My Experience Growing Roses from Cut Flowers

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Some bouquets are just too beautiful to be only part of a passing moment. Take the plunge and try growing rose cuttings from cut flowers so you can enjoy those roses every single year!

If you don’t know how to root a rose cutting in water, don’t worry. I didn’t know either – but, with a little persistence and lots of patience, I am so excited to have two rose cuttings rooting in water as I type this!

I am so excited to have success at rooting rose cuttings that I’ve decided to document my journey and share the best practices so that hopefully you, too, can grow your own rose garden from cut flowers.

Let’s get started!

Fresh Cut Rose Cuttings in a Glass Jar with Rhinestones for Rooting Cuttings in Water on a Wooden Deck

Is Growing Roses from Cut Flowers Possible?

Yes, it is possible to grow roses from cut flowers, from a florist bouquet, or one you grab from your local grocery store. Given the right conditions, some of the rose cuttings taken should begin to grow roots within a month or so of placing them in water.

As I type this, I have two rose cuttings rooting in water with real, white roots already pushing through.

I took these cuttings from a bouquet of dark pink, *very* fragrant roses from Lidl. These roses were SO fragrant I could smell them through the cloth mask I was wearing while making a quick beeline for the bulbs and flowers section of the store back in early April.

What Do Rose Cuttings Look Like

Rose cuttings look like straight stems from roses that are generally six to eight inches in length. The bottom end should be angled and each cutting should have at least a few sets of leaves and leaf nodes.

Rose cuttings can be taken from new growth, green wood, or hardwood.

What do rose cuttings look like? These are stem cuttings of pink roses on the counter.

How Long Does It Take to See Roots on Rose Cuttings

Different factors like type of rose and thickness of the stem can determine how quickly you see roots pushing out of rose cuttings. You may see white roots pushing out of the bottom and side of the rose cutting in a matter of weeks or about one month after taking and starting the cuttings.

When I first attempted growing roses from cut flowers on April 6, I took a few cuttings immediately. As much as it pained me to shorten the rose stems, I found a small jar to still display the shorter rose bloom.

In many cases, you will see new leaves opening before you see roots. The lovely little leaves begin as striking red leaves that soon soften to green.

New Red Leaves on a Rose Cutting Propagating in Water, Stem Lying Across a Glass Jar with red and green foliage

By the third week of May, I saw the stem splitting at the bottom. Soon, two white roots were pushing through the bottom of the stem.

Rooting Roses in Water - White Roots forming on Rose Cutting in front of a wooden deck with woman's hand holding the stem

Benefits of Growing Roses from Cut Flowers

Rooting rose cuttings is a meaningful activity for any gardener! Here are some of the best benefits of rooting roses from cuttings.

  • You can enjoy your favorite cut roses – forever! (If successful, which I hope you will be!)
  • Who wouldn’t want free rose bushes?! All it takes is a few starter stems for cuttings, and time.
  • The science experiment factor is real and so satisfying.
  • Rooting roses is a kid-friendly gardening project! Enjoy this activity with your kids as a memory they’ll likely have forever. (But it’s just as satisfying solo!)
  • Sell, gift, or share the extra rose bushes you successfully root. You may enjoy this project so much that it becomes a hobby (or an obsession)! Collect all the colors, share the spares!

Oh and just a tip, for your rosebushes already in bloom, don’t forget to deadhead roses to increase production and extend bloom time!

How to Grow Roses Indoors from Cuttings

Try these steps to help you discover how to take a rose cutting from a bouquet and grow a new rose bush.

First learn how to take a rose cutting and then move on to actually try to get the roses to root in water.

Light Pink Rose for Propagation of Fresh Cut Flowers Rooting in Water - Note the New Growth on the Leaf Nodes
Light Pink Rose for Propagation of Fresh Cut Flowers Rooting in Water – Note the New Growth on the Leaf Nodes

How to Take a Rose Cutting

If your goal is growing roses from cut flowers you received in a bouquet, you can take a rose cutting when you first get the flowers. This may be a tough choice since you’d surely like to enjoy the fresh flowers as well.

What I usually do is take the cuttings and then place the shorter blooms in a small vase or votive candle holder.

This way I still get to enjoy them while also having a chance to grow these stunning roses from cuttings!

  1. Make a fresh cut. Cut the bottom off the rose stem at a 45-degree angle under running water.
  2. Consider the next cut. With most fresh cut florist rose bouquets, you can usually take more than one cutting from a single long-stem rose. Make sure each cutting has at least one or two healthy leaf nodes.
  3. Make the next cut under water. Remember to cut at a 45-degree angle if you are making multiple cuttings from the same stem.
  4. Line up your cuttings on the table or counter. Gather the other materials you need to propagate roses from cuttings.

How to Root a Rose Cutting in Water

Discover how to root a rose cutting in water with these easy steps. Now that you’ve taken the cuttings, continue the process to propagate your favorite cut roses.

Clonex Rooting Hormone Applied to Rose Cutting from Fresh Cut Flowers
  1. Paint rooting hormone on the cut stems. Use something like Clonex rooting hormone gel to activate the cutting’s desire to grow roots. You can also try other rooting hormones like take root, but I recommend Clonex as I’ve already had success with that product. Some gardeners say you should avoid dipping directly in the jar to avoid introducing and spreading contaminants.
  2. Gently place the stems in a glass jar or vase with an inch or two of water. Check the height of the lowest leaf node and try to avoid submerging it (to prevent rot).
  3. Place a baggie over top of the jar. This helps create a little greenhouse that traps the warmth and moisture inside to help the rose cuttings root.
  4. Label the type/color of rose and the date. You’ll love seeing how long it takes to see signs of growth from the date you made cuttings. Labels are also extremely useful when you are trying to grow roses from a multicolored bouquet. I like to use masking tape or colored masking tape.
  5. Set the jars in indirect sunlight. I placed mine on our bay window with the sheer curtains gently filtering the sunlight.
  6. Change the water every other day. Some gardeners change the water daily. I’ve gone up to three days between changing the water when I’ve been busy. Be as gentle as possible when changing out the water and pay attention to the waterline so you can fill it similarly.
  7. Be patient. The waiting is the hardest part!

Check your roses daily to see if any new roots are pushing through the stems. Look for signs like splitting stems and white bumps indicating growth of new roots.

How to Transition Rooted Rose Cuttings from Water to Soil

I am currently working through the process of transitioning my rooted rose cuttings to soil as I type this. Several of my rose cuttings developed roots and survived thus far (late September 2021). I am trying to transition rose cuttings from water to soil without shocking them.

Transitioning Rooted Rose Cuttings

These are the steps I’m using to move my rooted rose cuttings into soil.

  1. Continue to change the water on the schedule that you’ve set for your rose cuttings.
  2. Switch your rose cutting to a plastic container or jar so it will be easier to eventually remove the rooted cutting for planting.
  3. With each water change, gradually add a pinch or two of potting soil to the water.
  4. When changing the water, use a bit of cheesecloth or cup your hand over the jar to prevent the soil from spilling out.
  5. As time goes on, the ratio of water to soil should shift. Soon you should have more soil than water. When the container is mostly soil, simple water the cutting as a regular plant.
  6. Begin to harden off the successfully rooted rose bush before planting it outdoors.

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Final Thoughts: Growing Roses from Cut Flowers

Rooting roses in water is now one of my favorite hobbies as a gardener!

Growing Roses from Cuttings - Rose cutting in a glass jar with a pink rose in the background

To successfully root roses in water, you need a few things.

ROSES – First, you need healthy roses as close to freshly cut as possible. The cuttings should be from roses that have already bloomed. Cut the end at a 45-degree angle and aim to have each cutting between 6 to 8 inches in length with a few healthy leaf nodes on each piece, if possible.

PROPAGATION CONTAINER – Second, you need a clean jar or container to propagate your roses. When the cuttings grow roots and become their own rose bushes, the new plants should be a carbon copy of the parent plant.

ROOTING HORMONE – Rooting hormone is not always necessary to successfully root rose cuttings in water, but it can help speed up the process and may improve your chances. Some say you can also dip cuttings in honey or cinnamon, or willow.

Getting rose cuttings to root is one of my most exciting gardening adventures so far this year! I can’t wait to enjoy my own fragrant pink roses in the garden from the bouquet I bought back in April at Lidl.

(By the way, if you like this post, you may also enjoy my posts on Propagating Blueberries from Cuttings and Growing Fig Trees from Cuttings.)

Have you tried growing roses from cut flowers? Share your successes or ask questions in the comments below!

09.27.21 – Edited to add section on transitioning rooted rose cuttings to soil.

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