Roses can be cultivated quickly with plain potatoes using this method, but don’t skip the 3rd step or you’ll end up with a garden full of potatoes instead!
Roses are always a garden favorite, but purchasing the plants can be an expensive endeavor. Over the years we’ve tried splitting our plants, propagating by cutting and rooting in water, which didn’t work out so well.
How to Cultivate Roses- using Potatoes
This is by far the easiest way to get free rose bushes from simple cuttings that we know of! In addition to rooting roses from cuttings, it’s also possible to cultivate roses from bouquets as well.
Rooting Hormone; or Raw Local Honey
small potatoes, eyes removed
Propagating roses from cuttings is a relatively simple gardening project that even the kids can do with very little help.
Before cutting your roses, prepare the area you’ll be planting them. Dig a 6″ deep trench and line the bottom with sharp sand.
Choose your stems carefully. You’ll want to use young stems that are from this year’s growth, about the thickness of a basic #2 pencil and healthy- meaning that if you can snap a thorn off cleanly, it’s a good choice. Avoid using bent or kinky pieces, they don’t root well.
Each cutting should be about 9-10 inches long. No bigger and the pieces that take root the best are the cuttings taken just below the base of a flower bud.
Strip off the leaves and thorns from the bottom 1/4 of the stem. In fact, the cuttings do best if you remove the leaves from the entire stem. Lightly score the outer stem 2 inches from the bottom. Basically, you’re breaking the outer skin to allow the stem to root easily.
Cut the very bottom of each stem at a 45-degree angle, then immediately dip the cut end into the honey or rooting hormone and plunge it into a firm, moist potato that has been scored (make a hole in it the thickness of the stem so you don’t stress the rose stem by shoving it in the potato!).
Bury them leaving about 3 inches (about 1/3rd) above the soil-line once it’s filled in. Water them regularly. They’ll take several months to root well and be ready for transplanting. In the meantime, here’s how to fertilize your beautiful roses once they’ve established a healthy root system.
Be aware that some brands of potatoes are actually sprayed with an anti-rooting chemical called Bud-Nip to prevent them from growing, this can also transfer to your roses, which is why we used homegrown potatoes for our propagation. You could use organic potatoes, or you could scrub them liberally with vinegar and rinse thoroughly to help remove the chemicals from your potatoes.