Rose propagation: my method

Marietta, GA(Zone 7b)

What an awesome thread!! :) Taylor.. WOW!! A whole new gardening hobby for me now :)... and I just spent all that money on new roses when I could have just rooted!! I've been doing hydrangeas.. no reason not to do roses too!! And yes, I cut my two remaining hydrangea leaves in half when rooting, so I would remove leaves here.. It makes sense.

Seedpicker...baking coir makes your house smell right? I've heard really bad stories about folks wanting to sterilize soil in an oven and how terrible it smelled. I also have a gardener friend that keeps a microwave out in his garage for this reason only and he zaps his soil for five minutes or so when he is wanting to heat it for seed starting. That seems like the same thing in theory right? I'd prefer a garage microwave to a stinky house with the indoor oven method LOL :)

About the heel.. What if it's a climber like my Zephirine Drouhin and it does not connect to other branch anywhere close to the ends? Just cut back as much as logical and use that? Right.. stop listening to the analytical voices in my head too?

Lenjo.. that was a beautiful MIL story :) I'm sure my mom sees my garden from where she is and I rest assured that your parents do too. I grow marigolds and got some elephant ear this year cause that's what she grew in South Florida.. never mind I'm in GA with a cottage garden!


mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

hey susan! Happy Birthday to you today! i hope you had a grand day!

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Marietta, GA(Zone 7b)

aaaww..Thanks so much.. It was!! And to top it off.. I found this great thread! :)


Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

What a wonderful thread! My thanks to seedpicker for starting it, and to gemini_sage for pointing me here!

My ZD climbing rose is still mostly dormant, and I was thinking that this might be a good time to do a little pruning for shape (plus there's one branch that just needs to come off at the base because it's determined to take over the steps up to the deck). I was hoping to be able to take some cuttings as I pruned so I'd be able to share my plant... but the first part of this thread seemed to say this was the wrong time for cuttings... and then I read about taking midwinter cuttings in Texas, "The stems have stored energy for Spring growth, so they certainly have enough energy and hormone in them to root right now, if given the right conditions ..."

Nothing ventured, nothing gained! I'll stick a few cuttings as per the instructions at the top and put them in the bright indirect sunlight of the morning room, and I'll tuck a few more into the semi-shaded nook with my rose, with pop bottle cloches to protect them.

Thanks, and wish me luck!

Sebastopol, CA(Zone 9a)

Happy birthday, Susan. I hope all of your cuttings grow nice roots and you have a year full of roses.

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Marietta, GA(Zone 7b)

yes.. all of us a year full of roses :) Thanks


Mableton, GA(Zone 7b)

I'm thinking that using BOILING water to rehydrate the coir would also sterilize it?

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Not enough, IMO... you need sustained high heat (10 minutes at least) to sterilize anything. Think of sterilizing jam jars... pouring boiling water over them isn't sufficient.

I avoid the smell of oven-baked potting mix by sterilizing mine in the microwave, and I don't know why you couldn't do the same with the coir. It's very important to have it well moistened (1 cup per quart of mix for peat-based mixes)... dry potting mix *will catch fire* in the microwave. I can fit nearly 2 gallons of mix in my biggest tupperware bowl. Cover the bowl loosely, microwave on high for 10-12 minutes (until you see a steam condensing on the underside of the lid), then cover the bowl tightly and let the steam continue to work for at least another 10 minutes.

No need to put the microwave out in the garage... this does not make my kitchen smell bad. There might be a teeny bit of a smell when you first open the container, but it's not objectionable. (Baking potting mix in the oven made an odor that permeated the house all day!)

(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

Yes, baking soil can make your house stink. That is why I had to start using the baking bags. They are sold in the grocery store, and are large clear bags used for baking turkeys. They really are nice, since you usually have to bag any extra coir, anyway, and they really reduce the smell to almost nothing.
No more complaints from hubby about the smell, since I've been using the baking bags.

the heel has a higher concentration of hormone than regular stem. The nodes also have higher concentration than regular stem.
If you cannot get a heal, it may still root. It is just BETTER if you have a heel, ...but not entirely necessary.
Hope you had a wonderful birthday. :0)

Critterologist-Spring is the VERY , very best time to root roses, and Fall is the second-best time. Although I've even had some root in the middle of summer.

I use my initial Spring prunings, and then also the Spring new growth, after blooms fade.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

I've got a bunch of "initial spring prunings" in a jar of water now! They are cuttings from a climbing rose, and since many of the canes arch several feet from their final branch point, a "heel" is a bit hard to come by, so I'll have to use leaf nodes mostly.

How thick should my cutting be? And can I cut the tip off? Like, up to several feet of "tip?" I'm thinking of these long, slender canes from my climber again.... if I use the bottom section, I can be rooting at a node and have a thicker stem, but I'd need to cut off the tip or have a 4 ft. long cutting!

(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

Tips have the most hormone, and root the best. The older the stem(wood), the less likely it will root. Pencil size is what most people use to describe the right thickness of stem.

The really thick old wood is pretty much a waste of time.

Good luck with your cuttings!

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Most of my cuttings are thinner than a pencil, I'm afraid, especially near the tips!... well, I'll try them anyway... nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Scottsdale, AZ(Zone 9b)


I'm attending my first Plant Swap in the SW Forum this Saturday. I'm wondering if I cut off a few roses that have blooms on them and transport them to the swap in water like a bouquet, would the people there with rooting hormone be able to use those cuttings to propagate them? I've never prop'd a rose before but I'd like to give others there an opportunity to try some that I've posted photos of that they really like. I'll cut them back far enough as to give my friends enough stem to accomodate their prop method.

Thanks in advance for any advice!


(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

Sounds like a great plan, Robin

Marietta, GA(Zone 7b)

I would make sure they are able and willing before you take them.. I've had plants given to me in plastic bags and unless I tend to them immediately.. along with all my other responsibilities, they go south quick!

Ohhhh.... and I just my new $10 dollar microwave off craigslist yesterday for sterilizing my mix in the garage.. DH is concerned the kids are going to want to put things in there.. They are boys.. but I've had a talk with them.

I'm very excited about trying this method!! I really appreciate you taking the time to post this and the pictures seedpicker!! :)

A Zephrine Drouhin for you :)


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East Texas, United States(Zone 8a)

Susan, your hubby's concerns remind me of a story w/ my stepkids. We decided to get rid of our freezer as we weren't using it. It gets time to clean it up for resale and I can't begin to tell you how many frozen critters we had.

When confronted with this, my youngest stepson said he had seen a show on Cryogenics on TV and he wanted to know what that was all about...Kids always have comebacks that leave you speechless and/or wanting to LYAO.

now back to propagation

Marietta, GA(Zone 7b)

oohhhhhhhh noooooooooooooooooo

I think I will unplug and turn the opening facing and against the wall when not in use!!!!


Trenton, MI(Zone 5b)

Voss, that is just too funny in a 'boy' kind of way.
Soul, anytime you want to do a trade of a Zephrine Drouhin start, for a daylily, please let me know. :o) I'm sure tired of the thorns and I only have 2 climbing roses. LOL

(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

Nery- Euw!, are you?

Susan-my brother has been telling me about Craigslist...I need to check it out

Marietta, GA(Zone 7b)

got you down toofew! we'll see how it goes :)

Love craigslist!


Trenton, MI(Zone 5b)

I found this thread when I decided to prune my climbing roses this spring. When the time came to prune I was in a hurry and decided not to bring in any cuttings. So following your directions about what part of the rose cutting to use, I just stuck them in the ground next to the main plant. Nothing else was done. Out of 10 cuttings, I'm happy to report that I have 2 that have leaves. I probably got very lucky ... if these live, but hey, if I get only one, it will have been worth the effort. If not, then I will be trying it your way next year. :o)

East Texas, United States(Zone 8a)

toofew, before I tried Taylor's technique, I did the cutting by the mother plant method. I've had relatively good success with it; problem is, as cutting grows, I forget which is the cutting and which is a branch from mother plant, so I end up leaving cutting right where I put it because I don't want to tug on the wrong thing.

I think 2 rooted cuttings is really good and I can almost guarantee that next year your rooting will be 4, next year get the pic. Lso I depends on the actual rose, some are much easier than others.

Marietta, GA(Zone 7b)

Okay Taylor.. I don't think I've ever reread a thread as much as this one! i have some questions for you..

Being that the coir is $5 a bag and I want to root a bunch with plenty of room to sit till they have roots developed... can't I just cook potting or regular black soil to get it sterile and use it?? I know that the rose requires air, but would it not get it from soil as well.. I really would love to do this with the cooked soil I have. Have you tried it with cooked soil instead?

The chick grit is for the knats assuming that you are rooting indoors right?? If your rooting outdoors under a tree and keeping it well misted, is the chick grit needed and can I just use my shredded leaves for mulch instead??


My garage microwave works great for cooking the soil and the smell is very "earthy" . I'm glad I got an outside soil cooker which I've been using to cook soil to start my seeds.


(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

Congratulations! You are off to a great start, and I'm happy they are still looking good for you. I think that will get you hooked, and you'll be encouraged to root even more.

Susan-I root both indoors, and out. I've gotten better results outside. I know most people don't have to worry about knats as much as I seem to, but we have a lot of knats here...
Potting soil really just depends...some has really "chunky bits" and will allow sharp drainage and lots of air, but some has too high of a peat content(which can retain too much water), and/or the particles are too small for much air.( I know coir has tiny particles, but they are spongey, not solid.)
I say use what you have, if that is what you want to do, but I am just recommending coir, because I've found it to be the BEST medium for rooting, not the ONLY medium for rooting. I've tried both, and rooted with both, but coir is the best of all the mediums I've tried. ;0) ...I've even started adding sand and lava sand to the coir, and the results have been even better, than coir alone.

Shredded leaves are a great mulch in an established garden on well-rooted plants, but leaf mulch is often called "leaf mold" ,and for good reason. Those old leaves carry a lot of mold spores and other things that would not be beneficial for you to introduce to your newly cleaned/sterilized soil. Certain bacteria and mold from those leaves will grow faster than the roots can form, and will take over and kill the cuttings.

Marietta, GA(Zone 7b)

Thank you!! I will get the coir, chik grit and do it the right way from the start! :)

hmmm.. so you've been adding some sand to the coir with good results??



Pocahontas, TN(Zone 7b)


Thanks for taking the time to post these instructions.


Middleton, TN(Zone 7a)

I apologize if this was already stated in the above post somewhere.

The chick grit - I found it at Tractor Supply Co.- you may have to look and see where you may have one of those close to you. But it is a 5 pound bag for around $4.00. This method does definately work great. Thanks for posting


Sherman, CT

So helpful--thank you! Can't wait to try, though it will probably take some time to gather up all necessary supplies! As I seem to have an especially bad insect problem this year, I was fascinated by your description of chick grit. Would it help an already planted rose, or is it only for seedlings? I also wondered if it could be used in a planting mixture instead of sand.

Thanks again.

(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

Would it help an already planted rose, or is it only for seedlings?

Yes, it would help physically discourage gnats the moment you placed it around the base of a rose, but any eggs existing in the soil would still hatch(unless you also used a soil soak that had BT in it to kill the gnats in that egg & larval stage.)

could be used in a planting mixture instead of sand.

Yes! In fact, some of the best root systems I've gotten on things(not just roses) included sand as well as chick grit in the mix.
A lot of commercial mixes have a high degree of perlite in them. With our water and soil here where I live, that is a bad thing. Chick grit is a great substitute for perlite, to add better drainage to your soil, when mixed is red lava sand.

Sherman, CT

Thanks so much for your reply. What is BT?

(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

Here is a link that can tell you better than I can about BT:

Sherman, CT

Thanks again.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Just chiming in about the perlite... for me, it works well to improve drainage without seeming to hold extra water. On the other hand, the vermiculite that I've tried makes potting mixes too soggy, but I've heard that varies widely with the size/brand of vermiculite.

(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

I feel the same way about vermiculite...

Belleville , IL(Zone 6b)

Could you maybe edit the post on bleach and add it is diluted with water to a certain extent. I actually thought it was pure bleach and had I not read the entire thread with questions, I might not have known otherwise.
I did work in the food industry and we had a bleach testing paper to make sure the rinse water had enough bleach in it.
A capful turned a full sink full of water for rinsing the darkest color available. I don't think much more would be needed for the sink rinse.
Bleach is very powerful stuff.
Edited to add: A very good pictoral and very helpful by the way.

This message was edited Nov 20, 2007 9:44 AM

Northern California, United States(Zone 9a)

Ahh, my first 'saved' thread pops up again. I copied the supplies and steps, adding important notations and put them in a Word document (4 pages) because this thread got so long and many clarifications came with questions from others. This way I now have it in a binder with my highlight marks for quicker reference.

(Taylor) Plano, TX(Zone 8a)

Someone had written me and asked permission to use this thread for a master gardening class.
She had made it into a powerpoint and sent it to me, but my hard drive crashed and I lost it.
I'll try to go through my old Dave's emails and see if I can find it. I never even got to look at it, but if I can get it, again, it might be easier than keeping up with such a long thread.

I'll edit the bleach info. Thanks for pointing that out.

East Texas, United States(Zone 8a)

T, how good to see you, you have dmail

This message was edited Jan 16, 2008 10:00 AM

Winchester, KY(Zone 6a)

Hey there T! Good to hear from ya :)

I think this thread should be a Sticky, do others agree? I've referred countless people to this and find all the info reliable and concise.

East Texas, United States(Zone 8a)

hiya neal. Seed's thread is listed in the very first thread shown in the rose forum. It also has one I started, which was a straight copy of seedpicker's method. I started it to share my delight in being successful with her method.

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