Drying the entire bouquet or saving the petals of long-stem roses given on a special occasion is irresistible. Dried flowers will eventually fade and can disintegrate if not stored properly. However, if you can bear to sacrifice a few flowers, you can turn that special bouquet into living rose bushes. Most roses for the cut flower market are grown in South America and drenched in fungicides, pesticides and other chemicals before they are allowed into the U.S. These chemicals make rooting cuttings difficult. Expect a 50 to 75 percent failure rate. Even with a high failure rate, taking a chance on rooting long-stem roses can give you living plants not typically found in the average garden, besides being a clever way to keep the memory of special occasions alive.
Things You'll Need
Scissors or knife
5-inch plastic pot
Soil-less potting mix or sterile seed-starting mix
Small container of water
15-inch wooden skewers
Clear plastic bag
Rooting cuttings from Long-Stemmed Roses
Cut the flowers from the stems on a 45-degree angle.
Cut the stems into 5- to 7-inch pieces, slicing them at a 45-degree angle. Leave at least one branch with three to five leaves per piece. Discard pieces that do not have leaves.
Fill the pots with soil-less potting mix or seed-starting mixture.
Dampen the mix, tamping the soil down to eliminate air pockets.
Make a hole in the middle of the soil at least 2 inches deep and just wider than the cutting.
Pour enough rooting hormone into a plastic container to coat the bottom third of the rose-cutting.
Dip the bottom third of the cutting into a container of water, than dip the bottom third into the container of rooting hormone.
Place the cutting into the soil. Carefully firm the soil around the cutting.
Place two skewers on either side of the cutting. The skewers should be taller than the cutting.
Poke two or three small holes in the plastic bag. Place over the cutting and pot, making sure the plastic does not touch the cutting.
To water, place the container in a larger pot full of water and remove when the soil is moist. The cutting needs to be kept moist, not soggy.
Keep your cutting in a bright, warm (at least 70-degree) spot, out of direct sunlight. Your cutting should form roots in 45 to 60 days. Tug gently on the cutting. If you feel resistance the cutting has formed roots.
If you are trying to root your favorite long-stem rose, choose bouquets with lots of leaves and tightly furled flower buds. You have a better chance of rooting your long-stem roses if you don't allow them to bloom. Roses grown domestically with organic practices will root more readily than roses that have been grown in another country, shipped to the United States and doused in fungicides, pesticides and other chemicals.
Many long-stem roses are doused in pesticides, fungicides and other chemicals. The residues can cause contact dermatitis in some people. Sterilize your knife or scissors and pots with diluted bleach to prevent the spread of disease. Some long-stem roses are not hardy to northern climes. You can still grow these roses outside in containers and overwinter them in a garage or sunny basement.