Gardening Tips: Antique Rose Propagation

Antique Roses are also known as Old Fashioned Roses and plants used to be shared amongst our mothers and grandmothers via cuttings with varying success.

Some bloom repeatedly and some bloom in the spring and fall, yet others only in the spring. In any event, the blooms, though sometimes small, are numerous and quite gorgeous. Some are more hardy than others.

Step 1: Choose a healthy stem with blooms and cut just above a leaf node containing five leaves. If you are trying to train your rose bush, make sure the five leaves are facing the direction you want the new stem growth to be. Keep the plant stem (including some leaves) in water as much as possible after cutting.

Basics of Planting Roses 300x192 Gardening Tips: Antique Rose Propagation

Gardening Tips: Antique Rose Propagation

Step 2: Cut the stem at a 45 degree angle (minimum) just below a leaf node. It helps to have the stem under water while you cut to prevent moisture loss.

Step 3: Fill a planting pot 3/4 full with a mixture of 3/4 good potting soil and 1/4 course sand.

Step 4: Pour about 1/4 teaspoon of dry Soil Moist or equivalent wet Soil Moist in the pot and stir the Soil Moist into the the upper 1/2 of the soil mixture.

Step 5: Finish filling the pot with the potting soil mix. Water well, then poke three holes with a pencil or stick.

Step 6: Cut the branches into sections, making sure to leave at least one or two leaf stems on each section. The sections should be about 4-6 inches depending on the size of the stem and the distance between leaf nodes.

Step 7: Remove the lower leaves and any buds or blossoms. Leave only one or two sets of leaves.

Step 8: Spray the cuttings with a good fungicide for roses. If the stems are thick (about 1/4th inch in diameter), slit them lengthwise to allow more water absorption.

Step 9: Insert the bottom portion of the stems of the rose cuttings in rooting hormone and make sure at least the lowest leaf node is coated with the hormone.

Step 9: Place the cuttings in the prepared holes in the pot and press the soil around the stem firmly.

Step 10: Use plastic straws, bamboo sticks or cut Venetian blinds to keep any plastic from touching the leaves. Then place a gallon zippered bag over the pot. The zippered bag should not fit tightly and will allow some air into the bag, yet keep the cuttings moist and the soil from losing moisture.

Step 11: Place in a well lit area out of direct sunlight. Check every few days to make sure that moisture is being maintained.

Step 12: In about 3-4 weeks, the cuttings will have started to develop roots. In 6-8 weeks, you need to transplant those that have rooted to individual pots.


If you are doing a lot of cuttings and find it time consuming to cover the pots with a plastic bag, a good alternative is to use a product such as Wilt Pruf and give them an occasional misting.

If you do not have a mister, you can apply the Wilt Pruf as needed and keep the plants watered. Wilt Pruf is an organic product made of pine tree resin and helps to prevent moisture loss in the leaves and will also shed excess water. Only apply once, as too much will suffocate the leave causing them to turn brown and fall off.

Soil Moist is a polymer-based product that absorbs up to 200 times it size in water. It releases water into the soil as the soil dries. The more Soil Moist you use, the less you will have to water. This reduces the possibility of the soil getting too dry and harming the newly formed roots, or too wet in case of over watering or excessive rains.

Do not discard the cuttings if the leaves fall off. Just gather up the fallen leaves and discard to discourage black spot. As long as the stem remains green, chances are new leaf shoots will form and the stem cuttings will root. If the stem turns completely brown, remove and discard the stem.

Also, the thicker the stem and larger angle end cuttings will make them root faster and increase their chances of rooting.

Your chances of success and time to root may vary depending on the specific rose variety that you are propagating.

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