Starting rose cuttings...

Queen Creek, AZ(Zone 8b)

My method is just a combination of a couple of different ones that I read about, and after trying some different ones, this is the one that works for me.

You will need:
clear plastic drinking cups; you can find these in the picnic section of the grocery store
potting medium; part sand, part perlite, part seed starting medium or sphagnum peat moss
razor blade or Exacto knife
lighter
Rooting hormone
Superthrive
apple cider vinegar, and/or chamomile tea (vinegar: 3 tbs per gallon of water; tea: strong!)
gallon Zip-Loc bags (not the ones with a zipper, they won't hold the air, and the double locks are too hard to mess with)

1) Take your cutting from a thick branch, at least pencil width. One which has a bud where you can see the color of the flower, but before it has bloomed. Cut it long enough to have a 4-6 sets of five leaflets and a couple of good bud eyes. Keep the bottom end in water or moist.

2) Remove the flower bud and a couple of the bottom sets of leaves, leaving 2-3 sets of leaves at the top. If the sets of leaves are very large, you can remove the end leaf of each set of leaves to help it fit better in the baggie.

3) Wound the bottom of the branch by taking a sterilized razor blade or Exacto knife and slice off the bottom thorns so white pith can be seen. Then slice off the bud eyes from where you removed the lower sets of leaves. Then cut narrow swaths of "skin" from around the the base of the cutting so pith can be seen there. These wounded areas are where the roots will come from.

4) Using either liquid or powder rooting hormone, dip the wounded areas in and tap off the excess. Too much rooting hormone will just rot the end rather than help it to root.

5) Prepare your plastic cups ahead of time by slicing a few X's in the bottom and then burning each X for a moment with a lighter until you get the size holes you want for drainage.

6) Take your potting medium and moisten thoroughly. I like to saturate my soil with the hot chamomile tea, pack it into the plastic cups and let the excess water drain off. The tea acts as a natural fungicide, and the heat kills any dormant gnat eggs sitting in the soil. Once that is done and it is cool, poke a pencil into the soil to create a planting hole.

7) Stick a ready-to-be rooted cutting into the hole, and tamp down the soil around the hole. Water the soil with a Superthrive/water mix, and tamp it down more to remove any air in the planting hole. Spray soil and both sides of leaves lightly with the apple cider vinegar and water mix.

8) Label your cups with the variety of rose, because you WILL forget what you started.

9) Put 2 cups into each gallon Zip-Loc bag, zip almost all the way, and blow air into it to inflate as much as possible. The trick is to put enough air in to keep the plants oxygenated, but not so full of air that the bags won't stand up on their own. You will need to check the bags every other day or so and keep them inflated, the soil damp, and fungus and mold off the soil and cuttings. Spray every once in a while with the vinegar or add chamomile tea to the soil.

10) Set the bags in a bright location that doesn't get direct sunlight. I put mine in a north facing window. The reason for the clear cups is so you can see when roots are forming. Some sites suggest tugging on the cuttings to check resistance (with roots comes the resistance). but I prefer to leave them alone. Tug with too much force and you will destroy the new roots. If your new rose puts out a flower bud, no matter how much it hurts you, remove the bud. Your rose needs to put its energy into growing roots, not flowers. Mini roses are more prone to budding while rooting.

11) It takes anywhere from a couple of weeks (mini roses root quicker) to a few months, but have patience, don't forget about them, check for gnats and fungus often, and you will have rooted new babies. Once roots form you can open the bags slightly for an hour or two and see what happens. If the plants are strong enough they will not wilt. If they do wilt then just reinflate the bag and wait a few more days. Once they can handle being out of the bag they are ready to transplant into a larger pot and go outside for short periods in the shade. Hardening off during this time can take quite a while because the plants are very sensitive to heat. Make sure they are well hydrated, protected from pests like spider mites and aphids, and also the sun. When you do plant them in the ground harden off again to sun exposure by providing plenty of shade for the first week or two, depending on the time of year and how hot it is. I usually put a flower support ring with burlap on it to shade the new rose. http://www.gardeners.com/Flower%20Support%20Rings/FlowerGardening_FlowerSupports,14186,default,cp.html. They cost a couple of dollars at Lowe's.

Now you have lots of new roses to share with your DG buddies! This method works well for other plants as well, and I have tried it successfully on lantana and other shrubs that have soft wood growth.

Scottsdale, AZ(Zone 9b)

I just found this odd way - with an aquarium.
http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/gl_plants_other/article/0,1785,HGTV_3609_1379110,00.html

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