How to Grow Roses From Cuttings

Updated: Jun. 05, 2023

If you admire your friend's rose bush, you might wonder how to make and grow roses from cuttings. Find out what a horticultural expert says.

Growing Roses From Cuttings: What You Need to Know

rose cuttings ‘the Lark Ascending’ (musk Hybrid)David Austin Roses
The Lark Ascending English shrub rose

“My mother used to successfully grow rose cuttings under a jar. However, I have not had any luck. How can I grow roses from cuttings this way? asks Birds & Blooms reader Dick Milosovic of Macedonia, Ohio.

Horticultural expert Melinda Myers: Parents and grandparents often have that magical ability to make anything root and grow, don’t they? You can start by taking a 4- to 6-inch cutting from roses that are about to bloom or have just bloomed. Remove any flowers and buds. Dip the cut end in a rooting hormone to encourage rooting and discourage disease.

Stick the rose cutting in a container filled with a well-drained potting mix. Keep the soil moist and the container out of direct sunlight. Loosely cover with plastic to increase the humidity as the cutting develops roots. In four to eight weeks the cutting should be rooted and ready to move into the garden or a new container.

Check out these expert tips for planting bare root roses.

Backyard Tip: If you have a new variety of a plant that you’re eager to share, first check the plant’s tag to see if that cultivar has a patent. It is illegal to propagate plants that are under patent. Older, established garden favorites are safe bets for cuttings.

Roses not blooming? Here’s what to do.

Cotton Rose Cutting

Bnbugc Joyce BokinaCourtesy Joyce Bokina
This mystery plant goes by the common name cotton rose.

“My sister received a cutting of this plant from a friend. What is it?” asks reader Joyce Bokina of Hixson, Tennessee.

Melinda Myers: Your sister is the lucky recipient of Hibiscus mutabilis. The seed capsules that appear after the flowers fade release fuzzy seeds, inspiring the plant’s common name: cotton rose. Note that despite this plant’s name, it is not a type of rose.

It grows into a shrub 6 to 8 feet tall in Zones 9 though 11. In Zones 7 and 8 it may die back to the ground but reappear in spring. In colder climates it is treated as an annual or overwintered indoors. Cotton rose grows best in full sun to light shade and in rich, well-draining soil.

Next, learn how to grow a rose of Sharon shrub.