Starting method's

I really want to build up a number of verity’s over the next few years so in the attempt to expand I also want to spend a little money to build a good quality method of starting rose’s from cuttings.

I don’t have a greenhouse yet but there are plans to purchase one this coming spring. Would anyone like to share the set up there currently using to start rose’s from a cutting?

Pictures would be great

A good quality method would be to have a water well and misting system. I scrape by with an aquarium rooting system for now (what used to be called a ‘garden bell’). It works OK on a hobby level. This year I am rooting what I believe to be Zephirine Drouhin (found), New Dawn (someone else’s), and yet another found rose.

Last year I rooted these florist valentine’s day roses (I rooted four varieties for which I do not know their names… also a white and tangerine not picured):



Great job there with the aquarium system - and great Blog

Do you think one or two raised beds with hoops and plastic covers would work as well this spring - just for cuttings?

We have several local companies that sell mister nozzles that work with 1/2 sch 40 PVC - so a timer should be all the other necessities with the exception of how long and how often to mist.


George put me onto a method of starting cuttings that has been working very well for me lately and it is simple, cheap, and doesn’t take up much room.

All you do is make all your cuttings somewhere around 15-20cm long (I cut the base with a sloping cut behind a bud), remove all their leaves as they harbour lots of fungi etc (you could dip them in some kind of fungicide but I don’t tend to bother. I also don’t tend to bother using any rooting hormones though sometimes make a batch of willow tea to stand cuttings in over night), bundle them up and wrap them in newspaper (like wrapping take-away fish ‘n’ chips :wink: ), put a rubber band around the top and bottom to keep the whole thing together. Run the newspaper under a tap to moisten it, allow all excess to drip off, then seal it all in a plastic bag and forget it for a while. Some will begin callousing after only a week. E.g. multiflora cuttings respond extremely quickly to this method whilst others have taken 6-8 weeks to begin callousing. ‘Tineke’ calloused for me in just 3 weeks and my little wichurana mini developed callouses after only 2 weeks. When they’ve started callousing pot them on as you would normal rooted cuttings and keeping them humid until leaves and roots begin to appear. I have a few large clear tubs (about 140 litrres so nearly about 70cm long by 50cm wide and about 40cm tall) that I put a 10cm layer of moist perlite and peat in that I plant the calloused cuttings straight into, put the clear lid on it, put it outside in a shaded position (as the sun will cook them quickly) and they are ready to begin hardening off in just a few more weeks. With my multiflora cuttings I do this except instead of planting them in the tub I stick them straight in the ground after pre-callousing them and they are away in about a week and I tend to do about 50 at a time. I do this at all times of the year and it occurs faster in the warmer months than the cold.


Thank you for the information, everything I read say’s take cuttings with the leaves attached but obviously you and George have discovered a better method - I was planning to prune some of my tea roses this coming week so could you add any special handling instructions for winter rooting?

I think I’ll try to root everything I prune off this week (within reason) :slight_smile:

Depends how you do it Hayne… Leaves help produce auxins that assist with root development and are beneficial. I just remove the leaves for this method (which suits winter production perfectly) because it is very humid and dark and a perfect environment for fungi which can go crazy and ruin everything in a very short time if I don’t. Jim Sproul showed me photos of his mist propagation setup and if I could set something like this up I would… it is excellent! I just can’t afford to build a greenhouse and misting setup yet… Paul Barden has a baggie method for propagating semi-hardwood spring/summer cuttings (with leaves) that also works really well for a cheap alternative. This method is here: My clear tubs is basically a bigger version of the baggie method on his website. Paul also has a whole lot of propagation articles written by the late Mr Ralph Moore reproduced on his website so while you are at the above link it is worth looking at the site index and reading these too… actually I would almost say it is essential… reading them was a turning point for my owm improved success with rose cuttings… I owe a lot to Paul for his advice and his website…so… I guess it’s a matter of choosing what works for you and looking at when and how you are doing it. The wet newpaper method above works really well on leafless dormant stems that one would normally pruned off and discard anyway or when the only material you have is older harder wood… misting works well when you need to propagate at warmer times of the year when you have softer material and foliage to consider :slight_smile: Using the clear tubs I can easily strike several hundred rose in just a few weeks (which I then sell at local marketts to help save $$$ for a greenhouse and proper setup). I could easily bypass the wet newspaper step and put them straight into the tubs… I just don’t because if the cuttings are going to fail they will do so in the newspaper and the callousing just seems more reliable this way. This method is used by commerical growers here in Australia to pre-callous very large numbers of ‘Dr Huey’ and multiflora understocks because you can do several thousand at a time and have them take up very little room.

Thank you Simon"

I really appreshate your input - I’ll attempt to root all my prunings with your method - should you talk with Jim Sproul in the next few days please tell him I would love to see the pictures of his mist propagation setup


He’s probably already seen it :wink: he’s one of the gurus here…


Thanks for putting up the information about rooting cuttings in the fridge. I have been all over the internet trying to find a good method of starting hardwood during the winter. I’ll let you know how it comes out.

Jeff Stover

Took a few pics of some cuttings I have in newspaper now:

  1. The whole thing:

  2. The cuttings after two weeks. A little mould is growing and I’ll probably change the paper soon:

  3. Close-up of the newly forming callouses. Cutting not cut on an angle this time… stems are really thin so I just snipped them below a bud. Variety is one of my thornless wichurana/miniature seedlings:

    I’ll probably refresh the newspaper and leave them in there another two weeks for the callous to thicken up and then plant them out.

Thanks for the tips and pictures Simon. For all the years I’ve been growing rose, I’m still very unsuccessful at rooting them. But after seeing your method, I think I’m ready to give it another try.

Not my method Tom. George put me onto it :wink: It hasn’t worked for everything… but I guess nothing does.

Who ever’s method - it looks worth a good try and I really appreciate the information. Building numbers is expensive and I’m you typical red neck country poor folk :slight_smile:

So big thank you!

Jeff said>>>>>>>>Thanks for putting up the information about rooting cuttings in the fridge<<<<<<<

Jeff, the newspaper/plastic bag system Simon has described in such detail here, is not meant to be refrigerated. It should be left somewhere at room temperature indoors. The colder the temperature, the slower the callousing, and you don’t want that…

This is a great method to use on hardwood cuttings in the winter, especially useful if you have very difficult to root roses that for whatever reason you don’t want to propagate by budding onto rootstocks…such as for example ‘R. Fortuneana’…I believe for ‘R.Fortuneana’ the ideal ambient temperature is indoors at (~57F), but basically this is not critical at all, unless you live in an igloo LOL…You wait a couple of weeks, and then just periodically check the callousing on the bases of the cuttings, (eg weekly), and pull out and pot out those that have a good callous seal around the bases. The less developed ones are left in the system for as long as is required to get good callousing.

This pre-callousing greatly minimises the chances of the bases rotting out/or getting infections when they are planted in propagation media.

Ideally select cuttings the thickness of a pencil or finger, so that the cutting has enough stored carbohydrate to compensate for the absence of leaves/photosynthesis.


Thanks for clarifying.

You’re welcome Jeff. The idea is certainly no “discovery” as such…LOL

Actually, it is a method adopted by some commercial growers I have chatted to over the years. In the Western part of my country, where ‘R.Fortuneana’ is utilised heaps as rootstock, this way is probably the way they get masses of rootstocks going, I believe.

Anyway, have fun with it, all that wish to try it!