Monday, 7 December 2009
Have you ever tried to grow a rose from cuttings. I have and I've had quite a few successes (see below)! I thought I'd share my method for anyone who wants to try. Finding a beautiful rose is never part of my problem! I'm always lusting over the garden fence at deep reds, bright yellows, pretty pinks, little cottage climbers or in this case, heritage beauties with deep rose scent.
My neighbour May has a deep pink scented rose growing near her door. May's mother in law planted it before May lived in the house, over 60 years ago, May is 92 this year! I love this rose, I like its cupped shape, the heady scent and I love its history and that it reminds me of someone special.
I've struck it before so I know it takes easily. Unfortunately the little plant was lost in a heatwave last year, while we were away. But I know anyway that May wants another plant to give to her bingo bus driver! So this morning when I was deadheading her roses I kept a few stems.
The best cuttings are stems which have had a flower grow on the end, like in the picture. Cut them about 20 cms from the end, bring them inside and put them in a vase if you aren't ready to pot them. I've had roses strike like this, in a warm spot on the windowsill but just to be safe pot them up. Here is my method:
* Cut the stems just below a 'node' (the nobbly bit where the leaves come out.) This is where all the good hormones are. Cut off the dead flower head.
* Peel a thin sliver from the outer skin to expose the layer where all the good stuff is. If you aren't confident about this don't worry. Also optional is dipping the cut end in honey or rooting hormone which helps it strike.
* Pack a small pot with seed raising mix (I love this stuff and you can buy a small bag at the nursery). Alternatively mix a little sand with your potting mix. This makes it drain quickly so the stems don't sit around wet.
* Water the empty pot gently with a watering can. Firm the soil.
* Poke a few stems in together around the pot. Firm the soil so it is close against the stems. (I've probably put too many cuttings in this small pot).
* Cover with a plastic vegie bag, tuck it in around the bottom and put the pot in a shady but warm place.
* Check every so often. Some of the cuttings will die and rot and need to be removed. Same with some of the leaves will usually fall off. If the pot seems dry top up the water.
Some people think that roses grown on their own roots, rather than grafted, are stronger and more long lived. I haven't had mine long enought to comment.
Read part two of rose cuttings here, or about growing roses from seed here and here.