Own-rooting roses

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Q: I have two long-stemmed roses from my mother. Is it possible to root a rose from a stem?

Greenhouse roses, florist roses, are bred for that specific purpose. Garden roses are bred for the garden. Some can be used for dual purposes but most often the rose brought from the florist doesn’t look the same when grown in the garden.

Own-rooting a rose is actually very simple. Some roses including hybrid teas (most florist style roses) will root, some will become good plants, others will whimper along but will not be as good or as hardy as a grafted (budded) rose of the same variety.

To own-root a rose, use a softwood type cutting that has flowered or is close to opening its flower. A pencil size cutting is ideal. Strip all but the top set of leaves as you don’t want the cutting to dry out before it roots. The critical thing is keeping the humidity at 100 per cent during rooting. This is achieved by growers with mist systems but the home gardener can place the cutting in a plastic bag and mist it daily.

The use of a rooting powder #2 strength at the base of the cutting also helps. The cutting or a few can all be placed in one pot (use a good potting soil not garden soil) and then covered with a plastic bag or jar. Keep in a well-lit room but out of full sunlight as this will cause the little “greenhouse” to overheat.