Saturday, October 9, 2010

Having difficulty propagating a particular variety?

Got a rose that refuses to be propagated by cuttings or other means? You may want to try this approach.

I have a number of plants that have proven very difficult, if not impossible, to propagate by softwood cuttings during the growing season. A number of roses either lose their leaves immediately when cuttings are placed in the misting bed, or the stem turns black the moment it comes in contact with the rooting media. I've played around with alternative methods and found one very effective for most any rose: layering.

Well, its a kind of layering. I take any cane of a rose that can be bent to reach the soil surface (plants in pots or in the ground, either works) and bury a section of the cane under the soil, leaving a few inches of the growing tip exposed. I do not injure the cane in any way, nor do I use rooting hormones of any kind. In fact, the whole procedure is a rather lazy one; I just grab a cane when I happen to be near a plant I want to propagate, paddle out a bit of a hole in the soil surface and shove the cane in and pat it down. Nothing could be easier. In most cases, I found that these cane were rooted enough to remove the shoot and pot it up in four to six weeks.

Shown here is a shoot of the Spinosissima 'Suzanne', five weeks after pushing the cane into the soil. In the top photo, note the red arrow in the photo which is pointing at the original cane that was pushed under the surface, at just about the point that it enters the soil. Click on any of the photos to view a larger image.

You can see that it has not only produced a significant root system of its own, it has pushed up new shoots from below the soil surface to start forming a brand new mini-thicket of its own. The shoot was cut from its parent cane and potted up in a gallon can, as you can see here. It did not suffer any transplant shock at all (bear in mind I dug it on a cool, cloudy day) and appears ready to make a go of it. What could be easier?!


  1. Paul, quick question. I usually equate easy striking with own root vigour. When you strike these difficult-to-root varieties like this (it makes sense that they'd strike well like this), how do they continue to grow long term on their own roots? I guess it's like anything and it will depend on the variety and the location.Kim mentioned that 'Euphrates' struck easily for him and grew well on its own roots. I've tried over and over again to strike it and have even tried this method and I STILL have no joy. Maybe timing has a lot to do with it too. I tried layering it into the ground through winter instead of when the plant was growing strongly.

  2. I'll have to try this with 'Maman Ichiko.' Fabulous little mini but so far I've only been able to get one cutting.

  3. What a simple and useful method of "making a backup" of one of your roses... I sometimes tried by cutting, but it requires a LOT of time to be sure that the cutting has generated good roots... some blackened stright away, but some other took several weeks to months to finally die... I'm going to try this way on those slim, weak canes I was going to cut out anyway to make room for the stronger ones... instead of removing them, I'll try and make them root on the spot! Thanks for the suggestion and the pictures (It's true that an image is worth a thousand words :)