Propagating Old Garden Roses
By Steve Jones
The spring and fall months are the best times
to propagate Old Garden Roses (OGRs) by taking cuttings. Cuttings
are prepared by removing a section of a stem right after the
rose hs finished blooming. You should have at least 4 bud eyes,
2 for under the soil and 2 above. Remove the leaves from the
2 bottom bud eyes and leave the top 2 leaves on. Use a rooting
compound such as Root Tone or Dip and Grow, and follow the instructions.
The cutting is placed in sterile potting soil in a clean container.
Containers can range from 2 inches to 1 gallon.
If you have the room, build a misting table. The
misting table has fine water sprays that keep the cuttings moist.
A heater underneath the pots could aid with rooting, especially
if you live in a cold climate. Place the mister on an automatic
cycle. Most misters are small 'greenhouses' and could be open
in warm climates.
A friend showed me a method to propagate cuttings
that works better than anything else I've tried.
Prepare your cutting in the usual manner and place
it into a one gallon pot filled with either a good sterile potting
soil or sand, perlite, peat moss, or whatever mix that tickles
your fancy. Cut off the bottom and remove the label from a 2
liter soda pop bottle and place the bottle, with cap on, over
the cutting, slightly burying the edge into the soil.
You'll be surprised how well this works as the
plastic jug works as a mini greenhouse, and allows plenty of
room to add water around the outer edge without removing the
bottle. The bottles are placed under the patio cover where they
get little direct sun. The translucent and clear bottles seem
to work the best, however, translucent bottles are much cooler
and should be used for cuttings placed in the sun.
If fungus is a problem, treat all cuttings with
¼ strength fungicide. When the weather is warm or hot,
fungus is likely to form. Keep the cuttings damp, but not dry
or soaking wet. You must have sufficient moisture to create
the necessary humidity within the bottle. You can place 1 to
4 cuttings per bottle, but 2 is ideal as not to create a tangled
mass of roots.
When the cutting gets new growth, in about 1 to
2 months, undo the cap of the bottle but do not take it off
at this time. You need to harden the cutting first. After a
few more days, take the cap off entirely, then after a few more
days, remove the bottle. I've heard this method referred to
as the Poorman's Greenhouse and the Houston Greenhouse. The
bottles can be reused, just clean them with a Clorox/soap solution.