfected with bleach. This is a very important step, and one that many people will want to skip.

Do not skip this step!

The number one cause of a rose rooting failure, is mold or fungus. Mold spores are microscopic, and are often times laying dormant on your cuttings. Once exposed to moisture, (especially warmth AND moisture), they "sprout" and begin to grow. They feed on your cutting. They can grow at a much faster rate than your poor little cutting can produce roots. The mold will destroy the cutting before it has a chance to produce roots. The cuttings will begin to blacken, and the black will continue(from the bottom up) until they've killed the cutting(s).

Fill the sink half full of water and add a couple of capfuls of bleach. You want the ratio to be about 10 percent bleach to 90 percent water. (I didn't measure...I just "guesstimated".)

The first time I ever tried this, I thought the rose cuttings would disolve and disintegrate before my eyes!, lol...they ended up being just fine, and were the first batch I've ever had 100 % germination on. I am a firm believer in bleaching the cuttings!

Some people suggest storing the cuttings in the fridge, or collecting the cuttings after the first freeze. The thought on this is that the mold spores will go into dormancy and by the time they wake up the rose will be well rooted. I've tried this, and "my mold" woke up way before the rose cuttings were ready. They were rooted, but not enough, and still all died from mold. Bleaching is still the best way(in my opinion).


This message was edited Nov 12, 2005 3:06 PM

This message was edited Jan 16, 2008 6:58 AM

Thumbnail by seedpicker_TX
(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

Once the cuttings have soaked (I soak mine for about 30 minutes to an hour), rinse them well.

The next step is to score the bottom of the cuttings. The more "injured" surface area of the cutting, the more surface area that will produce callous. The more callous, the more roots. If there are large thorns in this area, break them off. The spot where the thorn was, is another area that can form a callous, and subsequently roots.

Take your alcohol wiped sharp snips, and score the bottom of the rose. Typically you want this to be about an inch long, and depending on the diameter of the cutting, you can make two or three vertical scores.

This message was edited Nov 12, 2005 3:11 PM

This message was edited Jan 15, 2013 9:26 AM

Thumbnail by seedpicker_TX
(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

finished score

I wanted to step in here and edit this. I've recently read in a propagation book, that scoring deeper than the cambium layer(that light lime green layer, just under the outside layer, and before you get to the very inner white part) can cause the cutting to not root, but rot.

Just wanted to clarify that, and say it is best to not score too deeply...just a light scratch to the green part, but not all the way to the white.

This message was edited Sep 1, 2006 8:11 PM

Thumbnail by seedpicker_TX
(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

Immediately dip the cutting into your rooting hormone. Some come as powders, others as gels. The important thing is to buy the strongest you can find.

Tap off the extra powder, by tapping the cutting so that the excess powder is tapped off(and back into the bottle...this should not contaminate the powder, since you've just sterilized your cuttings...).



This message was edited Nov 12, 2005 3:14 PM

Thumbnail by seedpicker_TX
(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

Now, take your powdered cutting and stick it into your coir. It is very similar to sticking candles in a birthday cake. You don't want to stick them too far into the coir...just enough to bury the scored part, and also enough to keep them from falling over.

I use these clear pots, but only recently found these. For years, I've just used old milk cartons and water bottles. (By the way, the fiji make great bottles, since they are so smooth. The ribbed ozarka bottles hold the coir too well, and when it is time to remove the cuttings, they don't slide out as well, and many roots can easily be torn...)

The clear part is key. That way you can peek, without disturbing the cuttings. I've killed many a cutting, by stressing it too much with my daily peeking! lol...this way they can stay put, but you can still see. When the white roots start hitting the container, you'll know they are rooted. Also, when new leaves begin to appear, they are usually rooted, also.

If your cuttings are producing new leaves, but no roots, pinch them back! This will cause a stress signal in the cutting and reverse the energy(reversing it back to the root end, instead of being wasted on new growth). If the cuttings are allowed to produce new growth, while they don't have any roots, they have no way of feeding these leaves, and will spend all their energy on the new leaves, and consequently die.

This message was edited Nov 12, 2005 3:21 PM

Thumbnail by seedpicker_TX
(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

This is a little trick I learned from a rose book. Glue the tops of the cuttings where you've had to make a snip. This will seal the cuttings and help keep the cutting from drying out.

Elmers glue works really well for this, and is clear and waterproof, once it dries. This also works well for any pruning. I've even used when pruning limbs and trees.



This message was edited Nov 12, 2005 3:24 PM

Thumbnail by seedpicker_TX
(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

This is one of the very last steps, and again, a very important step that you might want to skip...but don't!

I learned this from a guy who runs a VERY successful nursery and who has been in the business for years.

Top your final product with a half inch, to inch, of chick grit. Chick grit is nothing more than ground up oyster shells. They prevent fungus knats. Second to mold, fungus knats are sure death to cuttings. The knats love moist soil and will lay their eggs in the soil. The eggs hatch and the larvae eat roots!

Topping with the grit will do two things. It will keep the surface dry and sharp. This is very unattractive to knats, who like soft moist soil. Secondly, it will create a barrier between the soft, moist coir...and the potential knat.

It only takes one nasty knat to ruin a batch of cuttings...trust me, I know...

Some people suggest sand, but sand particles are so small, that although they dry quicker than soil, it can still remain wet for several days, and knats don't seem to be deterred a bit. Plus, it is not sharp to them, like the oyster shells are...I don't recommend sand as a topping...

Besides, chick grit is so cheap, there is no excuse not to use it. I once held off trying it, because I thought ..."if I top it, I'll never know if it needs water or not, because I won't be albe to see...". With the clear container, you don't have to worry about that. You can see right into the container, and know if it needs moisture, or not, without leaving the surface of your coir exposed to any knat that happens to find it...

Finally, some people cover the container at this point with a clear plastic bag, fastened with a large rubber band. Sometimes I do this,...sometimes I don't.

Generally, in the Spring I don't, and in the Fall I do.

In the Spring it is cold and damp. Usually it is cold enough to hasten the mold spores, and the air is pretty humid from all the Spring rain.

In the Fall, same thing, but late Fall, when I do this in the greenhouse, it is much drier, warmer air. In order for the cuttings and or, coir, to not dry out too fast, I seal it.

I encourage you to experiment and see what works best for you. Treat losses as learning experiences, and try not to let them discourage you. I"ve killed many more cuttings than I've rooted! lol...but, every time they root, it makes it all worth it!
-T



This message was edited Nov 12, 2005 3:39 PM

Thumbnail by seedpicker_TX
Corte Madera, CA

awesome, t. glad you have decided to post this for us.

thank you!

Vancouver, WA(Zone 8b)

Oh my word...what a great job you did!! Thank-you for taking the time to put that together....I am going to go read it again....and then I will, undoubtabley, have a few questions - you know me...lots of questions..LOL! I always thought it was a really complicated, difficult procedure....it seems like something anyone could do - with some prep & carefull following of directions.

Thank-you again!! Can this be done now?? Or better done in spring or summer?? I really want to try it now??

Jamie

East Texas, United States(Zone 8a)

seedpiker, this is wonderful. questions:

when you say bleach, do you mean dunk the cutting in the bleach?

how long before I can tell that cuttings are taking?

can I place cuttings in a shaded area outdoors?

can I do it right now? my roses are so beautiful right now, seems like I could find cuttings for this project

can I root cuttings from a flower my neighbor gave me? It's from her garden, and the cuttings looks like it qualifies under your criteria. It is a John F Kennedy

where do I find grit? is there an alternative material to use?

thank you sooooo much for posting this. Seems very easy to follow.

This message was edited Nov 12, 2005 1:50 PM

Mount Angel, OR(Zone 8a)

Taylor, I have printed this out ; it is outstanding. Very comprehensive and so much valuable information. I have seen the roots of your cuttings and it is phenemonal.

What strength of bleach solution are you using to disinfect the cuttings?

Thanks a million, Taylor.

:)) :) Joann

(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

Moonglow-
You are welcome..., I hope this can help encourage more people to try rooting roses.

Jamie-- Spring and Fall are the very best time to do this, although I've had good, but not great success, mid-summer.

Spring is the absolute very best time, because the hormone content in the stems is the highest, but Fall is a very good time, too. Right now is a perfect time to try this.

VossnerI think you posted those questions while I was still editing in my descriptions, but I'll try to re-answer, anyway, in case I was not clear enough on some things...

Quoting:
when you say bleach, do you mean dunk the cutting in the bleach?

Yes, but not full strength. About a cup, or two to a five gallon bucket(that is if you are doing a bunch of cuttings), or a couples of "glugs" from the container if you are just doing a small amount, like I did in the sink. It doesn't have to be too specific, so don't worry about getting out the teaspoons, or measuring cups...

Quoting:
how long before I can tell that cuttings are taking?

They can take 2-3 weeks, or longer, depending upon several factors. Temperature, time of year, vigor and health of the rose you took the cuttings from, etc. Some of mine have taken up to 3 months!

You'll know when they are rooted when you give a slight, gentle tug on the cutting, and you feel resistance. Better yet, just watch the container, and watch for the white roots...

Quoting:
can I place cuttings in a shaded area outdoors?

Yes, you can place them somewhere where they get really bright diffused light, and even maybe an hour of direct sunlight. Do not put them in ANY direct sunlight, however, if you cover with a bag. It will heat way too hot and suffocate and kill the cuttings.

I've rooted many a cutting on the back porch step of the north side of my house...several of my friends place them under a tree...

Quoting:
can I do it right now? my roses are so beautiful right now, seems like I could find cuttings for this project

Absolutely! This is a great time to tidy up your rose bushes for the winter, and also have something to play with for the winter. Don't forget the glue, to top the cuts. This allows you to cut much closer, than if you didn't use glue. I've had 0% dieback when I've used the glue on cuts. Prior to that I had to cut higher, anticipating the dieback of a half inch, or so...

Quoting:
can I root cuttings from a flower my neighbor gave me? It's from her garden, and the cuttings looks like it qualifies under your criteria. It is a John F Kennedy

Yes, but since you've probably had it in a vase of plain water for a few days, or so, you will want to recut under hormone water and bleach soak the cuttings. Microscopic Bacteria have probably already formed in your vase water and are tube cloggers, for sure! (that is why you are always supposed to change your flower water daily...)

Quoting:
where do I find grit? is there an alternative material to use?

Chick grit can be found at the feed store for cheap. An alternative material would be sand, but I don't recommend it. It stays wet much longer than the chick grit, and the particles are much finer and softer. Knats do not seem to deterred by it, and in order for it to be effective,you'd have to put it on really thick. I've tried it really thick, and it cakes up...really just recommend the chick grit...perlite seems like it would work well, but adds too much flouride to the coir...especially if your water already has flouride added...

Quoting:
thank you sooooo much for posting this. Seems very easy to follow.

You are very welcome!
;0)

This message was edited Nov 12, 2005 1:50 PM

(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

Joann-
I think I answered your question while I was typing in response to Vossner's question, but let me know if it is still unclear.
Thanks
-T

Vancouver, WA(Zone 8b)

T~~

I am so impressed that you took all the time you did to do this for us! I will be trying this very soon, as in buying stuff today, and trying it tomorrow! If you just did yours in the pics - we can compare our progress - and keep in touch to see hoe they are doing. If others are doing some as well we can have a "Rose rooting" party (thread..LOL) - just to see how some of us first-timers are doin' :o}

I am so excited to try this..Thanks again!!

Jamie

(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

Jamie-
Comparison would be GREAT! And, fun!

I'd love it if this spawned some new propagators out there!

At the beginning of winter every year, I am tempted to want to gather everyone around and invite them to join my "pity party", lol...I just hate winter...

But, when you have fun stuff to do, it can become a "tea party"(as in hybrid tea,... har, har, har...)
-T

Mount Angel, OR(Zone 8a)

Next spring, we could have all sorts of roses to swap, who knows we may not need J and P or Heirloom anymore, LOL Between us all we have lots of selections, are you reading any of this Elaine? You are the gal with such a huge selection. I guess I will just have to try a few more this fall.

Taylor, I wonder if you think bottom heat for the cuttings would speed the process up. I have a heating cable in a sand bed in an unheated greenhouse I could fire up.

(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

I tried that once, and it didn't work for me. I set the mat on "low" but it still got too hot, I guess...
The greenhouse was already pretty warm, so maybe it just was overkill and got too hot. It probably would have had better results if the bottom heat was used on roses that were OUTside for the winter, instead of a warm greenhouse...
I'm not saying don't use a heat pad. I'm just saying it didn't work for me (the one and only time I tried it...)

Why don't you experiment, and try some on it, and some not, and tell us what happens?
-T

East Texas, United States(Zone 8a)

seedpicker. thank you so much. I will start a thread when I get this project going.

East Texas, United States(Zone 8a)

oops I thought of more questions:
do the containers have drain holes?
do you let choir go totally dry before rewatering?

(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

Yes, these containers have drain holes in the bottom. If I use a milk jug bottom, or a water bottle with the top cut off, I stab a few holes in the bottom with a steak knife.

No, it should never completely dry out. I do wait until it looks on the dry side, (just on the brink of being dry), but not completely dried out.

Be sure to fill your container with coir and then tap the container on the counter to settle the coir. Do not actually tamp the coir with your hand. It will compress too much, and reduce the air content. It needs to remain somewhat fluffy and "breathable"...

East Texas, United States(Zone 8a)

gotcha.

Vancouver, WA(Zone 8b)

I just got home from buying all the stuff for the "Tea" party...LOL So, as I start laying things out, what do I find that I have forgotten?? Only something you have to have for the first couple steps....THE TURKEY COOKING BAG>>>> :o( So now I have to wait to start until tomorrow!! Oh darn!!

But a funny thing happened at the Nursery while I was buying this stuff....several people were standing nearby looking at bulbs, evergreens, fertilizers and sprays, etc....as I was asking the guy helping me some questions. After he left they came up and started asking me all sorts of questions about propagating roses......because I seemed so "knowledgeable" one man said. Ha-ha - if they only knew, actually I gave my friend (that's you seedpicker... LOL!) full credit and showed them the printed copy of your wonderful thread.....most of them said they were going to try it, and 4 of the 6 or 7 people there were interested in joining Dave's Garden, so I gave them the web site address....all because of this great thread you have started here....isn't that cool?? :o}

So, I will start tomorrow...I did get the coir soaking though...atleast I could do that much

J

Langley, BC, BC(Zone 8b)

thanks from me too Seedpicker; I have only ever done outdoor cuttings; where nature does most of the work. This seems more fun, since you can keep your eye on the little devils in your garden downtime!!!

Love the step by step and the great illustrative pics!!!
m

(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

Jamie-
Isn't that just the way things always go?! lol...it never fails I make a list, a very detailed list, for the store. Not five minutes after I get home I realize something else, I needed, lol...

Wow, that is pretty neat that they all walked over to you! Hope we get some more members, and some more propagators. :0)

hortensia-you are very welcome. I hope it works well for you. We all need something garden-y to keep us busy in the winter, don't we?
-T

Vancouver, WA(Zone 8b)

T ~

It was poring rain, I mean buckets, so we were all forced into the small little indoor area, and since they were having a HUGE perennial and shrub sale - it was packed! Put 30-40 + gardeners in a nursery, and things start to happen...LOL It was such a kick - I had to laugh at the irony of people asking me about something that I have never done! I was glad I had stuck your thread that I had printed for my garden journal, in my big purse...came in handy - that's for sure...:-)

I am off to start my first batch of coir a cookin'...and to mix warm/hot water and superthrive....and alcohol my cutters.......so many things to remember....I will post how it went later today!!! With pics, so you can tell me if they look OK :-)

Jam

(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

Jamie-
Sounds like you drew a crowd!...hope you got some neat stuff on sale, too.

I meant to tell you in the last post, that you do not HAVE to use a cooking bag. I've cooked coir(as well as potting soil) before, in nothing more than a glass dish. It really made the house smell funky.

Then I tried covering the coir (or dirt, depending upon what I'm doing) with a glass lid...better, but still made the house smell, and hubby complained(again, lol).

I then tried the cooking bags hoping they'd contain the smell better, and to persuade him to break his new rule of "no more cooking dirt in the house".

It worked!

The house didn't smell like something weird, and it is also nice to have your coir, bagged. That way it stays good in the bag, and you can pull some out, as you need it, then reseal it.

(When the coir is cooked, and cooled, I take the thermometer out, and tape over the thermometer hole, to keep it sealed.) Those little ties that come with the turkey bags are easy to open and reseal.

Vancouver, WA(Zone 8b)

Good to know that in a pinch, you don't have to have a bag -- I actually made an envolpoe (LARGE) out of foil....and it worked great!! It then went into the containers and some large zip-lock bags! I am now off to take the cuttings.....

This is soo fun!!
Jamie

Vancouver, WA(Zone 8b)

Taylor ~~

I am off to the Feed & Seed to get Chick Grit.....and then I am going to take some pics and start a Tea Party thread....so we can all talk and post about our cuttings....Hybrid Tea Party....that was funny by the way!! :-)

It's goin' great so far.....

Jamie

North Vancouver, BC(Zone 8a)

picker............and to think that our forebearers just cut them, Willy-Nilly, poked a hole in the soil, and placed a jar overtop, ????? These instructions, are the best ones I have heard in over 28yrs! The bit about the fungal problems setting in is the most crucial of all!! congrats..........E(aka Ramblin' Rose)

Mount Angel, OR(Zone 8a)

Elaine, it is amazing how our forebears did exactly as you describe, my particular forebear was a mother in law. She had wonderful luck getting new roses that way. I could tell a really sweet story of such a rose.

North Vancouver, BC(Zone 8a)

Joann............go for it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Grandview, TX(Zone 8b)

Seedpicker_TX that was an absolutely fabulous leason on how to root roses. You sure have inspired me to give it a try. Plano, hu? I'm a Johnson County resident, about 100 miles southwest from you, but visit Plano often (Brother's family). Would love to meet up with you some day to talk roses if you're interested. Us Johnson and Tarrant county gardeners get together every now and again to pick each other's brain, it would be fun to gather the Dallas area together to share ideas. Just thinking out loud.

Post a Reply to this Thread

You must log in and subscribe to Dave's Garden to post in this thread.
BACK TO TOP