I haven’t met a rose I didn’t like. Yes, they have thorns and can be temperamental, but so can our characters. (Remember, even the nicest hero and heroine need flaws.) And roses are the flowers of love, so as a romance author I appreciate their beauty and message.
Did you know you can start a rose from a cutting? I’ve acquired many new plants from friend’s bushes. In fact, my husband likes to pick on me about my “jar garden.” Propagating roses isn’t terribly difficult, but you do need a bit of patience.
- Make sure you have a healthy cutting. (An ideal start would have a flower that is spent, or new growth.) Chose a stem with at least three branches of leaves. For the quickest results it’s best to try this in May or June, although it can be done at other times.
- Remove the bottom two sets of leaves. On the third set, keep two or three leaves. If those leaves are very large, cut them in half. The aim is to supply energy to create the roots. (But don’t force the plant to maintain too many leaves or the plant won’t start.)
- Plant the stem with only the very top and leaves exposed. Some people make a couple of vertical cuts (1/2 to 1 inch) near the base of the stem before planting the rose to encourage root growth. I cover the new rose with a jar, but anything that is clear and maintains the moisture in the air around the plant would work. Moisture is very important. If your plant dries out it won’t root.
The above method doesn’t always work, but I’ve had fairly good success. I start my roses in good soil, but you could put them in containers with potting soil or a sand mix. I have my cuttings in part shade at the side of my house. Don’t put them directly in the hot sun. After several weeks, you should start to see new growth.
My climate is a concern for my rose starts. Not all rooted stock can survive our winter. Tea roses are often grafted on hardier roots, so you may get these fragile roses to grow, but they won’t survive. (Unless you bring them inside.) But, you’ll never know if the rose will survive if you don’t try.
I’ve even managed to start roses that came from a florist. (They need to be fresh.) There was an awkward moment when my husband came home and I was cutting the flowers off the rose bouquet he’d just bought for me. I have to admit, I felt a bit like Morticia from the Addams Family.
Do any of you have tips on starting roses or other flowers?