Roses from Cuttings, or Roses from Grafts

July 15th, 2007

Zephirine Drouhin Rose Over an ArborMost roses sold are hybrids, which means they will not grow true from seed. So to propagate such roses there are two main methods used, cuttings & grafts. Which is better? Well, let me tell you a story.

I have a ‘Zephirine Drouhin’ climbing rose planted near an arbor on the north side of my house. Being on the north side it doesn’t get much sun, and so the blooms have never been as abundant as I would like, but it has grown great. Canes grow that end up 15 feet long, new canes come up all the time, the thing is just grows like crazy. One problem I’ve had in the past though is it being eaten by rabbits in the winter so last winter I put a wire cage around it, so finally this year it was able to build on already existing growth instead of starting over. It also is high enough to catch sunlight at the top, over the roof of the garage, so finally the top of it atl east is getting sun. The end result is that finally this year it bloomed quite nicely.

Anyways, I planted this rose in 2003, it was a well rooted but only 6 inch high cutting.

I bought other of this same cultivar that were propagated with grafts, those have not even come close to the same vigor as this plant. Additionally, for us northern gardeners, a grafted rose can often be killed down below graft point, and when that happens any new growth will be based on the rootstock, and not the graft you bought originally. With a cutting it can die back all the way to the ground and the rootstock can still put up the same rose you bought.

So, in my experience, if you have the choice, buy cuttings and not grafts. Now, you’ll rarely have the choice, almost all commercial growers use grafts, but cuttings can be found at farmers markets, swap meets, from friends, on ebay, or otherwise from hobbyists.

One Response to “Roses from Cuttings, or Roses from Grafts”

  1. Kari  Says:

    Thanks for the advice – my husband loves roses and has finally gotten to start a rose garden. He’s always looking for new tips and new plants and new spaces to plant them…I had no idea roses could be so complicated!

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