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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Saturday - January 23, 2016

From: Huntsville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Propagation
Title: Growing Florist Roses
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

Often I find that florist roses sprout for me, but I fail to get them to grow into a bush. Do you have the answer?

ANSWER:

Although, Mr. Smarty Plants doesn't usually answer questions about non-native plants (ie: your florist roses), I do have experience with rose cuttings and rose growing so wanted to share some advice.

First, Linda from northern Virginia has some information about her successful rooting of florist rose stems that I wanted to share with you ... I have successfully rooted stems from store-bought rose bouquets that who knows how long they have been cut!! I was tickled when it worked the first time, so now i frequently beg a rose out of a patient's floral bouquet if I see one of the flowers has a long stem and several sets of 5 leaves still attached near the bloom with any tiny evidence of budding growth at the leaf-stem junction. I have grown some spectacular hybrid teas this way!!


Just do the usual, cut off the flower above a 5 leaf cluster, leave the next 5 leaf cluster on the stem and pull off any leaf clusters below that. Cut off both remaining leaf clusters to just the first set of two leaves on each. I usually cut the stem on a slight angle just below where I have pulled off the next 5 leaf cluster, dip the bottom 1" in rooting hormone (roottone) and put it in moist potting soil. I cover the cutting with a canning jar, set it in bright shade on the porch and in 2 weeks I can usually see new growth. After about 4 weeks and in stages I take off the jar, then move it further and further out toward the light until it can tolerate full sun all day. I move it into the garden when the cutting is about 6 weeks old. I hope that others will try this and find success. I have been so excited when I see the cutting take off!! Happy propagating!

Secondly, these commercial florist roses are probably grown in places like Colombia and Ecuador where temperatures are very mild and the roses are selected for their wonderful blooms and not their hardiness. In addition, for many decades roses produced for North America have been grafted onto a hardier, tougher rootstock so they have a better chance of survival in our gardens. Your florist rose cutting that rooted wasn't successful because it wasn't a hardy rose cultivar and wasn't grafted onto a hardy rootstock.  You will have a better chance to successfully grow rooted cuttings that are the same cultivar as "own root" hardy roses or miniature roses.

 

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