Hardwood Rose Cuttings

Roses in my opinion are a back bone for any cottage garden or any garden for that matter. "The more you focus on the beauty of roses, the more invisible their thorns become; and an anthophile will never stop loving roses even when their throne harm him! Therefore, this is how love should be".

Their fragrance to their shapes and colours there is a rose for every occasion. But what can we do when we have a rose that is well established in our garden and want to either spread it out to create a wall or have another place to fill. Sometimes we just want more, of the same.

Now that we are well into the autumn months and with winter looming over us, October is the perfect month to take hardwood cuttings. Hardwood cuttings differ from soft and semi ripe cuttings because we don't expect roots to grow quickly. Unlike softwood cuttings which need to be kept warm, misted and cared for vigilantly with roots appearing in four to six weeks, hardwood cuttings can be left outside to fend for themselves over winter as they are dormant and will not begin to grow and develop roots until next summer. Hardwood cuttings can be taken from almost all deciduous shrubs. Roses, blackcurrants, buddleja, cornus, jasminum, fig, gooseberries and many more. First thing you will need to think about is space, do you have any where these cuttings can be left outside for a WHOLE YEAR! You read that right a whole year! An old pot with some poor soil (I use mine that had carrots last year in them) or a spare flower bed where you could place a row or two? This is going to be your very own rose or blackcurrant or whichever, nursery.

So..what do I do?

  • You need disinfected and sharp clippers.

  • Choose this year's growth (it will still have a green tint to the bark) You can cut last year's growth but it is far harder to get the cuttings to root.

  • Cut away roughly 3 foot off new growth. Or down to the base.

  • Assess the branch you have cut, if it bends easily it's not going to root well and is too soft, you shouldn't really be able to bend hardwood.

  • Remove the leaves...all of them.

  • Now we cut this branch into pencil thick 6-8 inches long (Top- just above a node/ Bottom end- Just below a node)

  • Either in a pot or in the ground use a fork to make 4 holes with loose soil (the whole fork prong depth). Or like the picture above make a long trench, as spade deep.

  • Place your cuttings (the right way up) into each hole

  • You want each cutting to be 3/4 of the way buried.

  • Water them in well

  • And then leave them till next summer and autumn when we will be checking for roots and moving them on to their next stage.

  • Make sure to label.

Top Tips Remember you don't have to use the whole branch, if the top section is too bendy then discard it. Likewise if the base is too thick (over the size of a pencil) discard. You are aiming really for the strong middle growth. If outside you won't need to worry about watering, if they are in a polytunnel or greenhouse then come summer next year be sure to give them water and watch they don't get too hot or the soil dry out.

Make sure the soil is free draining, this is easier in a pot than the ground so, if you make a trench in the ground for them, add a little sharp grit at the bottom so water can drain away easily.

Your biggest nemesis will be sitting water. If you wind the cuttings are sat in a pot where it cannot drain fast enough then move them gently or add a lot more sand and grit.

Here is a little video showing you step by step how I have done it with my David Austin. Remember

You can only grow these and take cuttings of roses for yourself, and or as a gift to a friend. You cannot sell them, you don't want to end up in court. :D

I hope this helps, if you have any questions always feel free to ask, I am here to help you :D

as always friends

happy gardening


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