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How to propagate roses?

There are a number of methods of propagation for roses. Multiplication can be by division, by seed, by hardwood cuttings or layering.

There are a number of methods of propagation for roses. Multiplication can be by division, by seed, by hardwood cuttings or layering.

Propagating a rose by seed can produce mixed results and is ideal if you want to grow new types of roses, as it will not necessarily produce a consistent bloom. The best methods for consistency with the mother plant are to propagate by cuttings or layering.


Propagation by Cutting

For even a novice gardener, this method of propagation is the most simple for increasing your rose stock.

Take cuttings during the dormant period, after flowering and when there is no threat of frost. Autumn is ideal.

Cut a length of stem which is 7-10 inches. It must have 2-3 strong leaves attached and all other buds, flowers, thorns and lower leaves should be stripped from the cutting. Place the cutting in a rooting hormone powder to promote root growth.

This technique is suitable for climbing roses, rose shrubs and miniature varieties.



Propagation by Layering

Some types of roses are perfect for propagating through layering, particularly climbing roses thanks to their long, flexible stems.

In early summer, take a mature, flexible stem and bury a section of it in the adjacent soil, whilst still attached to the parent tree.

Fasten with hooks to keep it planted, the apex of the shoot should be braced so that it remains vertical. Roots will start to appear the following spring. At this point, sever the new rose plant from the parent.



Propagation by Grafting

Most commercially grown roses are propagated by grafting; it is one of the oldest methods of rose propagation.

Using the strength and predictability of a strong rootstock with the beauty of the chosen scion can produce an amazing and rewarding bloom.

To graft a rose, start in autumn and select some strong buds from the middle section of the stem. Place them in a section of rootstock that is 10-20cm. The rootstock should be in a sap like condition, meaning that the bark peels away easily from the wood. The bud should be mature and taken during the dormant growth phase.

For best results when grafting a rose, follow these steps:

1 – Make an incision in the rootstock with a clean, sharp knife that is 1.5-2cm wide and 2/3 the circumference of the branch
2 – The bud should be harvested from the rose plant branch by cutting 1cm above and below it.
3 – Gently ease back the sides of the new rootstock incision and insert the bud so that it fits securely.
4 – Bind the bud inside the rootstock with a rubber band.

After just 2-3 days the scion and rootstock will unite. The most widely used rootstock for producing strong rose flowers is Rosa Canina, Rosa Rugosa, Rosa Multiflora and Rosa Laxa.