Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Rose Gardening in the Basement

I have a set of metal shelves, fitted with fluorescent lights, in one corner of my basement workshop that I use for growing my fall rose cuttings through the winter.  Today was the day that I took the baby cuttings from their milk-jug propagation containers and planted them into little pots of their own.  I knew that the cuttings were ready because nice strong roots were showing through the container and most of them are growing leaves.

I usually stick as many as four cuttings in a pot.  Dividing and repotting the cuttings after they are rooted is a delicate operation.  First, I tip the contents of the pot into my hand.  Then I tease the baby plants apart, trying to break as few roots as possible.

Lovely roots!

I do what I can to keep good records, and this includes legible labels on each cutting ... I use pieces of cheap mini blind slats, written in pencil.  The rose in the photo below is on the Haxall lot at Hollywood Cemetery.  The dates on the label indicate the day that the cutting was planted (10-29-14) and when it was put into its own pot (2-11-15).

After a full morning's work, I ended up with 68 baby roses in individual pots.

Most of these roses are from cuttings that I took at the Leonie Bell Noisette Garden at Monticello's Tufton Farm ... "Ruth's Wavy Leafed Noisette", "Aunt Louisa's Rose", "Lingo Musk", 'Single Pink China', 'Smith's Yellow Noisette', and others.  (The post from the day I took the cuttings is HERE.)

I am especially pleased to have had success with nine cuttings of the Haxall rose.  It's an unknown Hybrid China rose, a very old plant, and it has Rose Rosette Disease and will have to be removed.  These cuttings were taken from a part of the plant without infected growth, an attempt to clone the original ... and having so many on hand it makes the idea of losing the mother plant a little bit easier to bear.

It feels good to be around green, growing, live things when it's so cold and everything in the garden outside is asleep till spring.  

The tutorial to show you, step by step, the method I use to root roses this way is HERE.


  1. Is it possible to root cuttings from a plant with rosette disease without them being infected? We have one very old rose here that's infected that I'd like to preserve. She's the only rose, so at least there's no chance of others becoming infected.

  2. Lots of babies there. Looks like you've had much success!

  3. It's SO good to be around your growing green live things even if it's by way of a blog.
    Clever, clever on the reuse of the mini blinds.

  4. WOW ~ What success you've had. Now, I've really got to try your method.

    Happy Rose growing ~ FlowerLady

  5. :) this made me smile this morning! I'm craving gardening these last few weeks. To get out Sunday and clean out beds was such a thrill...taking inventory of my roses, holes to fill, ideas for other plants...I'm even looking forward to cutting grass! Happy Gardening, even if it's in the basement!

  6. Looking at all those sweet baby roses made me really happy! Love that you are growing them still.

  7. I'm impressed! So organized and such a promise of things to come.

  8. oh. my. god.
    I need to clean out my basement
    so that next year I can be doing this!

  9. Babies from the Haxall rose plant :)

  10. Did you just stick the cuttings in soil and let them go? My husband chopped down my rose bush accidentally this weekend and all i have are a few salvaged stems:( and a broken heart of course. My husband however, i'm sure the bruising will look better in time LOL

    1. There's a little more to it, but not much. Here's the link to the tutorial that shows what I do when I root roses.

      If your husband just chopped your rose bush down, there's probably a pretty decent chance that it will grow back. Roses are resilient, and many of mine have recovered from being cut to the ground (usually by winter cold, in my case.) Don't lose hope for it yet.


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