Roses are beautiful, fragrant additions to any garden. With a few cuttings, even novice gardeners can propagate, plant and maintain roses.
Delicate, aromatic and brimming with color, roses add beauty to any garden. They are also easy to propagate, plant and maintain. Even beginners can start roses from cuttings.
Gather Cuttings to Propagate
To obtain a cutting, select a healthy, well established rose bush. Look for branches with flowers that have recently faded but still have leaves. Using sharp clippers, cut a stem about 6-inches long. Strip off any bottom leaves, but keep the top ones intact.
Using a sharp knife, cut two 1-inch strips of bark from the bottom of the branch on either side. Gardeners call this process wounding. It promotes the development of roots.
Prepare Rooting Medium
To hasten rooting, dip the base of each branch about 1 1/2-inches into the rooting hormone. Rhizopon AA #1, #2 or #3 powder; Dip-N-Grow; and Hormodin Rooting Powder #1, #2 or #3 are popular brands. Some organic gardeners prefer to use honey, but hormones speed up the process.
Meanwhile, prepare the pots. Use clean, 2-inch containers with holes at the bottom for drainage. New pots can be rinsed with a little dish soap and water. Previously used pots should be thoroughly washed to rid them of harmful bacteria.
Fill the pots with a planting medium. A 50/50 blend of potting soil and perlite, sand or vermiculite makes a nice, light mix. Light blends drain easily and encourage quick root growth. Use a pencil to create a hole in the center of each container. Insert cuttings about halfway into pots. Gently push soil around the cuttings.
Place the pots into a gallon-sized plastic bag. The bags with zippers and stand-up bottoms are best. Zippers provide easy access for weekly watering. Stand-up bags allow air circulation. Plastic retains moisture for quick rooting. Gallon-sized bags provide room for growth. After the plants are set, seal the bag and place the plants in an area with indirect sunlight.
Rooting takes four to eight weeks. When new growth appears, remove the roses from the bag and place them in a cool, shady spot. This step gives the bark time to harden. When the bark is firm, the roses are ready to plant in the garden.
Plant Young Roses
Dig a deep, wide hole so the roots have room to spread out without bending. Place some pebbles at the bottom of the hole to encourage proper drainage and prevent root rot. Add a handful of compost or sheep manure. Then fill the hole halfway with soil and a little water.
Gently place the rose in the hole. Make sure the roots are straight. Add soil and some water alternately until the hole is filled. Tamp down the soil to get rid of air pockets. If several roses will be planted, make sure each bush has about two feet around it for air circulation. If crawlers, trees or miniature roses will be planted, find out how much space they need around them.
Optimize Health and Growth
Roses should be watered thoroughly once a week. Do not let the leaves get wet because moisture promotes fungus and disease. Watering roses in the morning will allow them to dry during the day and prevent fungus from developing.
Fertilizer helps roses grow and keeps them healthy. Apply fertilizer at least twice during the growing season. A local nursery can provide information about the area’s growing season and suggest an appropriate fertilizer.
Roses are attractive to certain insects. Aphids are small greenish bugs that extract moisture and nutrients from the leaves. A little dish soap applied with a mister rids roses of aphids.
Japanese beetles also attack roses. Small and green with coppery wings, these pesky critters can destroy an entire rose garden. Planting garlic and applying Neem Seed Oil prevent beetle infestation. For persistent problems, though, environmentally friendly insecticides may be used.
Prune, Cut and Enjoy
Prune roses to encourage growth. Start with clean, sharp clippers. Cut away damaged and dead branches. Clip down to the lowest, thickest new shoot.
For a fragrant bouquet, cut roses in the morning. Find a stem with petals just beginning to unfurl from the bud. Locate the first five-leaf cluster. Using sharp, clean shears cut the stem at the cluster. Leave some foliage between the cut and the main stem of the bush to promote healthy, new growth.
Place cut roses in a vase of water immediately. In a few days, the buds will open up to reveal magnificent blooms. To ensure a lasting bouquet, change the water and add a few drops of plant food every few days.
Easy to grow from a single cutting, roses add old-world charm and elegance to any home and garden. With minimal time and effort, even novice gardeners can produce beautiful rose bushes.