Grafting and rooting of roses
Note Number: AG0188
Published: September 1999
Updated: August 2010
Rose plants are routinely propagated by rooting and budding in the field. Rootstock cuttings are planted out between May and July and in late spring rooted material is budded. Plants produced in this manner are not ready for flower picking for at least one year. In a quicker technique, sometimes known as "stenting", roses are simultaneously grafted and rooted under mist in a glasshouse to produce a plant in four to six weeks. Such a plant may flower after only four months. This method can yield from 200 to 400 plants per square metre in a five-week period, and can be used throughout the year.
Select either softwood (at a stage where leaves are well developed) or semi-hardwood material of 6-8 mm diameter from actively growing plants. It is advisable to remove all buds from the stock to overcome the problem of excessive suckering. However, some growers suggest that grafts are more likely to succeed and cuttings are more likely to survive if leaves at nodes are retained intact.
The length of stock can be varied between 50 and 400 mm. A 50 mm length will give acceptable results but stocks that are 100 mm long are easier to work with. Use of stocks longer than 100 mm is usually unnecessary and wastes material.
Rockwool is an excellent rooting medium, however, sand/peat mixes (for example, 1:1, 3:1, by volume) and peat/perlite mixes (for example, 1:3, 1:2, by volume) have also been used with success. In some cases rooting may be improved by using bottom heat (20-25°C) and/or an indolebutyric acid (IBA) basal dip. IBA can be applied in liquid form (50% alcohol) at 500-1000 mg/L for 5 seconds at 10 mm depth.
Glasshouse-grown softwood/semi-hardwood cuttings with one or two well-developed leaves are the most suitable. Many growers also favour material taken from stems that carry well-aged flower buds. Final success may depend on the combination of varieties used for stocks and scions.
The type of graft chosen should ensure that a large cambium layer interface occurs for strong union and effective vascular connection. Whip (or tongue) grafts have been found to be slightly superior to saddle and wedge grafts. The graft union can be held together by tying with non-adhesive PVC tape but if short stocks/scions are used, pinning or clamping with pegs may be more convenient. Tape or pegs can be removed from three to five days after plants are taken from the mist bed. Six weeks after grafting, over 85% of unions should be successfully healed.
Grafted cuttings are propagated in the mist bed, hence there is a need for careful monitoring of mist rates, and judicious use of fungicidal sprays. Fusarium and Botrytis infections are likely to occur and are generally controlled by weekly sprays of a suitable fungicide. Contact us for registered products.
Refer to the Chemical use section of our website for further information relating to the safe and appropriate use of chemicals, including management of chemical residues and licensing requirements or contact us to speak to your local chemical standards officer.
This Agriculture note was developed (1994) and revised (2010) by Graeme Thomson, Future Farming Systems Research in August 2010.
Published and Authorised by:
Department of Environment and Primary Industries
1 Spring Street
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