Rose propagation: my method

Mount Angel, OR(Zone 8a)

My mother in law has always been a gardener(she is now 85) and she still puts around out in the garden and lives alone not far from me in Mt. Angel. I am out on the farm about 4 miles from her. She has been a great MIL, she knew my mom fairly well too. My parents lived on a small farm and Dad loved roses especially Tropicana and Chicago Peace. One time I brought my MIL a stem of Tropicana and she would always immediately put it under a jar to get it to root. And this particular time she was successful. A year later while recovering from a difficult miscarriage she brought me a long beautiful stemmed rose and you can guess what it was. Her rooted Tropicana plant had produced a beautiful long stemmed rose bloom. Simple but I have never forgotten that gesture. Of course I tried rooting that bloom but I was not so skilled as my sweet little MIL.


(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

Yes, it is certainly a lot simpler, and faster that way, and can yeild some wonderful results. I've done this many times, myself. Especially when out in the garden and I happen to break a stem while doing something. I'll just poke the stem below the mother plant and hope for the best, lol...sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

However, I've had much better results with this method I've posted, and in much higher numbers.

And, you are right, the mold and fungus are the biggest problem. I've had beautiful cuttings begin to root and leaf out, only to die weeks later and turn black or brown. That was before I bleached the cuttings and pasteurized, and topped the soil...

Joann-so nice you have a nice MIL. That is more the exception, than the rule, lol...
By the way, I have extra rooted tropicana if you are still wanting one...they are small, but rooted.

Txgrand- thank you! Hope it is helpful.
Drop me a note next time you head this way...

Mount Angel, OR(Zone 8a)

Thanks, Taylor, but I do have at least two old Tropicanas. I think they were actually plants my dad rooted and started. And he has been gone since 1982; so these plants are pretty sentimental knowing Dad started them. For his funeral I made the casket spray and it was Tropicana and blue delphiniums; it was quite pretty and my bros. and hubby were the pallbearers and they wore Tropicana buds. He died in June right in the height of rose season.

(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

That makes it so special that you did the flowers! I'll bet that was very pretty and that he'd have been proud.
Sounds like you have a LOT of gardeners in your family. How nice!

Mount Angel, OR(Zone 8a)

The only difficulty is that my parents both died when I was married for a very short time and never got to see any of the gardens I have now. I have gone a little more beserk since I have gotten older. Must be menopause, LOL But yes growing things is something I inherited from them both. They both really loved it.

Bandon, OR(Zone 9a)

I have followed seedpicker's basic steps for many successful rose rustling years. (Always ask permission and sometimes you will be blessed with more varieties than you expected.) Thanks much for the bleach step, I'm sure it will improve my average. One great hint I have been using for years -- instead of covering with plastic bags, cut the bottoms out of big soda bottles and throw the cap away. These clear covers keep temp and humidity uniform and allow air circulation without drafts. I very seldom have to water before the cutting has grown big enough to have to remove the bottle. My friends thought I was nuts when I started asking for empty bottles but now they are believers. And the covers last for years, just bleach before reusing.

Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

Got a question, maybe you answered it and I missed it.
The bleach step - do you douse your cuttings in 100% bleach or is it diluted with water?

Sorry if this is a repeat question

(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)


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...

You want at least a 10 to one ratio. 10 parts water to one part bleach. But, I always make mine a little bit stronger...

Palmyra, IL(Zone 5b)

I'm going to try some inside with your method and some outside as well with the old fashioned method.:-) The last cuttings I started inside turned black.:-(

Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

Thanks T
I appreciate the repeat.

Vancouver, WA(Zone 8b)

seedpicker ~~ I am now the proud mommy of 10 little barely rooting cuttings....and am so excited!! I am so glad you recommended the see-through containers, because I really would be tempted to peek every day - I can just start to see the tiniest white little itty-bitty "threads" on the ones nearest the edges....I am going to take pics and start a thread so we can all watch each others baby roses grow. I didn't want to start one if all mine turned black and died - now I know something is happening, I will start a thread tonight!

Thank-you so much for your wonderful step-by-step how to guide! I followed it to the letter - and will save the print-out I made in my garden journal for future is so well done!! My first bloom will be dedicated to you...LOL :-)

How long can they stay in the first container - when do you move to their own pot? And are they OK outside in frosty weather? I have mine in a sheltered spot and they get covered at night if we are expecting frost.....they get gentle morning sun.....sound good?? Any input on where they should live over the winter...I would appreciate....we don't freeze here much, maybe for a day or two....and rarely down to 10-15 degrees. Thanks for any input!!


East Texas, United States(Zone 8a)

Jamie,are you serious? that is SOOOOO exciting. I finally got the lizard bedding, foil pan, bake bag and have been saving clear litter bottles. Since I do this kind of work in the kitchen, I'm holding off til after T/giving. Don't want no coir in my turkey! LOL

what kind of roses did you start with?

this is very exciting. My neighbor has a lot of roses and we're going to do this together.

Palmyra, IL(Zone 5b)

Wow;When did you start them?

(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

That is so exciting! Isn't it??!!
Yes, take pictures. We all want to peek, too! lol...
You must have stuck some really close to the edge. Normally, I don't see roots until they are really well rooted.

And, please tell us what rose you tried! I hope it was 'flirtacious!', lol...

To answer your question, I leave them in the container for a bit, until they look like they've got enough new foliage and enough roots to support themselves. It is really easy to want to rush this step, but the longer you hold off in potting them up, the better your survival rate will be. If you rush potting them up, you can end up with high rate of losses...

I didn't realize you were rooting them outdoors. We are in the same zone, so I know it hasn't been too cold, but you won't want them out there much longer, especially during freezes. A mature rose can certainly take a freeze, but not one this young...the roots are too small and can freeze too easily.

It is best to root, and grow them in warmer conditions until they are established. I have a few newly rooted ones outside, but they were ones I rooted during the summer. Any that root for me now, will spend the winter in the greenhouse.

On the flip side, most all plants focus all their energy on the root system during the winter, so maybe yours will continue to do ok. I'd just hate for you to lose them...

Vancouver, WA(Zone 8b)

vossner ~~ Yes, this is so, so exciting!! I am going to do more over the Thanksgiving break - 4 days off work, 2 paid, and I will be a rootin' roses Sat. and Sun.!! This is a blast!! :-)

Jody ~~ I started some on 10-20 following instructions in a rose book.....then I started the majority of them on 11-13, the day after T. did her awesome step-by-step thread. The ones with the teeny-tiny oh so small roots are the ones from 10-20. I transferred them to coir and the buds are swelling, and the tiniest little white things are just barely visible on 2 of them closest to the sides of my container. Nothing happening on the 11-13 batch.

Seedpicker ~~ Thank-you for the advice, I wasn't sure quite where they should be spending the winter.....and I would be heartbroken if I lost them due to something as easy as just moving them indoors!! I have a gardening shed, with a counter in front of its isn't heated, but is closed.....could they go in there?? Or should they go in the garage, no natural light, but never any threat of freezing?? I don't have a greenhouse yet, I thought I might move this small "greenhouse" type thing next to the house, and bring them into the garage if temps were going to be below freezing...??? I just don't know! I need a greenhouse so badly!! But until then, where should I put these little guys??


Thumbnail by jamie68
(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

That is a great little setup for the cuttings, and if you can wheel it in during a freeze, even better.

The shed sounds good too, since it has a window (which sunlight exposure does that window face?), but I'll bet it is much darker in there for them, than your cold frame. Unless, you are just going to start a few varieties, and they'll all sit in the window sill...

Then again, I'm sure you have an outlet in there, and you could always plug in a lamp with a plant bulb in it. Natural sunlight is always best, but a plant light would be a great supplement to the window. The roses will want to grow and lean towards the window, so place you plant light in the opposite direction from the light of the window. This will help to try to keep their growth balanced. If you do this, you might also want to plug in a little fan for air circulation, too. I think they'd love that.

I'd imagine, that you'll do every rose you have, lol...and need the entire cold frame just for the cuttings...Potting them up from there, will take up a lot of space. Good news is, they can stay in a "community pot" until Spring. The coir makes it so easy to separate the cuttings, that it will not be hard to do, come Spring.

The garage is way too dark for the cuttings...garages are for things going dormant, and sleeping for the winter. These babies of yours are just "waking up"!... :0)

You might want to purchase a little outdoor thermometer. We just got some at HD and they are around $10(you might even get lucky and find one at the dollar store!)

I'd suggest you put the thermometer in your cold frame and monitor the temps that way. Inside your cold frame(especially if it is in direct sun) will be many degrees warmer than outside.

You might be able to leave them out, all except for the two coldest months: Jan, & Feb. Then, in Jan, when we can dip in to the 20's, I'd suggest they go into the shed with a plant light, and fan. March, back into the cold frame outside and start unzipping on warm days to acclimate them. (When it is mid-March and no more freezes are expected, this is the time for you to pot them all up in their own pots, and set them outside for good.)

Sunlight is very important for their health. Normally, you want cuttings to be in a bit of indirect light, but in winter the light is so reduced, that it will be better for them to spend as much time in the sun as they can, and move to the shed when it is too cold for them.

I'm really curious how my method compared to the method in your book. Did I mention any steps they didn't? Did they mention any steps I didn't?

Vancouver, WA(Zone 8b)

Taylor ~~ Thank-you so much again for the great advice and the comments about where and how to over-winter my babies. I read and re-read the advice and now I am going to move my little cold-frame onto my porch where it can get nice light most of the day....and great shelter in the coldest times. I will buy a plant light, and move them into the shed during the coldest 6-8 weeks and then back out they go, into the cold-frame. I knew the garage wouldn't be good....all my Brugs are in there....and dormant they are!! No place for itty-bitty roots, and baby roses!! :-)

Oh, and as far as directions go....yours were infinitely better!!! I was amazed at how few steps they gave, and am quite sure the ones done your way will have a much higher % of success than the book-direction cuttings. I will compare and contrast them as we go along....and tell you the steps they gave after will be surprised at how much more detailed your way is....:-) A+ to you!! LOL!!

Thanks again for your great support!! Off to work, 4 more patients to see, then more cuttings...YAY!!

(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

I forgot to mention that if you get to doing cuttings, and you kinda go nuts with them (and run out of time or steam), you don't have to go through all these steps the same day.

Cuttings store really well in their hormone water, in the fridge. If you get behind, or overwhelmed, you can always stick the cuttings in the fridge, and then recut, bleach, etc. when you have more time.

You could take cuttings one weekend, and then "stick them" the next...

I don't recommend storing them this long, but have actually had some in the fridge for over a month, will no ill effect!

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

Thanks for all this neat advice Seedpicker. I have been trying for 2 years to start from cuttings and each attempt has ended in failure, in most cases recently the stems have turned black with mold as I now know thanks to you. Last year I had 3 doing very well, one ever had a blossom but I left them in my garage on a very cold weekend and they too died.

I have followed your advice to the letter on several new plantings. I bought a new jar of rooting hormone just to make sure it wasn't contaminated. A friend and very successful rosarian here in Ohio who starts about 400-500 plantings a year to help raise money for his local rose society has told me to leave as many leaves on the stems as possible and I believe that you recommend removing them all. What might be the benefit for doing either? My friend also told me a friend of his in New Zealand told him to try using honey in place of the rooting hormone. So I have used both here too. These new ones will all stay in my house in a south facing window all winter. The picture is of these new plantings. Another thing my friend told me to do was to pour a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide around the base of the stem.

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

One more try for the picture.

Thumbnail by inky1998
(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

Sorry to just be getting on here, but I've not been able to get on the Internet since the 30th! My DSL modem quit on me, and I've had to wait for another one to arrive in the mail. It finally got here, and here I am! lol...

Glad to see you are trying rooting, again. It can be very rewarding.

Leaves transport energy to the stem, from absorbing sunlight. This is why they suggested leaving them on...
However, leaves ALSO require nutrients and moisture, from the stem. Normally, the moisture and nutrients are absorbed by the roots and then transported throughout the stem and into the stems, buds and leaves.

Without any roots, the leaves can eventually "starve" out the stem and cause it to die.

Removing the leaves causes all the engergy in the stem to be directed to forming roots, and none to be spared for the leaves.

Another reason for not keeping the leaves, is transpiration, (the loss of moisture through the surface area of the leaves.) This will slowly dehydrate the stem, and cause it to die.

Honey will "feed" the stem, but will ALSO feed microorganisms, including mold and bacteria. There should already be sufficient energy stored in the stem to produce roots, and the rooting powder just provides a little extra.

I know a lot of people recommend hydrogen peroxide for soggy soil, or for knat control. I can't really say much about it,...I've never tried it...

The milk cartons may reduce the amount of light your cuttings get. My recommendation for the milk cartons was for the bottom part. That way you can still peek, but the sunlight was difused so it wouldn't hurt the roots. I'd recommend you replacing the milk jugs with a clear container, or no container.

If you keep them covered, you'll need to occasionally either blow your CO2 in there, or remove the lids for a bit, so they can breathe. We breathe their exhale(oxygen) and they breathe our exhale(co2). So, blowing your air in there is like us being in an oxygen tank. However, if the air is not replenished, they'll slowly use up the co2 and die from suffocation, just like we would if we only had co2 to breath...make sense?

I wish you the best of luck on your cuttings! It can be fun to watch, and exciting to have new roses!

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)




Corte Madera, CA

i will try this soon!

thanks, again, t.

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

What a wonderful thread! I am just getting into Rose's and this information is going to be so useful. I have printed it out and have a book I keep all of the "greatest" information in. It's a keeper. Thanks so much for taking the time to put together this information for us. Love Ya!


(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

You all are so wonderful. Thank you for all the kind words. I truly hope there are some new "rose rooters" born from this thread.
It is really fun and exciting.

Palmyra, IL(Zone 5b)

I'm bumping this back up to the front...I stuck 15 different kinds of OGR's using your method in coir both inside and outside...I didn't have room to mark the I'll have to wait until they bloom to tell them only had enough coir for two batches.
Here are the inside cuttings...I will mist them several times a day and not cover them...I think I'll have better luck this way...hopefully no blackening :-)

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

Those look great!

You still might want to top with chick grit, though...just takes one stray knat to ruin the whole thing...

Palmyra, IL(Zone 5b)

Thanks...Where do the knats come from? I have all kinds of plants in the house but no knats...I'll have to go buy some grit tomorrow....I know I have diatomaceous earth...:-)

(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

I have them arrive in my house via the strawberries, or other produce from the grocery store, and have also had them just fly in from outside, like a fly!
Hate those things, ...

Corte Madera, CA

that's so cool, jody!

t, can't wait to try your method. march is not soon enough. yesterday i was looking already at the stems where it joins to another stem and/or cane.

i have to review the thread again to find out where to get chick grit.

East Texas, United States(Zone 8a)

Annapet, do you live close to a feed store? any of them will have it. The pet store might have it if they carry supplies for chickens.

This message was edited Jan 30, 2006 7:12 PM

Corte Madera, CA

thanks, nery. this is almost country, and i know of a feedstore or two.


Myrtle Beach, SC

Thanks so much for this thread. I have copied it and when I feel "brave" enough, I'm going to try it myself !! God bless you all, Margo

Moncks Corner, SC(Zone 8b)

Seedpicker- two questions:

1. where did you FIND your oyster shells? I cant seem to find anywhere to buy them that doesnt have them crushed pretty much to powder, and
2. Doesnt the oyster shell raise the pH? is that ok for roses? am I just insane? Should I just ignore the voices in my head and move on? ;)

That description you posted is awesome! I have a miniature rose I want to prune and propagate, and that sounds just like the way for me to go. I can find everything I need except the chick grit. The town I live in IS kind of rural, so its no surprise there. Help? Please? With sugar on top and a cherry?

East Texas, United States(Zone 8a)

any feed store should have the chicken grit. I bought 1 lb for fifty cents (I think)

edited to correct my typo. should be chicken GRIT (not feed)

This message was edited Feb 10, 2006 1:19 PM

Moncks Corner, SC(Zone 8b)

so Im actually looking for chicken feed? man that sounds so wierd, but I will follow these directions blindly, as you guys seem to know best, and I know next to nothing :)

Winchester, KY(Zone 6a)

Pashta, it's not chicken feed, but they do eat it. The grit stays in their craw (sp?) where it helps grind the seeds they do feed on, as I understand it. The course texture and sharp edges are what discourage the soil gnats.

Palmyra, IL(Zone 5b)

If you can't find oyster shell/grit use diatomaceous earth,it does the same thing.:-) If you wanted to take the time to smash up glass it's about the same thing.Here's an article on it
where to buy it

chick grit/oyster shell
I hope this helps :-)

Palmyra, IL(Zone 5b)

I looked under and found these feed stores for you,they should have 1 or both

Big Barn Farm Store
Aa Route 10 Montgomery Rd
Garrison, KY 41141

(606) 757-9208

Bowling Feed & Hardware Incorporated
3500 Court St
Catlettsburg, KY 41129

(606) 739-5539

Davenport Farm Supply
758 Mt Sterling Rd
Flemingsburg, KY 41041

(606) 845-3941

I called here they are out right now...but it's on order for next them leave your # and tell them to call you when it comes in.:-)
Eldridge & Son Farm Supply
7825 Cranston Rd
Morehead, KY 40351

(606) 784-5093

Gilliams Farm Supply
2078 Webb Rdg
Olive Hill, KY 41164

(606) 286-5295

Hinton Frank and Son Incorporated
Plummers Lndg
Hillsboro, KY 41049

(606) 876-3171

Jabetown Mill
Ewing, KY 41039

(606) 267-2161

Kees Farm Service
1889 N State Highway 7
Grayson, KY 41143

(606) 474-5713

Rips Farm Center
Highway 57
Tollesboro, KY 41189

(606) 798-3276

edited a couple of times trying to find it for you.

This message was edited Feb 10, 2006 10:17 AM

(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

Knats like moisture and good soft soil, for laying their eggs.

Topping with the sharp grit, discourages the knats because not just its texture, but also because it doesn't hold moisture. It dries really quickly after getting wet.

It has to be a thick layer, so they cannot find the soil they are looking for, below. Sand works almost as well, but does seem to not dry as fast, so less effective...

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