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Rose Propagation
From Cuttings

By Dr. William C. Welch
Professor and Landscape Horticulturist
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

ne of the joys of growing old roses is the fact that most of them thrive as own root plants; that is, they will grow as well - or better - from cuttings as they do when grafted onto a rootstock, the way most modern roses are grown and sold. Rooting cuttings is a relatively simple matter. It is the way most old roses were handed down from one family member or friend to another, and the way many old rose collectors prefer growing them today. Fortunately for us in Texas and the South, most of our better adapted old roses are particularly well adapted to growing on their own roots and can be successfully propagated by anyone interested in making the effort. Remember that roses still under patent (17 years from date of introduction) cannot be legally propagated without paying a royalty to the holder of the patent.

Some old roses, like those in the Gallica and Rugosa classes, tend to sucker badly and may spread into areas where they are not welcome. If this is a concern, varieties that sucker may be grafted or budded onto a rootstock that does not have this characteristic, such as R. fortuniana or R. multiflora.

The following suggestions for rooting rose cuttings are not likely to result in 90 to 100 percent rooting, but neither do they require special structures, watering systems, or daily supervision. Success will vary because of the large number of variables involved, but many people report 50 to 75 percent of the cuttings they treat in this manner develop into usable plants.

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