The rose stems have sprouted leaves and some leaf stem, and they look alive and well. It noticed some decay from two leaves touching the wet bag, but I have pinched them off.
The leaves are vibrant and I expected to see roots when I gently tipped the pot over today, but I was shocked to discover NO ROOTS! Oh no!
I think the leaves were subsisting on the water in the bag, the nutrients from the old stem, and photosynthesis from the new leaves. I decided to take action since this can only last for so long.
RESCUE EXPERIMENT #1: First, I cut the stems shorter to remove the now rotted bases. This revealed healthy new stem.
I'm hoping the base of this growing leaf and stem can grow some roots so I am planting them with their bases touching the soil. In order to avoid rot, I sprayed the top of the soil, the stems, the leaves, and the inside of the plastic bag with a mild mixture of water, baking soda, and dishwashing soap.
RESCUE EXPERIMENT #2: I took a stem bud cutting from one stem that had a good, healthy leaf and stem base combination.
I kept this cutting fresh in water that had a little of the anti-fungal mix in it.
I dabbed some rooting powder on the base of the stem bud cutting as opposed to dipping it into the bottle. The cutting is just too small and short!
I didn't want to risk using potting soil, so I found some small aquarium gravel I had handy and washed it clean with soap and water. Then I gently planted my stem bud cutting into this wet medium. I'm really not sure if this will work, but I'm all about the experiments for these rose cuttings because I really want them to work out! (And I've got nothing to lose!)
Then I sealed the stem bud cutting into a plastic bag, and tucked it away into a shady location with indirect sunlight.
RESCUE EXPERIMENT #3: The poor stem that had the stem bud removed now has a gaping hole. There is still another leaf set below it, so I'm going to try and minimize the damage (which is pretty hard considering what I've done to it!)
I don't have any sphagnum moss, so I found a cotton ball and pulled it into a fluffy state. I also collected some scotch tape.
I dipped the cotton ball into my anti-fungal tainted water and wrapped it around the giant hole in the stem. Then I gently pressed the excess water out.
And sealed it all up with tape! I'm sure the "real" gardeners out there would cry if they saw this tutorial, but I'm really not sure how else to fill this hole up! We'll see what happens.
Then I placed this oddly bandaged stem back into the soil, with the lowest bud touching the soil like his other buddy, and sealed it all up in my clear plastic bag.
I hope at least one of these experiments will work. I'd be really, really disappointed if they don't. Perhaps I've used up all of my green thumb magic on the impatiens and dahlias. Those propagate like nobody's business!
Rose and Geranium Propagation - Week 1
Rose and Geranium Propagation - Week 2
Rose and Geranium Propagation - Week 3
UPDATE 05/03/2011 - This particular rose propagation experiment didn't work out. The cuttings didn't have enough airflow and the environment was too moist so the cuttings went moldy/mildewy. Also, I believe that the rose stem was not fresh enough. I also do not recommend the corn meal idea. I think it just encourages more mold due to the sugar content.
Alternative option: I tried propagating stems of rose cut from a live plant, both miniature variety and large variety, and it worked. I took a 5 node stem, not too young or too woody, added rooting hormone to the base, planted it into a shady spot in the garden, and watered regularly to keep the soil moist but not soggy. It will take a while to root, but it will keep growing. My propagated rose stems survived through winter and are doing well.
Good luck with your propagating!