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By: Marko Vuorinen
The art of propagating roses through rose cuttings has been used since the Victorian Era, and was popular with the pioneers who journeyed across the United States looking for a new life. They brought along cuttings from their gardens, tucking them into mason jars and looking for new land to plant them in.

Using rose cuttings to propagate new plants is still one of the simplest and most fun garden projects that any gardener can undertake with relative ease. And what better way to start off a beautiful rose garden on the cheap? There is no right way for preparing rose cuttings. In fact, everyone seems to have their own special recipe propagating roses. Here a few suggestions to get you started in the ancient art of preparing and planting rose cuttings. You may want to experiment with different methods to find what works best in your garden.

The Stick in the Ground Method

This is the easiest and most basic way to get started in rose propagation. The first step in preparing rose cuttings for planting is to find a good stem. Most gardeners interested in rose propagation already have a plant in mind. Maybe you have access to a rose bush that you love, but which is not commercially available. In this case, look for a healthy green stem that measures about one foot in length. The best cuttings usually come from rose bushes that have recently bloomed, but whose buds have not yet swelled (indicating that active growth has not started). Also, it is best to remove a stem from a plant that has been recently watered, so it will still be relatively hydrated when you plant it.

If you have the option, choose a stem with smaller, rather than larger, buds. Ideally, the stem you pick should have at least three buds. It should be completely disease free. Once you have found a suitable stem, use a pair of sharp pruning shears to cut it from the plant. Remove any remaining bloom parts and foliage.

Once removed from the rose bush, prepare to trim the stem to a workable size. Make sure you are holding the stem so that the buds point up and outwards. Hold your pruning shears at a 45 degree angle, position the shears just above the top bud and make a clean cut. Now, position your shears just below the bottom bud of the stem and make a similarly angled cut.

Once your stem has been trimmed, it is ready to plant. Select a location in your garden where the cutting will be protected from winter weather and interference from animals or foot traffic. Ideally, the spot you select will have relatively fertile soil, receives an adequate amount of sunlight, and have good drainage. Make a small hole with a trowel, and plant the root cutting. Push the root cutting about halfway down, and pat the soil around it to ensure it will not fall over easily. Keep the rose cuttings moist at all times. Note its proper name and location with a garden marker - you don't want someone to come along and accidentally remove it!

The Mason jar Method

For this method, cut a stem from your favorite rose as described in the Stick in the Ground method. Remove any leaves from the stem, and plant it in the ground. Cover it with a mason jar. Water the soil around the jar periodically so the stem does not dry out. If you're lucky, after approximately two months you should begin to see new leaf growth from your rose cutting.

The Potting Method

For this method, prepare small two-inch plastic garden pots for planting. Fill them with potting soil. One popular planting mix combines one part potting soil with one part perlite. This light medium helps encourage new root growth.

Push the rose cutting into the planting mix, and place the pot in a sunny location. Water the rose cutting regularly. The potting method is favored by many root cutting enthusiasts because it allows you to place the cutting in a spot where you can keep a watchful eye on its progress. Also, if you're rose cutting grows; it is easy to transplant it later on if it is already in a pot.

Marko Vuorinen
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