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!