Growing Roses from Seed, Cuttings & Transplants: How to Grow Roses Organically

Growing roses from seed, cuttings or transplants provides the perfect solution to countless flower growing needs… choose among a variety of amazing colors and scents that come in forms ranging from container-grown standard roses for your apartment balcony to romantic, rambling roses that tumble over your garden pergola.

Growing your own roses also allows you to create new cultivars to add to the wonderful plants already available from online stores and offline nurseries.

Growing Roses: Plant Snapshot

Growing Roses from Seed, Cuttings & Transplants
  • Rose (Rosa)
  • Annual or perennial? Perennial
  • Recommended varieties (by color):
    • Orange: ‘Marmalade Skies’, ‘Little Flame’, ‘Livin’ Easy’
    • Pink: ‘Pink Favourite’, ‘Silver Jubilee’, ‘Madame Isaac Pereire’, ‘Double Delight’
    • Purple: ‘Neon Lights’
    • Red: Trumpeter ‘Mactru’, ‘Christian Dior’, ‘Oklahoma’, ‘Timeless’
    • Salmon: ‘Lady Taylor’, ‘First Edition’
    • Yellow: ‘Peaudeuce’, ‘Mary Cave’, ‘Mirabella’, ‘Freedom’
    • White: ‘Iceburg’, ‘White Delight’, Margaret Merril ‘Harkuly’, ‘Boule de Neige’
    • Orange & salmon: ‘Ambassador’
  • Recommended USDA Hardiness zones: 03b to 10b
  • Mature Height: 24 to 240 inches (60 to 610 cm) depending on variety
  • Mature Spread: 18 to 240 inches (45 to 610 cm) depending on variety
  • Sun Requirements: Partial shade, partial and full sun
  • Blooming season: Early, mid & late summer
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Growing Roses from Seed, Cuttings and Transplants

Where to Find Planting Supplies...

The following resources offer effective, healthy and/or well-rounded options. Click the links to go there now...

Growing Roses from Seed

Growing roses from seed is a step into the unknown as only species roses (those found originally in nature) will grow true to their parent. Rose seeds are not usually available to buy. Get seed by choosing a ripe “hip” that forms after the flower petals drop. Cut it open using a sharp knife, then carefully pick the seeds out with the tip of the knife blade.

Put some organic nutrient-rich seed starting mix into a clear polythene bag. Keep it at room temperature of around 70 degrees F (21 C) for about a week. Then move it to a refrigerator for three to four weeks. Now your seeds are ready to sow.

Fill a module tray with seed starting mix and sow one seed in each module. Cover with grit or vermiculite. Place in a cold frame or greenhouse if necessary to ensure the proper germination soil temperature (see snapshot box below).

Growing Roses from Cuttings

Semi-ripe cuttings can be taken in late summer. Look for healthy side shoots that are green and cut a 6 inch (15 cm) section. Trim off any leaves and soft growth and put it into a deep pot filled with compost, then water evenly and cover with plastic. Put the pot into a cold frame or sheltered potting shed and (if desired) transplant into your garden next spring.

Growing Roses from Transplants

When transplanting, roses should be planted so that the main stem is 1 inch (2.5 cm) below the soil. Add lots of organic manure and compost into the planting hole.

Snapshot: Planting Roses

  • Germination soil temperature: 70 degrees F (21 C)
  • Distance between plants: about 24 to 120 inches (60 to 300 cm) depending on variety
  • Planting depth: Bud union of plant should be 1 inch (2.5 cm) below soil level
  • Days to germination: 5 months
  • Preferred soil pH (see soil pH tester for more information): 6 to 6.9
  • Root division information (perennials only):
    • Root system type (clumping, spreading, rhizome or tuber): Spreading
    • Roots division frequency: Propagate by hardwood or semi-ripe cuttings INSTEAD OF root division
    • In which season should cuttings occur? Early fall
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Growing Roses from Seed, Cuttings & Transplants: Roses Care

Where to Find Growing & Plant Care Supplies...

For effectice, healthy and/or well-rounded options, click the following links...

Rose bush care and pruning instructions are included on a separate page...

Click here to jump to our Rose Bush Care & Pruning Climbing Roses and Standard Roses page.

Snapshot: Rose Plant Care

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Harvesting/Cutting Roses

It’s best to cut roses early in the morning. Look for flowers that are beginning to open to choose as cut flowers.

To keep your rose bush in good condition, cut at the first five leaf foliage cluster from your chosen flower or flower truss. Check that at least two leaves remain between the main stem and where you are making the cut.

Use a good pair of sharp pruning shears to cut stems at an angle and drop them into a bucket of lukewarm water. Make another small cut up from the base of the stem (so that the stem is split in two at the very bottom) before putting them into your vase or bowl.

To learn how to make your roses last as long as possible in your arrangements, see Proper Care of Cut Roses.

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Pest & Disease Problems with Roses

Some organic gardeners use garlic or catmint as companion plants for roses to deter aphids. There are also organic pesticide sprays available now to get rid of aphids. These are preferable, as they do not attack beneficial ladybugs or bees in your garden.

The following pests and diseases have been known to affect the success of growing Roses (see Organic Garden Pest Control for information about how to prevent and address pests and diseases)...

Pests

  • Aphids

Diseases

  • Bacterial leaf spot
  • Powdery mildew
  • Rust
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