Last year I submitted a blog entry with a story about my favorite rose bush. A fabulous old rose that was saved from certain destruction, and resurrected from a bleak existence.
I had done rose cuttings for years when living in Brooksville. My first introduction to starting plants from cuttings came from my Mom. She was always growing something green in a glass of water on a window sill. Then there was my GrandDad, who took up the hobby of gardening in his retirement. He traded his freon and industrial a/c gauges for fungicide and hand trowels. A bit over-the-top with most of what he did, he mixed his own potting soils and bug repellents. He had a special war on the Japanese Beetle as I recall. I also remember a love affair with a rose bush he had to leave behind in his native Pennsylvania. He said it was called The Seven Sisters. I remember it climbing all over a massive embankment studded with light pink roses in clusters of seven. The gruff old-timer brought some cuttings South and set to reproduce them. He intended them to climb on a fence at the new place in Florida, and they did. That was the first time I’d seen a plant grown from a stick. Fast forward to my own, first, home, a tiny cottage in Brooksville with a snarled rose, planted by the previous owner, and tied to a pecan tree instead of a trellis. Later I trimmed it and had fresh little roses all over the house. A bit of research found that it’s what’s known as, a Cracker (or China) Rose. Very tough, disease resistant and a perfect contender for a replication experiment. So, that’s what I did and there were little rose bushes all over, and made for lovely give-aways. But that was then and this is now. The rose I’m working with now is new to this trick – and it’s a cheap one.
Step 1: Get some rose cuttings (beware of patent rules and bio-engineering that limits reproduction), a few pots, some potting soil (I like the Miracle Grow pre-mix) and Rooting Hormone. You can use honey as well, but I’ve not tried that. You’ll also need a clear plastic topper for the pot.
Step 2: Trim the cuttings to just a few leaves and cut the end at an angle.
Step: 3 See the cut, there’s a bud just above it. Now, dip the cut end in the rooting powder.
Step 4: Use your finger and make a hole for each cutting. Put the cuttings in and cover with soil.
Step 5: Give them a good watering. Then make them a terrarium tent. In the first photo there were plastic bags and rubber bands, that is my normal style. Then I saw the kid’s plastic cups – perfect! I pushed the rim into the dirt and set them in partial sun to grow. That was in May. Keep in mind, the green leaves will fall off, that’s ok. The green stick will grow…the brown ones, not so much. A while later you can pull the top off.
A month later (in June) there’s new growth! Nice… now, not all of them lived. Only about 50% made it. That’s ok, the ones that lived did really well.
Another 30 days (in July), and not only is it a happy little rose plant – there’s a bloom! In fact I wasn’t paying attention and spotted a bright pink spot out by the garden shed and went to investigate. Wow – I missed it. This is the spent bloom on my little rose soon-to-be-bush. I’ve got just the spot for it to offset it’s parent. I just hope it gets to be as big and beautiful.
Next, begonias and hydrangeas, pineapples, mangoes….and Mom’s been telling me about the African Violets she’s been starting. I guess she’s moved on from those glasses of water in the windows – or not.
Michelle @ badzoot.com