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Propagation Techniques
for Roses and Many Other Plants Rooted from Cuttings

Rose Growers of roses and other plants always have several varieties that are favorites.  From these favorites there may be some which are desirable to propagate to make new plants. This is especially true when older varieties are no longer commercially available.

Propagating roses (and other plants) by rooting softwood cuttings is a simple way to obtain more plants. Some varieties are usually self-rooted. Other varieties have the upper portion budded or grafted onto a root stock; these root stocks are usually propagated from cuttings. "Old Garden Roses", shrub roses and miniature roses may be grown on their own roots. Modern hybrid teas and floribundas are less predictable.

Rose Plant Varieties: Many rose varieties cuttings are best taken from young stems of the current seasons growth. When taking cuttings from "non-stop" varieties select stems on which the flowers petals have just fallen. For "annually flowering" varieties take cuttings in the late Spring after the flowers have faded.
Budding and Grafting: If you intend to bud or graft plants the rootstock plants are produced from cuttings. First root the rootstocks from cuttings then perform the budding or grafting operations. Some growers graft and root the root stocks at the same time; this technique is called stenting.
Grafting success may be improved using rooting hormones:
Success of a graft union depends on the establishment of a callus bridge between the cut surfaces of scion and stock, and the subsequent establishment of a functioning vascular cylinder connecting scion and stock. Initial callus formation appears to develop about equally on the cut surfaces of both partners, arising not from the cambial layers but from parenchyma cells, mostly in the wood just inside the camblum. Soon after scion and stock calluses have merged, callus cells just below the cambial cells of the scion begin to divide in the same plane as the camblum. Waves of cell division proceed from the top down, suggesting that a regulatory stimulus moves to the cut surface from the growing-shoot tip. Callus parenchyma cells inside the new camblum cylinder re-differentiate into functioning xylem cells. Last of all, the new cambium begins producing phloem cells.

Taking the Cuttings: Take roses cuttings with some leaves attached. The leaves provide sugars from photo-synthesis. When taking winter cuttings, November through January, some rose varieties will root without leaves. Depending upon the variety select cuttings with five leaves. The cuttings should be taken in the cool time of the day. Be careful not to let the cuttings dehydrate; place them in a poly bag, seal and place in a refrigerated area at 38-40F (3C). Allow a day in a refrigerator to seal the wound.


Type of Cutting: Before you take any cuttings be sure to choose a healthy, disease-free stem. The type of cut taken can vary. You can leave a bud and leaf node at the base. Or, leave just a smooth area of stem internode. For some varieties take the cuttings with a node at the base; the node area may root more easily. Depending upon the age of the cutting, for an older cutting wound the base of the cutting by making 1/2 to 1 inch vertical slits with a knife.
Rooting Hormone Application Methods to Select:



Basal Quick Dip

First treat the cuttings then plant them. Immerse the basal end of cuttings approximately one inch in the solution for a few seconds. Plant the cuttings immediately.
Use the lowest possible concentration to achieve the desired results. Excess concentration may result in reduced numbers of roots formed, phyto toxicity, shock, excessive callus, and rooting inequality.



Basal Long Soak

Use the Basal Long Soak Method on cuttings which are more difficult to root or are more woody. A long soak of the cuttings in a low concentration solution causes the plant tissues to absorb the active ingredients. Use this method on plants which may be sensitive to high concentration used in the Quick Dip Method. Immerse the basal end of cuttings approximately one inch in the solution for 12-25 hours nominal. Plant the cuttings immediately or cuttings can be stored  in cold storage.



Dry Dip Method
Dip the basal end of the cuttings 3/4 to 1 inch into the Rhizopon AA dry powder rooting hormones, one by one or in small bundles. Make sure that the powder is evenly distributed in a thin even layer (1/32 to 1/16 inch) over the whole base of the cutting. Too much powder on the cuttings might result in excessive rooting where there is surplus powder. Root formation can be expected all over the part of the cutting covered with the powder. Avoid contact between the powder and foliage and other over ground parts of the stem since it may cause phyto toxicity. Tap off the excess powder. Plant the cuttings immediately in moist media. After treating cuttings take care of them.
Apply Rhizopon AA dry powder rooting hormones, usually Rhizopon AA #1 or Rhizopon AA #2 (BEST) early in the season or Rhizopon AA #3 (for harder to root cuttings) later in the season.


Total Immerse Method

First totally immerse the cuttings in the fresh Rhizopon AA Water Soluble Tablet or Hortus IBA Water Soluble Salts solution for a few seconds then plant them. You can use a basket to dip the cuttings in a tub. Prevent bruising by not placing too many cuttings in the solution at once. Allow time for the solution to dry on the cuttings before watering, misting or covering. The temperature of the solution should be at least equal to the cutting temperature. A cold solution temperature causes the stomata of the cuttings close; the amount of active ingredients absorbed is reduced.

Use Rhizopon AA Water Soluble Tablets at 3-5 tablets per liter of water. Using of Rhizopon AA will result in a higher percentage of root strikes and a more of roots on each cutting.

(Alternately you can use use Hortus IBA Water Soluble Salts at 3/4 to 1-1/4 gram per liter of water.)


There is a major benefit to use this method. The bud eyes keep dormant until the root is developed thereby achieving a stronger plant.

Alternate, use the
at the Same Rates

Spray Drip Down Method
First plant the cuttings. Spray the solution evenly over the cuttings until drops go down to the media.

Use Rhizopon AA Water Soluble Tablets at 3-5 tablets per liter of water. Using of Rhizopon AA will result in a higher percentage of root strikes and a more of roots on each cutting.

(Alternately you can use use Hortus IBA Water Soluble Salts at 3/4 to 1-1/4 gram per liter of water.)

Planting and Taking Care of the Cuttings:
Hints for taking care of the Cuttings Fill the pots firmly with a sterile potting mix which is moist not soggy. Several cuttings can be planted in the same pot. Treat the cuttings with rooting hormones using the Rhizopon AA dry powder rooting hormone Dry Dip Method
a Rhizopon AA Water Soluble Tablet or Hortus IBA Water Soluble Salts (to make fresh solutions) Solution method.
Place the cutting in the hole and firm the soil very tightly around it.

Control the Humidity:

To prevent the cuttings from dehydrating through the leaves and stems the cuttings are often propagated under mist systems in controlled greenhouses or tunnels, in cutting trays covered with plastic.

Maintain adequate moisture in the soil and air humidity. Commercial growers usually use mist system to prevent wilting. A fine mist of water is sprayed over the cuttings for a few seconds every few minutes. Another method is to stick the cuttings in pots or trays then cover and seal the pot with clear plastic; a poly bag works well when covering a small pot. When available use a misting system.

"Pop-Bottle Method":

Pop Bottle
Construct "greenhouses" for the cuttings using empty two liter soft drink bottles small pots or cups. use a knife to cut off the bottom of the bottle where the solid-colored section is joined to the clear section. Discard the bottom. Keep the bottle cap. Use pots which fit into the bottle bottom. The top of the bottle should just fit snugly inside the pot rim. Place the top from the soda bottle over the cutting and press it gently into the soil. Make sure that there are no gaps through which evaporation could occur. Put the cap on the bottle, but do not tighten. After a few hours check the bottles to make sure there is some moisture condensed on the inside of each. If not, your soil may not have been moist enough and a small amount of additional water should be added. Place the bottles in a bright light but not in direct sunlight as below. In the hot Summer keep in bright shade to prevent over heating  the tender plants.
"Baggie Method:"

Baggie Method
Use large zip lock clear plastic food storage bags to create the greenhouse atmosphere. Fold the top of the bag down several inches in order to keep the zipper clean while filling the bag. Place some moist potting soil into the bag. Firm both soil and bag into a ball shape with a flattened bottom. Use a stick to poke a 2" deep hole in the soil not the plastic. Treat the cuttings with rooting hormones. Insert the cutting. and firm the soil tightly around it. Unfold the top of the bag and close most of the zipper, leaving the last inch open. Inflate the bag to expand it then close the remaining length. Finally, place the bag in indirect light as below.
Control after Sticking and Treating Place the cutting pots in a place where heat does not heat the cuttings. The cuttings should have bright light to allow photosynthesis. In the spring many varieties will develop roots in ten days to two weeks. Some varieties can be rooted in three to four weeks. In the winter roots may form in four to eight weeks. To determine if a cutting is rooted you can tug lightly on it; if it resists being pulled out of the pot it is likely rooted.

Cuttings which are treated by the Rhizopon AA Water Soluble Tablet or Hortus IBA Water Soluble Salts by the Total Immerse Method will develop roots fast and have a delayed bud sprout. The cutting is initially putting its energy to making roots before making leaf.

Take care of the cuttings. Acclimation of the newly-rooted plants should be done gradually. After the cuttings are rooted remove discontinue the mist or remove the cover. Harden them off for a few days by putting the pots in the shade in a cool place. Once the plants have adjusted to normal humidity they can be place in regular pots to continue their growth. After the plants have a good root system move them into brighter light.

(graft part shown below)

Stenting Graft
Stenting is a method for the quick propagation of roses. Cutting and grafting is performed in one action. In Dutch the word "stenting" means "to stem". It is a combination "stekken" meaning "to strike a cutting" and "enter" meaning "to graft". The success of simultaneous cutting and grafting is cost effective.
In practice, the scion consists of the cultivar stem taken with one leaf and a dormant bud. The scion is grafted on a single internode of the non-rooted rootstock. Formation of the graft union and of adventitious roots on the rootstock occur simultaneously. The combined process takes three weeks.

For additional information:
See stenting done in a commercial greenhouse (link)

Air Layering:

Air Layer

Air layering involves the wounding the stem of the plant while it is on the stock plant. Treat the stem then cover it. Roots form in the covered area. The tip of the stem sticking out of the covered area will continue to grow. It will soon become a new plant with it's own roots. The roots form at the wound. After the roots form sever the stem from the stock plant.

Use Rhizopon AA dry powder rooting hormones to treat air layers. Apply using a clean soft brush using Rhizopon AA #2 or #3 dry powder rooting hormones. If using cocoa fibers make sure the processing salts have been removed. As an alternate you can use Rhizopon AA Water Soluble Tablets or  Hortus IBA Water Soluble Salts.   Soak the moss or cocoa fibers in 3-10 tablets per liter water. Wound the stem of the cane. Apply the fiber. Cover the fibers with aluminum foil to protect against drying out.

See: Other Special Techniques

Improve Rose Bush Transplanting: Root regeneration of rose plants is promoted by application of Rhizopon AA solutions. The active ingredients in Rhizopon AA Water Soluble Tablets applied to root segments increase the number of regenerated roots as well as root length.

A rose crop often starts with transplanting dormant material. Problems with survival and bush development may be due to bad root re-growth (root regeneration). A treatment that would decrease the time to new root initiation and increase the number of roots or the elongation rate of the roots should increase the chances of successful establishment and early productivity of rose plants. Re-growth of roots is generally known as root-regenerating potential (RRP) which is defined as the capacity of roots to elongate or initiate and elongate new lateral roots.

Growers use Rhizopon AA when transplanting rooted rose bushes to improve early flower yield. Roses, Inc. growers produce 80% of the rose flowers grown in the US. These growers follow the lead of their Dutch counterparts to increase flower yield by using Rhizopon AA. The following is excerpted from a technical report published in the Roses Inc. Bulletin (October 1992).

Bare Root Rose Transplants ←The photograph on the left is an un-treated one year rose bush. On the right is a RhizoponAA Water Soluble Tablet treated one year rose bush. Notice that the treated bush has more fibrous growth and greater root mass.
Traditionally American rose growers allowed one to two years of growth before transplanting rose bushes. Without special treatment a young rose transplant uses its energy to rebuild a root system instead of entire plant growth. Without a strong root system the plant has reduced ability to feed and receive water therefore subject to stress and possible mortality.
Dutch growers, for over fifty years, transplant half year old rose bushes. To improve root regeneration and increased first year flower yield when transplanting bare root rose bushes the roots are immersed in a solution containing Rhizopon AA Water Soluble Tablets dissolved in water. The roots are not cut back except for damaged or broken roots. Living roots contain stored carbohydrates.

Transplanting Technique: The bare roots of the rose bushes are immersed for ten minutes in a solution containing three Rhizopon AA tablets per liter water or five minutes at five Rhizopon AA tablets per liter water or Hortus IBA Water Soluble Salts at 3/4 to 1 1/4 gram per liter of water. (The exact rate is not critical)

After treatment the rose bushes are planted immediately. At planting time the soil temperature should be above 60F and air temperature above 65F with relative humidity at 80%. Warm soil temperature is a major factor in utilization of the active ingredients.



Hortus IBA Water Soluble Salts Hortus IBA Water Soluble Salts
USE WATER TO MAKE FRESH IBA ROOTING SOLUTIONS TO OVER 100,000 ppm. Always in solution. pH Neutral
The Salts are 1/3-1/5th the cost, and are superior to "Research" IBA/KIBA and "DIP" alcohol based "Rooting Solutions".
For Distributor referral and Distributor ordering, contact: Phytotronics, 314-770-0717,  sales@phytotronics.com See Phytotronics: Rooting Products & Growing Supplies

Rhizopon AA #1 #2 & #3 (dry powder rooting hormones)
Rhizopon AA Water Soluble Tablets (for rooting solutions)
Hortus IBA Water Soluble Salts (for rooting solutions)

Hortus IBA Water Soluble Salts

Aqueous IBA, KIBA Rooting Solutions.
(Alcohol FREE)
Use by ALL Basal & Foliar Solution Methods.



How Much Do I Need?

On-Line Hortus IBA Water Soluble Salts Calculator:
Find the measured weight (grams or ounces) of Hortus IBA Water Soluble Salts per any ppm IBA & liquid volume (liters, ml or ounces)



For Distributor ordering or referral contact Master Distributor :Phytotronics, 314-770-0717, propagation/growing supplies: phytotronics.com   sales@phytotronics.com

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