There are several ways roses can be propagated. The best method depends on the type of rose and what is most comfortable for the gardener.
The most effective form of propagating roses for home gardens is by cuttings. Roses can also be propagated by layering, division, and seed. Each type of propagation has its advantages and disadvantages.
The most effective way for home gardeners to propagate roses is by cuttings. The easiest propagation method is from semi-hardwood cuttings. These are cuttings taken from mature new growth in mid to late summer (July & August). More information about how to take semi-hardwood cuttings can be found in this article: Propagation of Deciduous Trees and Shrubs from Semi-Hardwood Cuttings.
Roses can also be rooted from hardwood cuttings. These are cuttings taken from the previous year’s growth typically gathered in late winter during the dormant season. More information about how to take hardwood cuttings can be found in this article: Propagation of Deciduous Trees and Shrubs from Hardwood Cuttings.
Simple layering works well with rose plants that have long flexible stems. The new plant is formed by pinning and/or burying a portion of the stem, waiting for new roots to form, and then cutting it from the parent plant. By bending and burying the stem, it slows and interrupts the downward translocation of carbohydrates and other compounds. The accumulation of these compounds at the bend promotes rooting.
More information on layering can be found in this article: How to Propagate Shrubs by Layering
Some of the naturally suckering roses grown on their own rootstock (not grafted like many of the modern roses) can be propagated by division. In early spring while plants are still dormant (March to early-April) dig down between an offshoot and the rest of the plant severing the root from the parent plant. The propagule should contain at least one well-rooted shoot. Transplant this propagule to its new growing location immediately.
Roses can also be grown from seed but the resulting progeny will be similar to but will not have all of the same characteristics of the parent plant. Seeds also often require stratification which can be difficult for some gardeners. For these reasons, growing roses by seed is not done by most home gardeners.
If you choose to grow roses by seed start by planting seeds in a small container with potting soil. Water them in and expose them to 40°F temperatures for 3 to 4 months. Once the cold period (stratification) has been done, seeds can be placed in warmer temperatures and allowed to germinate and grow. Some species require a warm treatment of 65°F for 3 months before providing the cold treatment. Seed can also be planted in a nursery bed in the fall and allowed to overwinter and germinate in the spring.
- All About Roses
- Growing Roses in Iowa
- Rose Types and Cultivars for Iowa
- A Brief History of the Rose
- How to Select and Use Roses in the Garden
- How to Prune Roses
- How to Overwinter Roses in Iowa
- How to Plant and Transplant Roses in Iowa
- Pests and Disease of Roses
- Rose FAQs
- Caring for Roses in Iowa (publication)
- Miniature Roses (publication)
- The Griffith Buck Roses (publication)
- Griffith Buck: Rose Hybridizer (publication)
- Roses for the Home (publication)
- Common Rose Diseases (publication)
- Flowers and Their Meanings: The Language of Flowers
- State Flower of Iowa