Propagating roses from root cuttings?

Does anyone know how to propagate plants from root cuttings? I was aondering how because I read that plants from such cutting could have a higher chance of being a sport.

Hi Adam,

Randy Hughes and I wrote an article on the subject a number of years back.

Hi Adam,

Do a search on Garden Web. It should be or similar. Then click on the forums. Then click on the Rose Propagation Forum. Dao, who is from Australia, I believe, just did a post on root cuttings with pictures. He has done a lot of propagation. I think his name is dmavain or close to it. He just posted it recently. If you have trouble let me know and I’ll get the url.


Adam, I think this is Dao’s article. There is a problem getting to the Rose Propagation Forum. Go the and click on forums. Then go down the list to Rose Propagation and Exchange and click on Root Grafting for Enthusiasts. The poster is dmaivn. Good luck


Dao’s article relates to using root sections as direct root stock pieces for grafting scions onto. This is a great idea. Because of your comment Adam about uncovering sports or generating them more readily, I suspect you are referring to root pieces that you try to generate shoots off of and not grafting. There seems to be quite a bit of variability among roses for the ease of root cuttings to work. I have a seedling I really love that I had to move this past spring. I kept getting adventitious shoots sprouting throughout the season from the severed roots that remained in the soil. It was a pleasant surprise. THis rose did not sucker before this. After I dug the main plant I purposefully placed root sections I cut off into a flat laying horizontally just below the soil surface and have a dozen plants from that effort.

I think a person may be able to manipulate things too with using the hormone cytokinin to try to generate shoots from some of the more difficult roses. That would be a great experiment for someone to try. I think that nurseries that are growing own root roses can readily try to take root cuttings from their bareroot stock during storage. This can hopefully be useful as you mention to try to help expose or generate a little more variability from which to try to find sports.



David I was talking about generateing shoots from roots and not grafting. I did find the grafting info jim posted to be interesting.

David the article you and Randy wrote gave me what I was looking for. After reading it I was wondering why it suggested that the roots needed to be taken from near the crown and not farther away. Is their some reason for this? Do they not grow as well or is their some other reson.

Maybe they have more reserves + the farther away from the root tip, the less fragile & more evolved it will be. That’s my guess anyhow.

Hi Adam,

It seems like the closer the roots are to the crown, the more potential there is for adventitious shoots to start. I suspect there may be some hormonal involvment. I’m not sure. Maybe like you suggest Jadae too that the further away we get the roots may have less food reserves too.

Sometimes with root cuttings we can get a very very nice shoot coming off of the root, but it can be challenging to generate new roots off of the old root piece. Sometimes the new roots then come from the base of the new stem. I experienced that with a flat of root cuttings of a double white rugosa hybrid. They looked great and were a few inches tall, but never rooted even from the base of new stem tissue. Dr. Peter Ascher suggested that when that happens I should try breaking the shoot off of the root and try to root the stem as a regular softwood cutting. I’m thankful that all roses aren’t that challenging.



I have a root sport of White Pet. It happened when a White Pet in a 5 gal. pot sent roots down into the ground. When I moved the pot, some roots stayed in the ground and sent up a new plant. The roots that generated the sport had been about a foot from the crown. Unfortunately, the sport is inferior to the original, so I haven’t bothered to propagate it. White Pet itself is a sport of Felicite Perpetue, so it comes from a genetic background that has a tendency to sport.

At the WFRS meeting in Houston, Robert Osbourne from New Brunswick Canada gave a talk on propagation of roses from root cuttings. One photo he showed was of cut up segments of roots (less than an inch long) in a pot of starting medium. He mentioned he had written it up and it was published somewhere.

I haven’t seen it, though and am still looking for it.

On similar topic, has anyone seen the summary article whose abstract is linked below?

Hello Ann,

There are a lot of books by Robert Osbourne.

Check out the link below and you may find what you are looking for.

George Mander

Link: "Robert Osbourne"+roses - Google Search

Sorry the link does not work and I will try it again, as the http was on the double.



Hi David,

Hope you are well. I had a dream about you last night and

wonder how you are doing.

We moved into a condo almost 4 years ago and we are enjoying gardening very much now. I’m into rose bushes and have a question about a Sarah Van Fleet. Can we plant it in zone 5?

Pleaase e mail back and let us have your phone number. I would love to call you and have a conversation with you. We think about your folks and hope they are doing well.

Please get in touch with us…we miss you.

n Christ,

Barb and Joe