It might sound strange, but rooting roses in potatoes is a great way to double the number of flowers in your garden without putting a huge dent in your wallet. The process allows a rose cutting, the stem, to flourish in a perfectly moist environment, nourishing it to grow into a beautifully vibrant rose bush.
This project is great for both advanced and novice gardeners. And once your cuttings bloom, you have the wonderful task of arranging them throughout your yard. Take a look at the steps we’ve laid out for you; you’ll be surprised how simple it is to root a rose cutting in a potato!
The Rose, A Symbol Of Love
Roses are considered to be a symbol of love, making them one of the most favored flowers in the entire world. So, why wouldn’t someone want to plant dozens around their yard if they were able?
Of course, not everyone has that all-powerful green thumb us normal folks tend to get envious of. The good news is that there is a surprisingly simple way to grow roses at a rapid rate that will save your wallet. No need for gardening superpowers here!
The Oldest Rose Bush Is 1,000 Years Old
One great thing about roses is that if they are taken care of properly, they can live a very long life. The oldest rose bush in the world has been crawling up the walls of the Cathedral of Hildesheim in Germany for the past 1,000 years!
Now, it’s your turn to grow some roses that will adorn your garden for years to come. Keep reading; this little rooting trick is bound to have you with more than a few dozen beautiful roses growing at a rapid rate.
Before You Start, Gather Supplies
The good news is that with this little gardening trick, you only need a few items. All you’re going to need is a rose, of course, a potato, a plastic bottle, a bit of soil, a pot, and some gardening tools to dig with.
Yes, you read that correctly. A potato. Before you shake your head and roll your eyes, hear us out! After all, you want to have a rainbow of roses decorating your yard, right?
Different Rose Colors Have Different Meanings
There are about 24 different shades of roses, and each of them holds their own special meaning. While red is considered to be the symbol for love, pale pink symbolizes grace and joy. So, be sure to have a bunch of different colors in your garden; you’ll want to be ready for any occasion!
Are you ready to learn the “rapid rose growing” trick? Trust us, we know it’s going to sound a bit strange, but we promise that it works.
The First Step: Getting The Rose Ready
The first step to growing beautiful rose bushes is simple; pick out a rose from the local nursery that you love. This is going to be your “starter rose.” Ironically, you’re going to do something to the flower you probably never thought would be part of gardening.
You’re going to remove all of the leaves from the stem and diagonally cut off the head of the flower. See, something you most likely never would have done before reading these instructions! For a clean cut, we recommend carefully using an X-Acto knife, removing the head about three centimeters down the stem.
Selecting The Right Rose Is Key
Before cutting the rose, though, let’s discuss proper rose selection. First, you’re most likely going to want to grab a few different roses from the nursery. This way, you have a few backups just in case one of the flowers doesn’t transplant well.
That being said, look for fresh and healthy roses. Like most living things, these will have the best chance of surviving, thriving, and establishing themselves in their new environment. All, of which, are key to this gardening trick!
Don’t Be Hesitant Of The First Step
We understand if you’re hesitant to cut off the head of your pretty flower. After all, David Austin bred a rose known as Juliet for 15 years! And he spent a pretty penny doing so, a total of five million dollars.
But think about it this way, all of his hard work paid off in the end. Austin’s Juliet rose is now considered to be one of the world’s most expensive rose cultivars. And while we’re not going to be spending millions, it is important to start the process by baring the stem.
Step Two: Selecting The Best Potato
While this step might sound funny, it is very important to select the best potato for your rose’s new “home.” First, you’re going to look at red or white potatoes since they have more moisture than other varieties of potato.
Then, you’re going to want to make sure there are no blemishes and that the potato looks relatively healthy. There’s no reason to transplant your healthy rose into an unhealthy vessel, after all! And like the roses, make sure you grab more than one potato, just in case.
It’s All About Finding The Correct Combination
Like most things, everyone has varying levels of success with different potatoes. This is especially true with avid gardeners since they tend to grow their own produce, including potatoes. So, if you’re going the store-bought route, just be extra vigilant and take notice of what you are buying.
If the first variation of potato fails, try another! This process is all about the gardener finding the right combination of elements that works well together. So don’t feel discouraged if the first potato doesn’t work out as planned.
Step Three: Planting In The Ground Vs. In A Pot
The next step is very important. You need to decide whether it would be advantageous to plant your potato-rose in the ground or a planting pot. This decision is dependent on the time of year as well as where you live.
In the fall, gardeners will have more success planting in pots unless they live in milder climates. By planting in pots, it’s easier to shelter your plants when harsh winters come around. But if it’s the spring or summer, in-ground planting is the way to go!
Step Four: Preparing For Pot Planting
At this point, you have your prepared roses and potato. Now, you’re going to want to prepare your pot for planting. If you’ve gardened before, then this part of the process might feel familiar.
All you’re going to want to do is grab your planting soil and the pot you’re going to use. Then fill up the pot! Make sure you evenly water the soil, so it is nice and moist and ready for your potato.
Step Four (Again): Prepare For Ground Planting
If it’s a good time of the year to plant your potato-roses in the ground, all the better! But this gardening strategy is going to be a bit different than planting in pots. To start planting in the ground, you’re first going to want to grab some tools, such as a gardening shovel and hoe.
Then, you’ll want to start digging out a trench in your garden. The stretch of soil you’ll be digging should be about six inches deep and clearly vertical on one side. This way, the potato sits nicely inside.
Step Five: Drilling A Hole In The Potato
Now that either your pot or garden is ready for planting and your rose is de-budded, it’s time to prepare your potato! For this part, all you’re going to need is a handy-dandy screwdriver.
The tool is a good option to screw a hole in the potato due to its similar size to a rose stem. You’re going to want to drill about a three-inch hole into the potato. This way, the stem fits snugly in the potato and won’t wobble around.
Step Six: Placing The Stem In The Potato
Up next is the step you’ve most likely been waiting for: placing the stem in the potato. But before we can do that, we’re going to want to brush some rooting hormones on the bottom of the hole we drilled in the potato.
This will help the rose thrive and grow to its full potential. After you shake off any excess hormones, carefully place the stem into the potato, taking care not to push it further than the hole you created.
Step Seven: Planting The Potato In A Pot
If you’re doing this rose trick in the fall, you’re most likely opting to use a pot instead of a trench outside. In that case, you’re going to want to gently place your potato-rose in your already soil-packed pot.
Make sure it’s in a nice, warm location! Then, you’re going to want to place a bit of soil over the potato, so only the stem is visible, keeping in mind that you don’t want to misalign the stem.
Step Seven (Again): Planting The Potato In A Trench
On the other side of the coin, if you live in a mild climate and have the opportunity to plant your potato outside in a trench, do so. The process is going to be very similar to pot planting.
You’re going to want to carefully place your potato in the trench. Then, gently cover it with around three inches worth of soil. Be mindful lightly pack down the soil. Compacting it too much allows moisture to seep through, something your flower won’t enjoy.
Step Eight: Cutting The Bottom Off A Water Bottle
Once you’ve situated your potato in either the ground or the pot, you’re going to want to find a plastic water bottle. Yes, we know this sounds weird, but you did just place a rose stem in a potato to plant, so bear with us!
Taking an X-Acto knife, you’re going to want to cut off the bottom of the water bottle. Be very careful while using the instrument; they tend to be very sharp.
Step Nine: The Water Bottle Effect
Once your water bottle is cut and ready, bring it over to your pot or out to your trench. You’re going to want to gently place the bottle over the rose stem, carefully nestling it into the soil. The bottle has a few different benefits.
First, it acts as a pseudo greenhouse, regulating temperature. It also keeps the stem safe from any garden pests who might like a snack. Lastly, it will protect the rose from any harsh weather, especially if you planted your potato outside in a trench without protection.
Step Ten: Daily Checks
Transferring freshly-cut roses to a potato and then to the soil is a sensitive process. And since you took such care to set everything up and prepare for the re-rooting, make sure you give the plant the attention it deserves and needs.
Each day, be sure to remove the water bottle for at least five minutes. This is so the stem can breathe a bit, and you’re able to take note of whether it is still healthy and the soil remains moist.
Here Comes The Rose!
You’ll know you did something right when you begin to see growth emerge from the stem. It’ll take about a month, but once that happens, there is a test you’re going to want to conduct. You’re going to want to gently check to see if the stem is resisting you attempting to pull it from the soil.
If so, it’s a great sign! That means the roots are successfully growing through the potato and soil. Once you have the swing of rooting roses in potatoes, you’ll have a flourishing rose garden for a fraction of the price as a rose bush in no time!
Eggshells Can Work Wonders
For the smaller pests like slugs and snails, putting down broken eggshells around your plants will keep those slimy critters from eating them up. Snails and slugs would avoid trying to slide over broken eggshells since it can cut them up. While this method has worked for some gardeners, others have disproved this theory in their own gardens. Still, it’s worth a shot.
Just be sure to break the eggshells down into very fine pieces, and you’ll also want to cleanse the eggshells well enough so that there is no apparent egg smell. Otherwise, you might attract rodents instead!
Use Citrus Peels For Seedlings
Lemons and other citrus fruits are used frequently in the kitchen but when their sweet and sour juices are all used, you don’t need to toss the peels right away. Instead, try using the peels to make seedlings!
All you need to do it poke a hole or two at the bottom of the peel for drainage and fill it with some soil and seeds. After it’s ready to transfer to your garden, you can plant the whole thing into the ground! The peel will compost directly into the soil and nourish the plant itself as it grows.
Let Your Wine Bottles Water Your Plants
Folks with green thumbs who also happen to be winos can put all those empty wine bottles to use by upcycling them into plant waterers. Why buy an aqua globe when you can DIY?
The easiest way to do this would be to poke a hole into a cork and stuff it back into a wine bottle filled with water. Insert the neck of the bottle into the soil of your favorite potted plant and it will stay appropriately hydrated for as long as there’s water in the bottle!
Use A Coffee Filter To Line Your Pots
Have you ever watered your potted plants only to watch all of it drain out of the bottom right away? One way to avoid this is to use a coffee filter to line the pot before filling it with your soil and your plant.
Water might still get out this way but at the very least, the coffee filter will slow things down and allow the soil to absorb the water for longer. Not only are coffee filters absorbent, but they will also prevent soil from clogging up the drainage holes of your pot.
Soap Deters Deer
Did you know that deer don’t like the smell of soap? By cutting up pieces of bar soap and placing them around your garden, you’ll be adding a layer of protection against deer and some other critters that love to munch on your plants.
It’s best to use a highly fragrant bar of soap to get the job done. You can also try hanging it from tree branches around the garden.
Put Diapers At The Bottom Of Your Potted Plants
If you’ve got a bunch of old diapers that you never ended up using, or that your child grew out of, then don’t worry they still have some value. Diapers are the perfect moisture retainer. Stick one in the bottom of a potted plant then layer the soil on top. The diaper will allow the planter to retain water which means there is less of a chance that you accidentally suck it dry.
This is the perfect solution for plants that need a ton of watering and car. Consider the diaper trick when planting cattail, iris, or swamp sunflower.
Use Beer To Get Rid Of Slimy Problems
As it turns out, slugs and snails are attracted to beer – the yeast in it, anyway. You can pour beer into a shallow tin and place it on the ground, or you can fill up a cup and bury it. The slimy critters will gravitate towards it, drink it, and accidentally drown.
Just be sure to keep the rim of the beer container at least an inch above soil level to protect other bugs that eat slugs. If you don’t mind using a brew or two for your garden rather than drinking it, you might want to try this hack!
Banana Peels Make Great Compost
Banana peels are another great addition to your compost pile. The peels of these yellow fruits add calcium, magnesium, sulfur, phosphates, potassium, and sodium to the soil when it is mixed with compost, which can help your plants flourish.
Because banana peels break down quickly, these nutrients are absorbed by the compost faster than other materials. Cutting up the peels into small pieces will accelerate this process even more. Just be sure to add the peels to a compost pile, since burying them directly in the soil can actually slow down the break-down process.
Make Hot Caps With Old Jugs
Nothing is worse than seeing your seedlings succumb to an early or late frost. You can prevent this from happening by creating a hot cap out of an old milk or water jug. Simply cut the bottoms of gallon-sized plastic jugs and remove their caps for ventilation. Bury the bottom of the jug in the soil around the plants you want to protect.
This will keep your plants several degrees warmer during early seasons when the temperature drops between night and day are stark. Just remember to remove them when weather is warm.
Make Watering Cans Out Of Milk Jugs
Milk and water jugs can also be upcycled into DIY water jugs! Simply heat up a needle before using it to poke holes in the jug’s cap, taking care not to poke your fingers along the way. Depending on how thick of a needle you use and how many holes you poke, you can create a fine spray or a substantial flow of water.
This makeshift watering can is ideal for house plants and seedlings. In some cases, they’re even better than watering cans, which have the tendency to leak and dribble down the spout.
Cinnamon Will Save Your Plants
Cinnamon is a key ingredient that everyone should have in their spice cabinet because not only does it boost flavors, but it also works as a secret weapon in the garden. Cinnamon has anti-fungal properties that help save seedlings that suffer damping off disease. It can also help ward off slime mold and mushrooms that spring up in planters.
Fighting off plant disease isn’t the only thing cinnamon is good for. It also works great as a rooting agent when applied to the stem and can deter ant infestations. On top of all that, it smells great, too!
Old Muffin Tins Are The Perfect Size
Your old muffin tins could be put to great use in the garden in more ways than one. When you push the bottom of the muffin tin into soft soil, you end up with perfectly-spaced wells for seeds and other plants! Once you’ve created a proper grid, you can dig each well as deep as it needs to be.
Muffin tins are also the perfect size for starting seedlings for herbs and flowers. Just be sure to use a muffin tin that you’ll no longer need in the kitchen, for obvious sanitary reasons.
Old Spoons Make Cute Garden Labels
Instead of recycling or giving away old spoons you no longer use, you could upcycle them with this fun craft project! First, you’ll need to completely flatten the head of the spoon using a hammer. Next, use craft paint in colors of your choice to decorate them and write the names of herbs and vegetables that you have in your garden.
Stick the spoon handles into the soil so that your festive labels are facing up. This way, you have a cute and unique way to identify what is growing in your garden and where.
Kill Weeds With Vinegar
White vinegar is often used as a natural weed killer in place of the store-bought varieties that are often filled with harmful pesticides. When sprayed on weeds, vinegar will drain the moisture out of their leaves and eventually they will die. This works best on a dry, sunny day.
There are precautions to take with this method, however. Vinegar may be effective at killing weeds but that also means it can kill everything it touches, so keep it away from your prized plants.
Paper Towels To Keep The Plants Watered For Days
If you’re going to be going on vacation for a few days and don’t have a way to keep your indoor plants watered, get out your paper towel. This technique is incredibly easy, cheap and efficient.
The key to this hack is to make sure that your paper towel is as deep in the glass as possible. The goal is to have the paper towel spread evenly over all of the soil. You’ll never have to worry about your plants dying when you’re gone for a few days ever again.
Make A Garden In A Can
You can recycle your empty soda cans or you can turn them into cute planters for herbs or other small plants! Simply use a can opener to take the tops off but use caution, since you can accidentally cut yourself with the lid.
Next, poke a few tiny holes at the bottom of the can for drainage, then fill it with soil and plant seeds and watch them grow! You can even go the extra mile and customize the cans before you fill them up.
Save Soil By Layering Your Planter With Soda Cans
Having a deep planter or garden box can really elevate your plants. Unfortunately, it can also make you spend hundreds of dollars on soil just to fill the planters. If you want to avoid it, recycle some of your old soda cans and layer the bottom of your planter with them.
This hack means you can use less soil but it also provides good drainage and airflow. If you don’t want to use old soda cans, you can even just buy some cheap plastic plant pots for the dollar store to raise the bottom.
Use Honey To Root Cut Plants
If you want a natural growth stimulant to propagate your plant cuttings, you can try using honey. In addition to being a natural antiseptic with anti-fungal properties, honey contains enzymes that promote root growth in plants.
If you’re propagating using a potting method, scrape the cut-ends of your plant and dip in honey before burying it in the soil. If you prefer to propagate with water, add a teaspoon of honey to the water. Dip your cuttings in more honey before adding it to the water and wait until they form roots!
Deter Insects With An All-Natural Spray
If annoying insects keep gnawing away at your plants, there is an all-natural way to eliminate them using items found in your kitchen! Put two heads of garlic and three cups of mint leaves in a food processor, then boil that mixture with 12 cups of water and two teaspoons of dry cayenne pepper.
After letting the concoction sit overnight, strain it into spray bottles and add a couple squirts of biodegradable dishwashing liquid. When you spray this on your plants, the scent will deter insects that like to feast on your garden. If they come into direct contact with the spray, they might die.
Make A Planter With An Old Colander
If you have an old colander that you’re not willing to part ways with because of how cute it is, you can keep it in your life by using it as a planter. Take any old strainer or colander and line it with coffee filters. Next, add enough soil for whatever floral plant you want to add to it.
The filter will keep the soil from falling out of the holes but will still allow water to drain out of it. You can make it a floating planter by adding a chain or sturdy rope to the handles!
Use Wine Bottles To Line Your Walkway
Another way to upcycle your old wine bottles is to use them to line your gardens. Simply stick the bottles into the ground neck-first so that the base of the bottle is sticking up. Make sure they are buried deep enough so that they don’t get knocked over easily.
This is not only a great decorative element but it will also prevent kids and pets from accidentally stepping onto growing seedlings and other unprotected plants. It might not be a great idea if your yard is frequently used for play, however.
Use An Old Sink As A Cute Planter
If you ever remodel your kitchen or bathroom, you might want to consider keeping your old sinks. They can be upcycled into a cute planter that will add an interesting decorative element to your garden!
Simply cut off all the plumbing ends of the sink and maybe place it in an area where it will be out of the way. The water should be able to drain out of the bottom. After adding soil and a plant of your choosing, you will have a shabby-chic planter that will definitely be a conversation starter whenever you have guests in your garden!
Use Plastic Storage Tubs To Make A Mini Greenhouse
The concept of a greenhouse is pretty basic. It’s just a container that lets light in, but won’t let heat out. You can buy at-home greenhouses for a pretty penny, or you can use an extra plastic storage bin and make your own. Just take the tiny potted seedlings that you’d normally leave on your window and transfer them to the bin. If you can, get a bin with a clear lid also to let even more light in.
If you live in an apartment without a yard or space to garden outside, then this is the perfect way to get your green thumb on.
2-Liter Soda Bottles Can Also Create A Greenhouse Effect
If you’re not interested in creating an entire greenhouse, but you have some seedlings already planted that need help, you can build individual greenhouses. Take an empty 2-liter soda bottle and cut off the bottom few inches. Then you can place the bottle on top of a seedling.
This soda bottle hack will not only act as a mini-greenhouse, but it will protect your precious little seedling from frost, wind, and strong rains that could otherwise ruin it.
Use Plastic Forks To Keep Animals Out
You can have the nicest garden in the world but it won’t matter if your local wildlife fancies it too. Some people will resort to building fences or running plastic chicken wire around the garden but let’s face it, that can take up a lot of space and drain your wallet.
If you want a cheaper solution for keeping animals out, try strategically sticking plastic forks every few inches throughout your garden. They will stop animals from stepping freely on the soil, and they can even be used to hold the names of your plants!
Coffee Grounds Help Gardens Grow
A great source for fertilizer or mulch can be found right in your own kitchen. Used coffee grounds can do wonders for your garden if used correctly. Coffee grounds work as a green material in compost if mixed with the correct amount of brown material. This is because old coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen.
As such, coffee grounds can also help fertilize your garden if it is mixed appropriately with the top inches of soil or other dry materials. Just don’t add too much grounds at once, since they can bind together and prevent your plants from getting water.
Sprinkle Cinnamon On Your Seedlings
Plants are living things and just like humans, they’re prone to diseases. A common disease for seedlings is called “damping off.” It’s when a white, furry fungus grows on the stems of the seedling and stops it from accepting the starting mix. This happens in super-humid environments which unfortunately can occur in greenhouses.
If you don’t want to get rid of your greenhouse but want to stop “damping off” disease, sprinkle cinnamon on your plants. Cinnamon has natural anti-fungal qualities and as a bonus, it smells great!
Paint Stones For DIY Garden Markers
Let’s face it, garden markers can be pretty ugly and ruin the look of your garden. Using the plastic name tags and sticks can make your garden look unauthentic. If you want to keep your garden looking earthy but know where every plant is, then find a few natural stones and paint them.
You can usually find stones that look like plant your want also. Try using long, skinny rocks to mark your carrots and short, squat rocks for pumpkins.
Use Herbs To Deter Mosquitos
Can we just say that mosquitos are probably the most annoying and useless bugs on the planet? There’s an interesting gardening hack that you can use to deter any mosquitos from hanging around your yard.
It’s called a “mosquito control” garden and it consists of grouping citronella geranium, marigold ‘lemon gem’, lemongrass, catnip, ageratum ‘artist purple’ and lemon thyme all together. This concoction of plants is a mosquitos kryptonite and it will ensure that you won’t have any of those pesky skitters hanging around your garden.
Hydrogen Peroxide Can Help Your Plant’s Root
Most people will use hydrogen peroxide to ensure that their cuts don’t get infected, But, most people, including avid gardeners, don’t realize how effective hydrogen peroxide can be for plants. It can save your plants from root rot or fungal diseases and can help sprout new plantings in the future.
It’s important to use a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution once a day and then squirt a little bit every time you re-moisten your plants. If you mix 32 parts water to one part hydrogen peroxide, you can improve your plant root system entirely.