Starting a Rose Bush and other plants from a Cutting (Slip)

Starting a Rose Bush from a Slip

For as long as I can remember, my Grandmother, Mother, and Aunts were always starting new plants from cuttings (slips). I think they called them slips because, they tore the piece of plant material from the donor plant, instead of cutting it off. They wanted a piece of plant skin, on the slip, they called it the tail. Well, for what ever reason they did it that way, they were able to start a large assortment of different plants, besides rose bushes. Aunt Anna started a nice collection of Blue Spruce trees, along with Roses, Euonymus, and Lilacs, that I still have. My Mother started many Roses, as well as Azaleas, Blue Spruce, Spiraea, and Hydrangea, to name a few. My maternal Grandmother was soo good at it, that she had many odd bushes and trees, and I know she could get a broom handle to root, if she put her mind to it. So this is what those Gardening Gals did…

Step 1 ..In the late Spring to Early Summer (Ma says, “if you try this too late in the growing season, there is less of a chance of this working“) find a plant (bush) that you would like to grow another one of. On that bush (in this case a Rose) look for a kind of new growth branch that grew off of a main leader, and can fit under a glass jar (see illustration 1). Don’t cut, but rip off the branch so you get the “tail” (see illustration 2). If for any reason this branch has flower buds, cut the flower off.

Step 2 ..Plant the Rose (or any other kind of bush/tree slip) in a shady spot in your garden, under a bush (etc), where it only gets filtered light. Not hot or direct light. Cover the slip with a jar (mini greenhouse), and make sure you water it every few days (see illustration 3). Moisture should build up under the jar. Over the next few weeks, if it takes, it will still look healthy, and even produce some extra growth. Don’t uncover or move it until the following Spring, when it has gone through one Winter, and came back to life. At that time dig it up, and move your new plant to its new permanent location.

Companion Posts
Roses..Planting Pruning and General Care 5-11-2011,
Planting a Garden Room on Your Property 2-17-2013,
Designing / Laying out Flower Beds 5-4-2013,
When Designing a Perennial Garden it’s ALL about the Shape of Leaves 1-15-2011,
Colored Foliage Adds the WOW FACTOR to a Garden 2-22-2011,
Stagger Plant Heights when Planting (Designing) a Garden 2-23-2011,
How to Plant (design) a garden Mass versus Specimen Planting 2-17-2011,
Plant (Start) a Flower Garden for Sun or Shade, Celebrate Spring 3-31-2012,
It’s Easy to grow PUSSYWILLOWS 2-15-2012,
My Hydrangeas Don’t / Won’t Bloom is a Lament uttered by Many 6-21-2012,
My Peonies Don’t / Won’t Bloom 5-16-2011,
Growing a Topiary from an Upright Yew 6-15-2011,
Looking at Evergreens in the Garden 1-31-2012,
Foundation Planting, Laying out Foundation Plants in Front of your Home 9-28-2013,
Planting Foundation Plants across the Front of your Home 10-21-2013


About fredgonsowskigardenhome

Your eyes deserve to view beauty. I hope Fred Gonsowski Garden Home helps to turn your vision, into a reality.
This entry was posted in Bushes, Shrubs, Trees, Roses, Peonies, Tulips, etc, The Spring Garden, The Summer Garden. Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Starting a Rose Bush and other plants from a Cutting (Slip)

  1. Pingback: Stap voor stap stekken, zachte en hardhout stekken | Hobby

  2. Denise says:

    This sounds good how to planting, I going try right away!!!!!

  3. you could pot the “slip” could you not?

    • Hi there Yeastcoast Bakers, Love your title. We always did it directly in the ground. Soil is soil, so it probably would work, but we have a cold Winter here in upstate New York, so doing in the ground is better for making it through Winter weather.

  4. carrie Svensson says:

    Can your start it in water, until the roots show, place in a pot and then the grould?
    I do like our “one step” in the ground I admit.

  5. You have inspired me so I’ve got to hurry and eat breakfast so I can get outside and give it a try. 🙂

    • Hi there Judy, I don’t know where you live, but the end of May to the end of June is the probably the best time to start the Slips. My mother, grandmother, aunts and myself have started many things that way. Here in upstate New York, we would most likely not try attempting to get something growing probably from mid July on. If the season is too late, things are heading back to Fall, and they might not take. Thanks for your comment ;-}

  6. Charlotte says:

    Loved this article. My mom and grandma did this too but I never figured it out. My mom passed away two years ago. She had a rose bush that was probably sixty years old and I decided to dig it up and bring it home. The bush made it. It’s growing in my backyard but my daughters all want cuttings. I’m going to try this. Keep your fingers crossed.

  7. Pingback: Tightwad Tips- June 2013 - Page 7 - Homesteading Today

  8. Denise Mychele Hutchinson says:

    What a simply delightful lesson and story you have shared. I thank you 🙂

  9. daisyg says:

    Fantastic drawings. I’ve had a lot of luck slipping hydrangeas – they don’t need a ‘greenhouse’ cover and will put out a single bloom in the same season. One question: I always thought new roots come off a branch nodule, but I don’t see any underground in your great drawing. Are they there? How many? Thanks ~

    • Hi there DaisyG, the slip is taken from a branch somewhere toward the middle to top of donor plant. It is not a rooted stem that grows up from the ground. My neighbor has made many new hydrangea plants dividing new growth from a big plant that has spread out.

  10. ashlee says:

    This is amazing. I am so glad I found this on Pinterest! My cousins are hoping to get some lilacs going, and we have a whole fence lined with them. I tried digging some out but I’m not sure if it worked or not. This will also be perfect to take a “slip” from my sister’s hydrangeas! I have always wanted some! 🙂 Thank you so much for this wonderful post!

    • Hi there Ashlee, with lilacs, you can dig suckers that kind of pop up everywhere around the base of the plant. My Mother and her sisters just tried starting about everything from slips. If the plants took, they took, if they did not, it did not cost them anything. The number one thing is to keep the plant watered, and in a shady spot, and covered by the jar, even if it looks to be growing until the beginning of the next gardening season. Also Ma says if you try starting a plant too late in the gardening season from a slip, it probably won’t work. Good luck with your project, and Happy Summer ;-}

  11. Pingback: protractedgardenI found this after I started my roses I got after my brother died. I have a small start on one of the stems i did this with. I already have a small new growth coming from starting a cut rose. I cut right below a bud of green and again but

  12. Cathy says:

    Hi Fred
    I was wondering if I took a slip from a rose bush at work and kept it wet in newspaper in a plastic ziplock bag in my car til i got home with it then plant it the way you pictured it here would that work?

    • Hi there Cathy, I don’t know where you live, but if you can take a slip home, try rooting it. All perennials have a natural cycle of coming to life each year. In the Spring through early Summer they are at their most vigorous. Starting in late Summer through the Fall, they are getting ready to go back to sleep for the Winter, and are not in the mood to try setting roots, or will take forever to set roots. I say try, but don’t have great expectations at this time. Good Luck ;-}

  13. amado martin DVM says:

    If you think you have alive plant what do you do with jar?do you leave it or remove it?

    • Hi there Amado, (not knowing in what part of the country, or if you are even in American) after you start to see new growth, you can then dig up the plant and site it where you want it. Here in up-state New York, we would leave it covered for many months and then locate it after the new plant went through one winter (the jar is acting like a green house, providing shelter and keeping in humidity). If your plant is looking like it is doing good, keep it covered and keep watering it; transplant it in late August to early September. It will have a few months, before winter comes, to acclimate itself to its permanent location.

  14. Madhumathi says:


    Informative, with amazing illustrations.
    I live in Chennai, India. With the humidity here, should i still cover with jar after planting?

    Worried about fungal…


    • Hi there Madhumathis, the purpose of the jar is that it holds the humidity and is in a way a mini greenhouse. I would say, try it both ways and see which way works best for you. Good luck with your project ;-}

  15. Linda says:

    Can I do this indoors in a pot because I live in Arizona

  16. Pingback: 30 Diagrams to Make You Master in Growing Roses – PlantandLoving

Leave a Reply to fredgonsowskigardenhome Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s