I can’t imagine my garden without roses, their fragrance and beauty is hard to beat. You know I grow over 30 different varieties of roses in my garden and I’m often asked, "How do you take care of them all?" Well, I think it all starts with the varieties you choose. You see some rose varieties are just easier to care for than others.
Many of the roses I grow are old-fashioned shrub roses. You can find these old-fashioned roses from a variety of sources these days but in the past they were actually handed from one gardener to the next from stem cuttings.
The ideal time to make stem cuttings is later in the summer once the flowers have faded and the new growth has matured just a bit.
Begin by selecting just the right stems. Choose stems that are just under the diameter of a pencil. Make your cut at an angle just above a leaf node. Be sure the cutting is at least 4 to 5 inches long and has a couple sets of leaves.
With your cuttings in hand, you’ll want to treat them just as you would fresh cut flowers, and get them in water immediately before moving to the next step.
Pour planting medium into small containers. I often use 4" nursery pots recycled from earlier purchases. Moisten the planting medium and create planting holes where the cuttings will be placed by poking the soil with a pencil or a twig. To encourage roots to develop, stick the ends of the cuttings into a rooting powder or growing hormone (available in garden centers) before putting them into the holes in the planting medium. Gently firm the soil around the cuttings.
Set the planted cuttings in a location where they will receive bright, indirect light and keep them consistently moist. Root systems should develop in 3 to 6 weeks. Once they are rooted, they can be transplanted into larger pots or directly into the garden.