One of my favorite things about old roses, in addition to their wild habit, wonderful scent, and vintage look, is that many of them are propagated by cuttings and grown on their own roots.

Native roses are hard to find, but heartier, healthier, and longer-lived. When you order them from specialty nurseries, they are shipped in bare root containers like the one pictured below.

The great thing about older rose varieties is that they are no longer protected by plant patents and can be propagated legally.

Rows of roses in potsMany modern roses, such as hybrid teas, floribundas, and many of the newer David Austin varieties, are propagated by the budding process, where licensed breeders, usually licensed to distribute patented varieties, take plant material from the variety they want. rootstock

This process allows rose growers to produce them quickly, efficiently and on a large commercial scale. These are large, bare root grafted roses and the first roses I planted in the cutting garden.

Erin Benzake holds a bunch of bare root rosesErin Benzakein plants bare root rosesIn my experience, the disadvantage of grafted roses is that they are generally not as hardy. If they are exposed to extremely cold temperatures, the top half of the grafted variety will die and the rootstock will live without you noticing until next season when it blooms with an ugly red/red single flower! If a non-grafted (own root) rose is killed in the ground, it will grow back to its type, which is great for gardeners in colder climates. In my experience, I have found that native plants are generally healthier and live longer.

Although I prefer to grow my own rooted roses, this is certainly not required, and I still have several grafted varieties growing beautifully in my garden. But given the choice, I prefer to buy my own root when they are available.

Flowers at Floret FarmIt should be noted that the distribution of patented varieties is illegal. Rose patents last about 20 years, so if there’s a variety you’re thinking of promoting, you’ll want to make sure at least 20 years have passed.

Here is a great article about how to know which varieties of roses are protected by plant patents and which varieties you can freely propagate.

Pale pink flowers growing wildI’m no expert when it comes to propagating roses by cuttings, but I’ve had decent success over the years.

There is so much conflicting advice out there and it can be overwhelming when you start researching different methods – there are so many ways you can do it.

Light pink single flowerFor me, it’s a numbers game when it comes to propagating all kinds of plants, especially flowers. I buy as much slime as I can, knowing that many can’t.

So the more I do, the better chance I have of getting it right.

Combined photo of team flowers and light pink rosesAfter realizing that we could take cuttings from Anne’s collection, which was an unexpected surprise, I wanted to do everything I could to ensure that we had the highest possible success rate for this project, so I contacted Burling Leong. Burlington roses who generously shares his expertise (one of my favorite sources for rare and heirloom varieties).

Containers of rose cuttings in the Floret greenhouseBurling recommended that we set up a misting system with a fine mist nozzle so that the cuttings can get good air flow as well as adequate moisture.

He recommended a mixture of two-thirds perlite and one-third peat moss or coconut husk, and recommended using 50- or 72-cell trays instead of pots because they don’t require a lot of soil or space and we had a lot of cuttings. .

On his advice, I made a liquid rooting hormone into a powder called Hormex, which is very easy to use.

Erin Benzakein holds a rose for Nina to smell The Floret team is working on propagating rose cuttings in the Floret greenhouseTo prepare the cell trays, we mixed perlite and peat, wet it and filled the trays with the mixture, pressing them down on the table to remove air pockets.

Then Jill went over with a pencil and pre-drilled holes in the center of each cell until it hit the bottom of the container. Then the pots were ready to receive the cuttings.

Looks like Erin Benzake's heirloom bouquetsErin Benzakein is working on propagating rose cuttingsWhile we were at Anna’s, we cut about 12-inch rosebuds (it was the thickness of a pencil) from the plants, sorted them by variety, and transported them from her garden to our farm in water containers.

The Floret team is working on the propagation of rose cuttings Belle Story rose cuttings in a potRose cuttings and pot propagation suppliesOnce back at the farm, we processed the cuttings, cutting each long cane into smaller pieces with at least three internodes (leaves) per section.

We then removed the lower leaves, usually leaving a set of leaves at the top of the stem, unless they wilted during the journey.

Jill Jorgensen dips a rose cutting in root powder Jill Jorgensen places rose cuttings on a trayThen we dipped the tip of the stem into the root powder and slid them down the pre-peeled holes in the cell tray and gently firmed the soil around the stem.

Containers of planted rose cuttings Containers of planted rose cuttingsAfter the trays were filled with cuttings, they were labeled with the cultivar name and date and placed under misters that appeared every hour for a few minutes throughout the day.

Then the hard part began…waiting to see if it worked.

Containers of planted rose cuttingsContainers of planted rose cuttingsGenerally, cuttings take 4-6 weeks to root, sometimes longer depending on the variety.

After we saw the white roots starting to form and the bottom of the cell pot, we very gently transplanted them into larger pots to give them room to spread.

Closure of planted rose cuttingsThese delicate little cuttings will spend the winter in the greenhouse (kept above freezing) and then transplanted back into larger pots in the spring as new growth begins.

I think we will grow them in pots for at least a year before planting them in the garden to make sure they have the best chance of survival.

Close-up of growing planted rose cuttingsIf you are a rose cutting expert and have any tips or tricks to share, I’d love to hear them in the comments section below.

In the next post, I will share a little more about my favorite specialty in the states, rose gardens and how we grow roses on the farm.

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