Take hardwood rose cuttings

You'll need patience to see rose cuttings grow but it's worth it!

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You'll need patience to see rose cuttings grow but it's worth it!
You'll need patience to see rose cuttings grow but it's worth it! ©Martin Fish

Commercially-grown roses are budded onto a rose rootstock, which gives the plant uniform vigour.

It’s also a faster and cheaper method for nurseries to produce large quantities of roses that are ready to lift at the same time.

In a garden situation roses can be propagated by taking cuttings now using healthy stems.

The benefit of growing your own is that new plants will be free and because they are on their own roots rather than a rootstock, they'll never produce suckers.

It’s also a great way of propagating old varieties that are difficult to find in nurseries, or for roses that you don’t know the name of but want to keep growing for sentimental reasons.

Select strong, healthy stems made this year and, depending on the vigour of the stems, cut them into sections approximately 20-25cm (8-10in) long, making a straight cut below a bud at the base and a sloping bud above a bud at the top.

Prepared cuttings can be rooted outside in free-draining soil, or in a greenhouse in pots.

You need to be patient as the woody cuttings take several months to root and it will be this time next year before the roses are large enough to plant in the garden.

Top tips

  • Prepare the cutting by making a clean sloping cut at the top and a straight cut below the bud at the base.

  • Remove all the leaves and, using a sharp knife, wound the base of the cutting by removing a slither of bark.

  • Fork over a piece of well-drained soil and insert the cuttings 20cm (8in) apart, with two-thirds below soil.

  • Alternatively, insert cuttings into a pot of compost and stand on a heated sand bed or propagator and keep moist.

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