Propagating Roses By Layering

Layering is an excellent method of propagating roses with long and flexible canes.

This is a simple and easy way to make more of your already established roses. Roses with long, flexible canes such as Ramblers, Climbers, Ground-cover roses and some Shrub roses can easily be propagated with this technique.

On the whole, it means to bury a flexible cane of an established rose bush in a prepared area and wait until this cane is rooting the following spring.

It is an easy to perform method, although few people know about it.

Layering of Roses: The Method

I had these beautiful crimson groundcover roses, and I neither knew their name nor where they came from. Anyway, I wanted exactly this variety to grow on that bald steep slope.

My neighbor told me that to cover one or two stems in the soil would be the easiest method to replicate this kind of rose.

The best time for this technique is midsummer during the growing season, however, roses can be layered any time of the year. Here is how it works:

  •  Work some peat into the soil where the stem will be buried and make a shallow depression (4-6 inches).
  • Choose a flexible cane that will bend down to the ground and remove the leaves from the area where the cane will be buried (12-16 inches from the end of the stem).
  • Cut about 2-3 inches of bark from the underside of the stem that will be buried. Do not injure the wood.
  • Anchor the cane with a forked stick or a looped piece of galvanized wire in the prepared depression and cover the layered cane with soil. The tip of the stem should jut out of the ground.
  • Keep the ground watered during dry weather. Cover the area with mulch to keep the cane moist
  • Rooting will usually take several months until the following spring.
  • Separate the new rooted layering from the parent plant by cutting it before the layer.
  • Transplant the new plant into its permanent place or allow it to mature in a container before it is transplanted.

It is important that the new plant is not allowed to flower during the first season.

Many other low growing plants like forsythias, rhododendron, honeysuckle or boxwood can be propagated with that simple method.

With this technique I successfully replicating the rose I wanted for the first time in my life.

By the way: the name of the groundcover rose I reproduced with this method was the “Fiery Sunsation” or “Chilterns” bred by Kordes in Germany.

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