The Orange Rose - Growing Roses From Cuttings
How fair is the Rose! What a beatufiul flower!
The glory of April and May;
But the leaves are beginning to fade in an hour,
And they wither and die in a day.
Yet, the Rose has one powerful virtue to boast,
Above all the flowers of the field!
When its leaves are all dead and fine colors are lost,
Still how sweet a perfume it will yield!
So frail is the youth and the beauty of man,
Though they blooms and look gay like the Rose;
But all our fond care to preserve them is vain,
Time kills them as fast as he goes.
Then I’ll not be proud of my youth and my beauty,
Since both of them wither and fade;
But gain a good name by well doing my duty;
This will scent like a rose when I’m dead.
~ Isacc Watts
In the wild, certain colors of roses are natural, such as white, red, yellow, pink, and variations of those colors occur naturally. However, even in Roman times, roses were hybridized to achieve certain desired colors and types of blooms. Thanks to hybridizing, with the exception of the elusive blue rose, mankind and womankind has largely succeeded in achieving roses of many hues, which brings me to the subject of orange roses.
Hybridizing or tinkering with Mother Nature is an irresistible notion, and because I lean towards the less traditional, I too, have to say as much as I love old world roses — I do covet a few hybridized varieties. One of my passions is the delight in seeing and owning orange or peachy colored rose bushes. I have my reasons for loving orange roses, but that’s for another day, place, and time.
Anyway, I was at the garden center this morning. Where I live, even roses are blooming already, so there are lots of gardening choices. I’d like to plant some orange rose bushes, but I know a secret about roses — I have only two choices to get the orange roses that I covet. As I looked longingly at the beautiful roses bushes all in bloom, begging to be taken home.
The trouble is (aside from this season’s hefty prices) I know that if I buy one, the odds are against that rose bush that it will ever look quite as spectacular as the day it came from from the garden center. No matter how much I feed it, spray it, guard it against aphids, etc. — here in our hot and humid climate — most roses don’t do well. For that reason alone I often only grow container roses.
So if I’m not going to buy a rose bush at the garden center what choice do I have? Well, one method for getting a rosebush is to find a bush that have proven to like our soil and climate.
Abandoned gardens, old historic neighborhoods, and even cemetery’s and public gardens are all likely sources. As a never-to-be reformed plant rustler, I like this method for cultivating new roses — but it does have its downfall — because you will be growing “anonymous” roses.
Chances are that if you are successful in starting such roses from your cuttings, that you’ll never know the true name of the rose. I personally think that it’s more important to have a happy rose, one that likes where it was planted and doesn’t need special care.
How To Start Roses From Cuttings
The benefit of starting roses from cuttings far outweighs the sticky little problem of not knowing the rose bush’s true source. Just ask yourself, how many things today in life are free? Well, starting roses from cuttings is pretty much free, at least when it comes to the rose part. Otherwise, it’s cheap.
- Pruning shears
Several one-gallon zippler lock baggies (put moist paper towel in each)
One one-gallon zippler lock baggy with a paper towel liberally moistened with rubbing alcohol
Indelible ink pen
Two liter plastic soda bottles (with bottoms cut out)
When To Take Rose Cuttings
As with most of life, timing is everything and nothing is truer than when it comes to harvesting cuttings from rose bushes.
The only time you take rose cuttings is when the roses are producing their very best blooms.
Here in the South, where roses bloom at least twice a year, that’s once in mid to late spring and again sometime around early fall.
Up North, and for other parts of the United States, where roses tend to bloom but once a year — that is generally sometime in the month of June.
How To Harvest A Rose Cutting
The rules for gathering rose cuttings are fairly simple:
- Be sure to clean your pruners with the rubbing alcohol (each and every time you take a cutting). This insures that you do not bring disease or unwanted insects back to your home.
Cut a rose stem cane at the base (along with the flower). It is a good idea to snip the flower and gather them for a nice floral bowl arrangement in water.
Cut the severed rose stem into several pieces about 4-6 inches long, making sure that each section has 3-5 leaves) sprouting from it.
Seal your cuttings into one of the baggies, writing with the indelible pen, the date, the color of the rose, and any other pertinent descriptors that you might want to include (such as: where you found it, how long the rose bush has been there if known, or things about the fragrance).
Place all cuttings in your cooler to keep them fresh until you get home and until you have the time to start them (you have at least two days for them to remain viable).
Growing The Roses From Cuttings
As with all plants, site selection is key to successful growing. Rose cuttings do best in partial shade, preferrably on a north side of any building (but do not place next to foundation as that will wick the mositure away). Prepare the area with lots of sand, peat moss, and compost to insure that the cuttings will be moist, but not too wet.
- Snip off all of the leaves except the upper most one
- Dip its base into rooting hormone
- Shake off any excess rooting hormone powder
- Using a regular pencil, make a hole about 2-3 inches deep, drop the cutting in, tapping the soil firmly around it
- Water gently
- Cover each cutting with 2-liter empty soda bottle
During hot weather you will need to ventilate by tipping the soda bottle slightly to one side on the lip of a stick, or simply unscrewing the cap from the soda bottle.
Patience is everything, cutting can take a month or more to root and they are simply best left alone. Resist the temptation to tug on them or test them too often.
Once you’ve gently determined that they have rooted, then and only then, remove the soda bottle cover.
If you live in a cold climate or if freezubg temperatures are expected during the next season, do not hesitate to protect them as you would with any tender new plant.
Transplanting Your Rose Cuttings
Next spring all that is left to do is to transplant the rooted cuttings to right where you always wanted to see roses in your garden.
Of course, this may look a little strange at first if your rose bushes are really small. Some rose lovers will simply setting them in a sunny spot and let them grow up before transplanting them.
After that, all that is left to do is wait for your roses to bloom! (1-2 years).
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