If you have a particularly beautiful rose in the garden, the gardener will itch your fingers to propagate this rose. That is possible, in principle roses can be propagated by seeds and cuttings, and in the following article you will learn how to proceed and what to consider in relation to the expected result.

Propagate roses by seeds

The multiplication of roses by seeds is basically possible with every rose in your garden. However, not every rose will create an image of your garden beauty. The majority of garden roses are hybrids, breeding specimens that are the result of careful pairing of certain genetic characteristics. Finding the right combination of genes to produce this beautiful garden rose took a long time for the breeder, and it took even more time before the new variety was ready for the market. Until a new rose variety is found that is worth continuing to cultivate, the breeder has had a huge number of cross-breeding attempts, the numbers go up into the tens of thousands.

In most cases, these hybrids cannot be propagated by seeds or cuttings in such a way that the result is a viable rose that looks like the mother specimen. Because in hybrid breeding, beauty and abundance of flowers are bought at the price of compromises elsewhere, many hybrids no longer develop any reproductive seeds at all, others can no longer develop viable roots from cuttings, the cuttings would also have a slightly different growth pattern than the mother plant . That is why hybrids are propagated by grafting on wild rose rootstocks, a far more complicated process than propagation from seeds or cuttings.

Propagating roses from seeds only promises satisfactory results if you take the seeds from the rose hips of non-root wild roses. How to proceed:

  • You collect well-ripened hips from your single-variety wild roses in winter.
  • The rose hips are ripe from around the middle of October, from then on they are collected for rose hip jam.
  • If you want to collect seeds for sowing, you may have to wait even longer.
  • Because with these seeds it is important that they have already been exposed to a cold stimulus, that is, so to speak, the starting signal for germination.
  • The seeds can be placed immediately in potting soil, in poor, nutrient-free soil, about an inch deep.
  • The box with the potting soil is placed in a cool room (around 5 degrees) and kept moist, light is initially not necessary.
  • The first seedlings should appear after one to two months.
  • When the time comes, the seed box is moved to a bright place with higher temperatures.
  • These are allowed to grow until they have the first two to three pairs of leaves and have become somewhat strong.
  • Then the tiny roses are each planted in their own pot with nutrient-rich garden soil.
  • The small roses are “pinched” so that a beautiful, bushy rose bush develops:
  • The topmost shoot is cut off, with the fingernails or with tweezers, otherwise it would grow strongly upwards.
  • The rose should rather put its power in the shoot on the sides, we force it to do so by capping the top shoot.

With the timing given here, your little rose should be big enough to plant outdoors in mid-May. Please move to a nice sunny and sheltered place, the young plant is still quite sensitive.

Rose sowing experiments with hybrid roses

The sowing of varieties where you can be sure that the same plant as the sperm donor will develop has just been described. In order for this to work safely, you need seeds of varieties that were not grafted.

Perhaps you only have grafted hybrid roses in your garden or you are simply one of those gardeners who like to experiment. Then you could definitely start with the hybrid sowing experiments. You let some of the rose hips of your garden roses ripen and sow them as described above. The resulting hybrid roses will not look like the mother plants, whose cultivated properties only last in the respective generation.

It is also not entirely certain that this sowing will succeed, because the hybrids will not always develop seedlings, more on this in the next section. But if it works, roses will come out of it, other roses, which basically means that you get into rose cultivation with such experiments. You have then managed to grow a real rose from a refined hybrid rose. The exciting thing here is that these roses look completely different from their mother plant …

The rose seed is not germinating?

Regardless of whether you have sown seeds from original wild roses or are experimenting with hybrids – if the seeds do not come up, the best thing to do is to simply leave the seed box where it is. Perhaps after a long time you will experience another miracle: Some rose hips should only germinate if they have already experienced frost, others only if they have experienced cool soil but no frost, with some varieties the red dye should be in the Rose hips delay germination and should only germinate two years after sowing

There are certainly reports from patient hobby gardeners whose rose seeds did not produce results until late, sometimes even in the following year. However, it should be worth waiting for these late bloomers, as the most beautiful roses should often develop from them.

Especially with the sowing experiments from hybrids you do not know at all what properties the newly emerging roses have. Here you should keep a close eye on the young plants, the offspring of hybrid roses are not unlikely to be susceptible to fungi or pests, so you should be prepared to intervene quickly if in doubt, before the rest of the garden is affected.

When these roses have developed, you should sort out anyway and keep only the strongest specimens. Their seeds are now sown again, again only the most beautiful and strongest roses are kept, and you have become a rose grower.

Rose propagation from cuttings

Both true-root roses and hybrid roses can be propagated by cuttings, but with hybrids this does not always have to lead to the goal. It is not without reason that the cultivated specimens are propagated through grafting: one reason is that it goes faster, the other that the highly cultivated cultivated roses quite often lose the ability to form their own strong and viable roots in the course of their creation. So you can try a cutting of the variety that forms the crown of your hybrid tea, but expect that you will not be lucky with the propagation.

The real (wild) roses in your garden will not cause any problems in this regard, so proceed as follows:

  • You cut cuttings from the shoots of the current season in late summer.
  • Perfect cuttings result in the thickest, healthy and already completely woody shoot that should be about the length of a pencil.
  • The lower leaves of these cuttings are removed, leaving a few leaves on the branch at the top.
  • The cuttings are put into the ground in a protected and shady location to just below the leaf base.
  • Gladly quite deep into the earth, at least two thirds of the way, at the top only the leaves have to look out.
  • Now the cuttings are simply left to their own devices over the winter and the first roots should have formed in the next spring.
  • You can tell by the fact that the cutting begins to drift; if it doesn’t, you should wait another year.
  • Waiting is particularly recommended for rare roses, it can often happen that a cutting is a little slow.
  • If shoots appear in the upper area, these are also pinched several times to encourage branching.
  • Towards the end of the season, the new roses can then be planted in their final location.

Even if the creation of new roses by cuttings is not breeding, but only pure reproduction (here you are cloning the mother plant), this reproduction is only permitted for private purposes. You are not allowed to open a rose trade with it, because almost every type of rose is protected as a variety, and the breeders watch carefully whether someone wants to make illegal profit from their breeding success.

Safe rose propagation by cuttings is also possible with every hybrid rose, even if it is probably not the type of propagation you have in mind: These hybrids are grafted onto the roots of another rose variety, and this so-called rootstock is usually a robust wild rose. If you take cuttings from this base, you can reproduce your hybrid roses without any problems, all you get is a wild rose …

Convert rose hybrids back into true-root roses by cuttings

If you can pull cuttings from the varieties in the upper range of a hybrid rose into rose plants, you have transformed a grafted rose back into a true-root rose.

The fact that this very often doesn’t work has just been mentioned, but there are quite interesting exceptions. More and more gardeners are not big fans of the grafted roses, which are sensitive to the cold and susceptible to disease and then also bring the mushrooms into the rest of the garden and on the whole “are far too beautiful to be true”. That is why there are movements today that turn “grafted weaklings” back into real, natural roses, and because the whole thing started with grafting with tea hybrids, this re-transformation also begins with tea hybrids.

So in America you can z. B. already buy many non-rooted tea hybrids, and also many German rose breeders deal with the “root real” and also sell them. Accordingly, you could also try yourself to turn a grafted rose into a true-root rose again, and for the success of this project there is also an insider tip: some rose varieties should easily decide to put their roots back in the ground, and you should begin such a venture with these varieties. You can find these types of roses under the terms hybrid tea roses or flower roses with the following “surnames”:

  • Broceliande
  • Gloria Dei
  • Grey Dawn
  • Lavendula
  • Lilac Dawn
  • Mainz Carnival
  • Nimbus
  • Sterling Silver
  • Rhapsody in Blue

When you have managed to transform yourself back, you will often be pleased with the result. Many roses grow much better without roots, become bushier and overall more handsome than their roots on the ancestors.


Rose propagation through seeds and cuttings can simply serve to have more roses in the garden. But it can also do a lot more, depending on the type of rose propagation you can even call yourself the breeder of the new rose.

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