Rugosa Rose Propagation

I just got back from vacation with my family. I trooped down to the public library for essentials like work and Game of Thrones, but for the most part I’ve been without internet.

Now I’m back with the comforting blanket of pervasive wifi and a fierce desire to grow Rugosa Roses.


Rugosa Rose, also called Rugged Rose or Beach Rose, grows all over the island my family vacations on. It smells amazing. A few years ago my parents put two small plants in their garden. They’re on course to take over the house in a few years, so my dad had no problem sending me home with a few cuttings.


I’ve never propagated roses, but after hastily reading a single google result I decided I was good to go.

I read that my cuttings should be 6 to 8 inches long, with a withered flower on the end. As luck would have it, the branches my dad gave me were covered in just-passed flowers, so I clipped off as many 8 inch lengths as I could find.


I cut off the lower leaves to make a long bare stem of new growth, ending in one or two sets of leaves and single flower.


These were some productive branches – I ran out of small pots before I ran out of flowers.


My inadequate research has led me to believe that new growth propagates better than old growth. Since I have so much old growth and don’t really know what I’m doing, though, I’m giving it a go with the big branches, too. I made a new 45 degree cut at the base of each one because of an unfounded belief that this is better.


I removed the lower growth and stuck each branch in a big pot. It almost looks like I have real, healthy plants and not just branches jammed in the ground.


Just for the heck of it I planted a couple of those flowerless lower branches, too.


With everybody planted, I gave them a thorough soaking. Apparently the name of the game now is keeping the cuttings moist. I read that covering them in plastic bags helps, but it’s been so hot recently that I’m worried I’d roast them that way. Instead I’ve been spraying them down daily, never letting the soil dry out.


In all I have 13 cuttings – some old growth and some new, some deadheaded and some not. (I have to imagine deadheaded is better, since they’re devoting energy to roots instead of seeds, but we’re learning here).


With this many test subjects, something is bound to take, right?

One thought on “Rugosa Rose Propagation

  1. For propagating I use a 50:50 mix of compost and fine grained gravel. Vermiculite also works well instead of gravel. A simple soil mix might work okay if you really do keep it very, very moist (but do note that increases the chance of rot). And thus do note, potting soil might bind the water too much and prevent if flowing to the cutting stem (which has no roots yet). Also, dipping the cutting in root growth hormone before setting them in the soil also helps to stimulate root growth. And cut back most of the leaves. Leaving too many may leaves might cause excessive transpiration and dry out the stems. For summer propagation, I just leave two or three new or young leaves per stem. In any case, keep the plants shaded to limit water loss through the leaves.

    With propagation, I have has about 50% success with ornamental roses, almost 100% success with lavender, and 75% with wine vines.


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