Sunday, May 3, 2009

How To Propagate Roses and Geraniums Using Stems

It's recession time, and we're all trying to save money, right? Well, it's the perfect time to make more of whatever plants you have available. In my case, I have one pretty red geranium, and a few fading rose stems from a bouquet. I'm not sure if the roses are in good enough shape to propagate, but it was worth a try.

To begin with, gather all your supplies. You will need rose stems about 6 inches long, or with at least 3 buds (points where leaves can sprout out from). Keep 2 strong leaves on the top bud. I have none available on mine, so I just kept those tiny, wimpy leaves under the flower.

For geraniums, choose stems with 3-5 leaf joints, and remove all leaves except two strong ones from the top. Do not leave flower buds as they take energy away from rooting.

You will also need sharp scissors or cutters, rooting powder, a pot, and sterile potting soil (light and fluffy kind so roots grow easily). You will also need a small spoon or pencil.

While you are working, keep your roses in water so they stay fresh.
Fill your pot to the top with the sterile potting soil.
Firm down the soil lightly all over.
Make a deep hole in the soil.
Cut the rose stems just below the last bud, and wound the stem once by scraping your scissor down the the stem. The roots will grow from the wound and bottom edges.
Dip the stem into the rooting powder and shake off the excess powder. Be careful not to inhale the powder or to touch it. Wear gloves if necessary.
Put the stem into the hole. You can add more stems into the same pot as long as their leaves don't touch. My sad rose stems don't even have real leaves so I can add more stems without any worries.
Firm the soil around the stem and water generously. Allow water to settle and drain for a bit so it doesn't pool in the bag.
Place the pot into a clear plastic bag (like the kind you find in the produce section in supermarkets). Gather the bag opening together and blow air inside. This adds carbon dioxide and makes it so the bag doesn't collapse onto your plant. Twist the bag closed and tie it with an elastic band or twist tie.
Keep the cuttings moist at all times. While there are no roots, the cutting will depend on photosynthesis from the remaining leaves, and from moisture in the bag. Some gardeners recommend opening the bag and closing it each day to let in fresh air. You can also check to ensure that the soil stays moist (not sopping wet). The cuttings should initially be placed in a bright location with indirect sunlight until they have taken root.

It will take 4 to 8 weeks before the cuttings take root. Some varieties of roses will root faster than others. You can tell that they are doing well if the cuttings stay alive and grow extra leaves.
I used the same method to propagate my geranium plant.
I am also experimenting with leaf cuttings. I know leaf cuttings are possible for begonias, but I'm not sure if it is possible for geraniums. I didn't want to waste the big leaves I cut off from the geranium stems, so I tried it anyways. I'll keep you posted on whether it works.


Rose and Geranium Propagation - Week 1
Rose and Geranium Propagation - Week 2
Rose and Geranium Propagation - Week 3
Rose Propagation - Week 4


Here are some other resources on propagating roses:
How to propagate roses by cuttings
How to propagate roses

Here is some info on leaf propagation for begonias:
Begonia propagation for newbies

Happy gardening!

How To Propagate Plants


readingsully2 said...

Very interesting. Thanks.

Chrisy said...

This is great...I've propogated geraniums before but haven't tried the roses...

AMIdesigns said...

thanks so much for this - really interesting

little pink plum said...

Very informative, thanks for posting.

Piggy said...

Great article!! I will show this to my hubby who loves gardening! He will be so thrilled :D Do you know if it works for other plants? What is a rooting powder? :)

paperwhite said...

I had no idea you could do that!

sewbettie said...

how cool! said...

Thanks for all your comments! I'm glad you like the tutorial.

Piggy - Yes, this does work for other plants as well. For instance, impatiens and hydrangeas can be propagated as well. The rooting powder encourages the stem cuttings to grow roots. In many cases, the rooting powder is not necessary, but it does increase chances of success.

richardpeeej said...

There are some great tips here my friend I am very interested in growing geraniums and roses. I have just started to propagate a kalanchoe plant from its leaves...thanks for the share

Madhumathi S said...

Hi. V. Nice!
How much longer would a rose stem cutting take without the rooting powder?

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