The refinement of roses is one of the supreme disciplines of the gardening trade and inspires awe in many hobby gardeners. There are even rumors that private individuals are not allowed to graft roses, which is only true if someone wants to get into the business with the grafting results. If “only” your own garden is to be enriched with magnificently blooming roses, hobby gardeners can also dare to refine them – which is not quite as complicated as it initially sounds.

Select and prepare the support

Grafting means to reproduce plants artificially vegetatively by transplanting part of a plant onto another plant. In rose grafting, the noble rice (part of the plant from the hybrid tea rose) is transplanted onto a so-called base and thus reproduced as a genetic individual – grafting is a traditional form of cloning.

The “underlay” is also a rose and was given this name because the point here is not to make a new one out of two roses. The pad is called pad because it is only used as a carrier for foreign plant material; this is how it is selected and prepared:

1. Wild rose as a base

In the vast majority of cases, a wild rose is used as a base; robust plants with stronger roots than hybrid tea roses, far less susceptible to diseases and pests. Wildling roses are specially grown and sold as rose grafting documents, in several varieties, whereby attention must be paid to the compatibility of the noble variety with the wild rose. These are the most common documents:

  • Rosa canina ‘Inermis’: old rootstock, vigorous and almost thornless, goes well with many types of roses
  • Rosa canina ‘Pfänder’: well-branching roots with fine fibers, also for light soils, tolerates most rose varieties, relatively robust against frost
  • Rosa canina ‘Pollmeriana’ loves heavy soils and warmth, can withstand drought and severe frost, and gets along well with most noble varieties
  • Rosa corymbifera ‘Laxa’ has few spines, quickly develops thick, short-growing shoots and long root necks, gets along well with almost all noble varieties in good soils
  • Rosa ‘multi flora’, strong-growing rootstock with a good root system, also suitable for light locations, well tolerated, but relatively sensitive to frost
  • R. c. ‘Pfänder’ is often used as a master builder and for climbing roses
  • Rc ‘Laxa’ is the most commonly used base for bed roses
  • In some types of the ‘Inermis’ and ‘Pfänder’, wild sprouting is to be expected
  • ‘Pollmeriana’ and ‘Laxa’ are not drifting wildly
  • ‘Pfänder’ is susceptible to powdery mildew, ‘Pollmeriana’ and ‘Laxa’ are slightly sensitive to downy mildew and rust

You can buy the rootstock as a young plant and grow it yourself in the garden (keep growing until the rootstock can be used for refinement):

  • The rootstocks should be strong and have a root neck thickness of 6 – 8 mm
  • Cut back well with pruning shears before planting, roots to 5 – 10 cm, shoots to 10 – 15 cm (important for good growth)
  • Plant wild roses in March / April at a distance of 10 to 20 cm
  • When planting, do not set the root neck too deep, high root necks make grafting easier
  • Pile up after planting so that the wild rose grows better and the bark loosens better

Wildlings are often sold, exchanged and offered at markets in autumn. They are usually planted in autumn to be ready for grafting next summer. If that no longer works for any reason, you can also store the documents: cut back the shoot and roots slightly, knock them into the sand in bundles, and store them frost-free over the winter . Usually, wild roses that are propagated from seedlings are used as a base. If for whatever reason these are not available to you, you should be able to switch to rooted cuttings from wild roses.

2. Your own roses as a base

If you have a susceptible rose bush in the garden where fungal diseases such as rust, powdery mildew and star soot are threatening to prevail, but also have robust varieties in stock, refinement can make sense.

The sensitive rose bush is placed on the robust rose and will be much less susceptible in the future.

3. The Duo-Rose

With refinement, you can create your own personal rose, a very special rose bush on which two roses of different colors bloom. This eye-catcher is created by refining rose 1 on rose 2; Rose 2 should grow healthy and strong in a fairly optimal location, as it has to cope with a completely new type of strain.

Procure Edel-Reiser

When you want to graft, you usually want to do it to make particularly beautiful and noble roses bloom.

So noble roses, and thus roses that have to be propagated by grafting: When selecting particularly beautiful (large, long, intensely colored, double, lush) flowers, some of the properties that enable plants to “remain on the genetic path” usually remain to support themselves through their own roots.

You can buy hybrid tea roses for cutting precious rice from the nearest rose breeder or garden center. But these hybrid tea roses are already sitting on bases when they are offered for sale – it only makes sense if you buy a hybrid tea rose in order to reproduce this rose by refining it on several bases. If you want to decorate large areas or long roadsides with identical hybrid tea roses, such an approach can save you a lot of costs.

Usually it is not about the mass reproduction of a hybrid tea rose, but on the contrary, it is about planting various splendid hybrid tea roses in the garden. From late spring to early autumn, you can look out for precious roses from late spring to early autumn wherever particularly beautiful roses bloom; after all, you don’t need more than a small branch: in the gardens of relatives and friends, in botanical gardens and rosaries. In the latter, you may not help yourself as freely as you usually do with friends, but employees of botanical gardens and rosaries are often happy to send you a traveler of a rose you admire on request.

The right tool for finishing

The most important tool for finishing is an inoculating knife with a straight blade, rounded tip and “inoculation nose” for lifting the cut surfaces.

A well-sharp kitchen knife will do, too, but grafting knives are even available from the Swiss premium manufacturer Victorinox for less than 30 euros: ooculation-knife-oculation-roses-fruit-tree-1.html.

You will also need a rubber band or special “rose rubber” to fix it in place and an eyepiece fastener band to cover it up; or eyelets with quick-release ooculation that can do both.

It is important that tools and accessories are sterile (made with pure alcohol or another disinfectant), otherwise pathogens can easily penetrate the finishing area and destroy all the tedious work.

Roses refine step by step

1. The time

If you want to propagate roses in your own garden by grafting, place the base in spring and carry out the grafting on this base in summer.

You can “oculate the driving eye” between May and June so that the noble eye drives out in the same year. If you use the noble eye from June to August, it will sprout in the next season (oculation of a sleeping eye).

The best time is the month of August , when the hybrid tea is in full bloom and the wild rose has already grown into a strong plant.

2. Cut and prepare fine rice

• Look for this year’s healthy and well-matured shoot with faded flowers
• With at least five petals below the flower
• Maturity test : A shoot is perfect for grafting if the stinger comes off easily
• Snap off this branch
• Cut out the middle section of around 20-30 cm
• Remove the leaves immediately after cutting
• The petiole remains, it later serves as a marker: If it falls off, the rice has grown on
• In addition, the eyes (buds) are well protected under the petioles • The leaves that are
not used immediately can be stored in a cool place until use become
• spines just before the ooculation remove

3. Trigger eyes

The actual inoculation begins with the cutting out of the eye from the noble rice:
• Hold the rice “upside down” towards you = shoot tip points to the body, eye to the refiner
• Place the inoculating knife about 2 cm below the eye and move it in a “pulling” cut (so that the cut is as smooth as possible)
• Place the grafting knife at the base, swing it flat under the eye
• Then pull the whole thing completely off the rice
• “The whole” is a piece of bark with an eye from which the eye must now be removed
• Fold the top piece down and remove the piece of wood that looks like a fork (“boot jack”)
• “The green remainder” is the eye that can now be inserted

4. Prepare the wild rose

Now carefully expose the root necks of the documents with a hoe and clean them with a soft brush and a rag until they look completely clean.

So you can work well and with a clear view, and the wound caused during finishing is protected from dirt.

5. Make a T-cut

The clean root neck is incised in a T-shape with the inoculation knife. The “T” should pop open, if necessary you can briefly loosen the two bark wings with the bark loosener on the inoculation knife in order to be able to insert the precious eye better. Any protruding bark is cut away parallel to the horizontal cut of the “T”.

6. Insert the eye

The eye is now carefully pushed into the pocket of the opened T-cut, if necessary the ends can be folded apart a little. Any excess skin is cut away, then you can fold the ends back so that the eye is well protected.

7. Connect the processing point

So that the plant parts brought together through refinement grow together, the refinement point should be exposed to as little movement as possible. Therefore fix the grafting point so that it becomes immobile with a rubber band or a special “rose gum” that can be bought as a finishing accessory (raffia should not be suitable, it probably doesn’t grow enough with you).

So that no dirt collects in the openings, the fixation should be covered with a so-called “quick snap lock” (OSV, oculette). Some oculets or finishing tapes with oculation quick release do both work steps (attaching and covering) at once (if you plan to do a lot of finishing, you should check beforehand whether the complete solutions are easy to use).

Fixation / cover should be applied immediately after the inoculation, as the plant tissue is particularly susceptible to dirt in the period shortly after the refinement.

8. Check maintenance and finishing

Now you have to wait until the grafting point grows together and the first shoots form in the upper area. The following processes now take place in the refinement point:
• The T-cut eye brings the cambium of the noble rice together with the cambium of the base
• The cambium of the base forms intermediate
tissue until all cavities in the refinement point are well filled formation of wound tissue completion (periderm) stimulates
• indoor grown cambium of the substrate and cambium of the scion
• Up to the formation of woody tissue, which is called the gardener “maturing”

You cannot accelerate the whole thing, you can only check the new growth regularly and tie it to rods if necessary.

9. Rework

As soon as the eye has grown well, the excess of the pad can be “thrown off”, which means that you simply cut off the rest of the above the eye. This is due in the same season for driving eyes and next February for sleeping eyes.

All new shoots of the wild rose are always cut away immediately, the rose should only sprout from the grafting point. Over time, the base will develop a few wild shoots from time to time (more or less depending on the vigor), these can be removed from a well-developed, strong plant simply by tearing it off. This is particularly recommended for side shoots from the earth, which should best be torn just below the surface of the earth, removal by means of pruning would only promote growth.


Refining roses is one of the most distinguished tasks of the traditional gardening trade, the details of which used to be part of the well-protected secrets of a “professional knowledge of domination”. In the age of the Internet, knowledge of domination does not remain a secret in any area of ​​life, but of course there is a reason that gardeners learn their craft over the years. You can trust the rose refinement, just don’t be disappointed if the first results don’t exactly meet your expectations.

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