How to start beautiful new plants from cuttings

Lauren Bonar Swezey,  – February 17, 2005

It may sound like a shady business, but it’s one of the most satisfying ― and innocent ― practices a rose aficionado can follow.

This kind of rustling involves taking stem cuttings from old roses in order to propagate new plants from them.

In fact, horticultural societies organize rustling journeys to Mendocino, California, and other areas where historic plants abound.

But you can do it anytime you find a stray gem growing along a country road or in a friend’s garden. Just be sure you have permission before you snip plants, and do not attempt to propagate modern varieties that are protected by patents.

Initially, the rose’s name may be a mystery, but once it blooms, it’s fun to try to identify it by the color and form of its flowers.

The best time to take cuttings is during the softwood stage in spring or early summer, when stems are still green and pliable.

Most types root easily, but a few may be more difficult (those with dense spines, for instance). Your rose should bloom within a year. Then you can move it into a larger container or transplant it into the garden.