Tips for taking cuttings


can anyone share their tips to ensure successful rooting of cuttings? in my climate, minnesota, i suppose softwood cuttings in early summer would be best in time to pot them on and get them in the ground for winter. i have tried the ziploc bag greenhouse method with little success this year, but i’m wondering if my canes were too small or the bag too wet. about half the cuttings molded up. i used the #8 strength rooting powder.

also willing to try growing them out under a light in the winter, since i’m planning for that anyway, if there’s a better way.


1 Like

ah, i’ve read in another topic that alkaline water can inhibit rooting… my water is very alkaline (almost ph9 at times), so maybe i should try distilled.

1 Like

I would recommend layering over taking cuttings. The success rate is much higher for me. There are quite a few videos on YouTube on how to do it. Use gel rooting hormone, not powder - rooting powders have never worked for me. Clonex is the gel brand I use.

Here is one video but instead of cracking the stem like he says - too easy to break the stem - I find it better to scrape off some bark and add rooting gel where the stem is underground.


I would add, instead of just “scraping off some bark”, pay attention and try your best to scrape off the outer bark and leave as much cambium tissue as possible as that is what calluses and forms roots. If you scrape through it to the pith, only the remaining cambium exposed around the wound will callus and potentially root. The more cambium remaining in the wound, the greater the callus and root formation. You can practice exposing cambium by scraping the bark with a sharp knife or single edged razor blade on prunings you would likely discard anyway. You can recognize cambium as it is the brighter green, “juicier” looking tissue just under the bark, between it and the whiter, “drier” pith at the center of the cane.


Thanks for adding that info! I have certainly made the mistake of scraping too deep.

1 Like

You’re welcome! We ALL have!

Right my tips are this.

  1. Clean secateurs (you can leave them in a cup of tomato ketchup for a day before wiping it off)

  2. Cut just below a leaf node, making sure that there is at least 3 leaf nodes on the “cutting”. (Effectively where there are leaves there will usually be a node)

3.Rooting hormone will increase the chances but you don’t need it

  1. Take more than you want, worst case scenario you can give free roses to your family/friends with a lovely story.

  2. The growing medium should have good aeration and low nutrition (as this will help prevent fungal infection) so get compost for seedlings/cuttings and then if you want to optimise it, also buy perlite. Mix the perlite 50% 50% with the cutting soil.

  3. You want its environment to be humid but not wet… I’ll try to explain. When you put the cutting into the soil mix, water it until damp(not soaking). Then cover it with a plastic sandwich bag or a plastic bottle and secure it (don’t let it touch the cutting if you can. Then leave it until roots come out of the bottom of the pot you used. So use a small pot (big enough that the bottom where the callus is will form is actually in soil). I have found you can take them out during the process but it’s probably not worth the risk.

7.Dont leave it in full sun, mostly partly shaded with some morning sun. I find I don’t need to use plastic bottles or sandwich bags in the right spot.

  1. There are different types of cutting, I recommend “semi ripe” for best chances of success in what I have explained above. Hard wood cuttings are also easy, find a patch that doesn’t get soaked/sodden in the winter and make a trench slit with a spade and shove them in and leave them, depending on the rose and your soil, a lot of them will take without much effort by spring.

However you could just shove some random length pieces (beneath the node) into parts of bare ground in your garden. That can work, just less likely