Sharing the Love: Propagating Roses

A co-worker’s mother recently passed away and our office wanted to reach out in a meaningful way. In addition to sympathy cards, several of us pitched in and purchased a rosebush our friend could plant in memory of her mother. She was touched by the idea and wanted to share cuttings from her rosebush with her siblings so they too could have a garden remembrance too. Only problem was, she knew propagating roses was possible but she didn’t know how to do it.

Since she had a lot on her mind and was preoccupied with funeral arrangements, I took it upon myself to find out how to propagate roses and share the information with her. After a little research, I found out just how easy propagating roses really is.

Propagating roses takes a little patience but is well worth the wait. The key to success is to make sure to get a good, clean cut without crushing the rose’s stem.

Spring and fall are the best times to take rose cuttings but in mild climates you can get away with summer and winter cuttings. To propagate roses, cut a six inch long rose stem using sharp cutters and remove the bottom set of leaves. Leave as many leaves near the top as possible. Next, use a razor blade to make tiny slits at the bottom of the stem for about an inch. This encourages more rooting.

For optimal conditions, use a 50/50 mixture of potting soil and perlite. Starting with a sterile soil is preferred because you will be creating a high humidity environment that bacteria and fungus thrive in.

The next step to propagate roses is to choose a spot with partial shade and stick the rose stem in the ground about two inches deep. Cover the stem with a quart sized Mason jar. The soil should be kept moist but not too wet. The Mason jar acts as a humidifier, nourishing the rootless stem with water. Keep the soil moist over the coming months. In a month or two, the stem will have taken root and begin leafing new growth. We did it! We propagated a rose!

I typed up the information about propagating roses and enclosed it in a “Thinking of You” card. My co-worker has since begun the process of propagating roses from her rosebush and is looking forward to sharing the cuttings with her loved ones.

Sharing rose cuttings with friends adds an old fashioned and charming touch to any garden. Memories flood in with each new bloom.

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