I have been getting e-mails from readers who received roses last month. Probably Groundhog Day or President’s Day gifts; maybe they were even a Valentine’s Day love offering. For whatever reason, folks have been wondering if they can propagate the long stem roses they received.
I said, "Definitely, maybe!"
Long stem roses go through a lot of trauma to get from their growers in South America to your dining room buffet. So, it’s not surprising they may not root or, at least, not as easily as roses you cut from your bushes outside.
No matter, some long stem roses will actually put out some new leaf growth after you receive them. If this happens, then by all means try your hand at rooting them.
When you get long stemmed roses you should immediately fill a basin with cold tap water. Place the rose stems into the water and trim off the bottom 1½ inches of the basal end. The reason this is done under water is because the rose stem will actually suck into the stem whatever it is exposed to. Capillary action will allow water to be taken up into the stems if they are cut under water giving the fresh roses an important boost.
If you notice your roses are starting to break (put out fresh foliage), trim off the bloom, injure the stem, dip it into a rooting hormone then stick it.
Here’s what I mean: Trim off the bloom to make the cutting stop using any energy to produce a flower. Mother Nature then takes over and tries to sustain the species by making roots (in theory). Then injure the basal end of the stem by removing some of the outer portion (epidermis) with a knife or your fingernail. After removing about one inch of the epidermis, dip the basal end into a rooting powder like Rootone® then stick your cutting into your propagation medium (perlite and bark or sand). Keep the cuttings under mist or at least make sure they don’t dry out. The cuttings should call us within about 21 to 28 days and send out roots within 45 to 60 days.
Notes on rooting roses in general:
• I prefer using rooting talcs on rose cuttings. The liquids tend to contain alcohol which seems to burn some roses.
• Patented roses should never be asexually propagated without expressed written consent of the owner of the intellectual property. Unless the gifted roses come with a statement of patent, I believe they are fair game and the plant police won’t hassle you!
• Don’t over-water your rose cuttings and keep air circulating around them to aid in preventing pathogens from attacking them.
Good luck with your rose cuttings! E-mail me and let me know about your efforts in propagation roses.
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