Propagating Roses

Because of the complexity of their pedigrees, roses, other than the species cannot be grown true to variety from seeds. They are mainly propagated by budding, although some, such as ramblers and the older floribundas, can be rooted from cuttings. They are, however, not so vigorous as those that are budded.

Growing from Cuttings

Hardwood cuttings, about 1 ft. Long and in. in diameter, are taken in August or September, by cutting horizontally below a lower bud at the top with a cut sloping downwards from above a bud. The lower leaves are removed and the eyes eliminated with a wedge-shaped cut, when they are likely to be below the ground level.Propagating Roses

Place them 6 in. apart, in 2 in. of sand in a narrow wedge-shaped trench, which is filled with soil and gently trodden in, keeping them vertical. They should then be well watered. Rooting can be encouraged by wetting their lower ends and dipping them in hormone-rooting powder before planting.

In the autumn of the following year the rooted cuttings can be transplanted to their permanent quarters.

Budding Roses

Budding is the process of uniting the rose cell tissue to that of a related plant, which has well-developed roots. The latter is called a rootstock. The most commonly used rootstocks are briar (R. canina laxa) and R. multiflora (‘simplex’) for bush roses and R. rugosa and briar for standards. Rootstocks are considered better when they are raised from seed.

The budding knife is a razor-sharp, pointed knife, with a handle with a thin, wedge-shaped end for lifting the bark.

The seedling rootstocks are planted about 8 in. apart, preferably in a straight line in a spare plot in February or March. The neck, i.e. the part between the first green shoot and the root fork, should be about 1 in. above the ground. For convenience when budding, they should be put in sloping towards the spot where the budder will ultimately work.

The shoot selected to provide buds should be one on which the blooms have just faded. As it should be fresh when the buds are taken, it shoidd be left on the bush until the rootstock has been prepared.

In July or August on a day following rain or copious overnight watering, the soil is scraped away from the neck of the rootstock and it is washed clean with water. Next the budder to assist him in his work, should press the rootstock down with his knee to give him good access to the neck.

About 1 in. above the root fork, a cross-cut, about 4 in. wide is made with the budding knife. The from a point 4 in. below it, a lengthwise cut is made to form a T-shaped incision with it. At the finish of making this cut, the bark is carefully lifted slightly with a twisting movement of the blade. The bark along the whole length of the slit is raised, using the wedge-shaped end of the handle

To take a bud the selected shoot is cut, the thorns removed and the leaves trimmed back.

The budding knife is inserted into the stem about 1 in. above a bud near its middle and the bark is cut thinly behind the bud until the blade is about that distance below it. The loosened bud is next gently torn away, taking a thin slip of bark with it Behind the bud there will be at this stage a thin layer of wood, which can be exposed by pulling away the strip of bark a little. This sliver of wood is removed, using the thumbnail, with a twisting movement!

The bark containing the bud is next trimmed to form a wedge-shaped tongue on the side below it, so that the insertion into the incision on the rootstock is made easy.

Holding the small piece of leaf that has been left, the bud is next fitted into the T-cut on the rootstock, with the wedge-shaped end downwards. The lifted bark of the rootstock is replaced and the portion of bark above the bud is trimmed off in line with the horizontal cut

The bud is made secure, either by tying with two turns below and three turns above of raffia or plastic budding tape. If the remaining piece of leaf-stalk dies in about three weeks, it is a sign that the bud has taken. The fastenings eventually rot away.

In the following January or early February, when the weather is dry and frost-free, the rootstock is cut away at a point about 1 in. above the bud.

In the case of a multiflora (‘simplex’) rootstock, particularly, the young shoot might be torn away by high winds and it should, therefore be supported with a stake.

Budding Standards Except that their buds are joined to the rootstock at the top of a vertical stem, the budding procedure is the same as with a bush. In a briar rootstock, the buds are inserted in side shoots, whereas with R. rugosa, they are put into the main stem. As the ties do not rot, they must be cut after four weeks. The newly-budded roses are ready for planting out in their permanent quarters in the following October, or thereafter in suitable weather conditions.

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