Learn to cultivate roses


Roses have basic needs – water, sunshine, nutrients, well-drained soil and a bit of tending to help them maintain an attractive form.

Although heavy pruning is generally left for late winter or early spring, roses benefit from light trimming in fall, especially if they are overgrown. Roses that sport long, heavy or crossing canes may not fare well in winter winds, sleet or snow.

Proper pruning can enhance the natural beauty and form of roses and keep them healthy. Always use clean, sharp tools to minimize the spread of disease and prevent damage to canes. Make your cuts at 45-degree angles about ¼” above buds. Buds are the raised areas on canes that eventually form new stems.

Slant cuts down and away from buds to prevent water or sap from being trapped around buds, which can cause rot. If you cut too close to the bud, it may damage or kill it. Cuts made too far away will leave a stub that will be prone to disease or pest damage. Angles that are too steep will weaken the bud’s attachment to the stem.


First, remove dead, damaged or diseased wood. Cut dark, dead stubs back to healthy wood. Healthy tissue has green bark and a white core.

Next, remove canes that grow toward the center of the plant and branches that cross. Make pruning cuts above an outward-facing bud to ensure that the new stem will grow outward, leaving the center of the plant open. (The direction that the bud faces determines the direction that the new stem will grow.)

Many roses may be propagated. Methods vary, depending upon the rose type and if it is a hybrid or species. Some are started from seeds collected at the end of the growing season when rose hips ripen. Bud grafting is used to duplicate a favorite hybrid. Yet another method is layering, where growing canes are buried beneath the soil to encourage rooting. Rooted canes may be cut away from the parent plant and transplanted.

A fairly simple propagation method is making stem cuttings. Healthy softwood cuttings are taken from parent plants and potted in sterile medium. Roots develop in 6-8 weeks. In time, new roses may be transplanted into the garden.


To learn more about propagating roses, attend the Lake Granbury Master Gardener program The Art of Propagating Roses on Tuesday. For information, call 817-579-3280.

For answers to your horticulture questions, please call the Texas AgriLife Extension, Hood County at 817-579-3280 and ask to speak to a Master Gardener or visit the website at hoodcountymastergardeners.org.