Start little roses within next two months
by Ronella Stager, Columnist
Jun 29, 2011 | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Two readers have called this week with the same question. Can you start a Knockout Rose from a cutting and if so, when is the ideal time to try? Since I have no experience in starting one, I can only advise that they can be propagated as any other rose. From now till the last of August is the time to start little roses. Some roses are easier to propagate than others. The easiest is the tough miniature rose. Also the old fashioned rose is easy to start. The fruit jar method is a very old way and Ma was an expert at it. First, enrich the soil where you want to put the cutting. Use some old rotted manure or compost. Dig down about a foot for each cutting and add old rotted manure or compost and mix with the soil. Take cuttings from a mature rose by pulling a stem downward leaving the heel on the stem. That’s where the root will start. Leave the cuttings in water for several days. Then roll the bottom of the stem up to about three inches in rooting compound if you have it and if you don’t, it’s mighty handy to have around. Make an impression in the prepared spot, fill the impression with water and after it is soaked up, put the stem in the soil, being careful not to rub off the rooting compound. Press the soil together and cover with a quart or half gallon jar. I like to surround the jar with two large rocks to keep the jar in place. Since this jar will be kept in place until spring, dogs or careless walking can tip it over. If all goes well, in spring you will find little leaves starting and you will have a fine little rose. Leave the jar in place until there is no danger of frost. You will need to leave the new rose in place for a year. To be sure of getting a start, put several cuttings under jars. They will need to be in shade for that year. I always put at least three of a kind because they won’t all be a success. You will need to keep these little greenhouses damp all summer. If this sounds confusing, give me a call and I will walk you through it.

Some gardeners use clay pots rather than the jars. Whichever method you use, keeping the soil damp at all times is most important.

A very old method of propagating roses is to slice a potato and put the stem inside the potato and then put it in soil. Ma told me that her mother-in-law, a great gardener, used that method and it worked every time. I tried it and got a big lot of potato sprouts.

The beauty of garden lilies and the ease of growing them should make them one of your most prized flowers. The name lily is sometimes confusing since there are Lily-of-the-valley, African-lily, daylily, waterlily, etc. They all are part of the lily family. A true lily will bloom and thrive for at least five years without any unusual care and then they can be dug up and separated. Just after they bloom is the time to move them. Lilies need good to moderate soil, good drainage and sunshine.

Lilies should be planted by October so it is not too late to order. The old tiger lily is not the lily to mix with a perennial garden. That is the orange with the big brown spots.

The true lily is not invasive. Some of them are the Easter lily, the Madonna lily, the Star and some lesser known. All of these need to be planted from four to six inches. They like neutral soil and NO manure. They need moisture in summer just as any plant. They look best in groups of three. I have never lost a lily from freezing and I leave mulch on them during winter.

If you are considering starting a perennial garden or adding to one, lilies, tall phlox, Russian sage, Autumn Joy sedum and a few roses would make an excellent start. Russian Sage and Autumn Joy like a very dry spot so keep that in mind. They never need to be watered.

A friend told me that her mother in Germany made a wonderful healing oil by placing the Easter lily bloom in a bottle filled with olive oil. Leave the petals in the bottle for some time before taking them out. It was used as a healing oil for most everything. My great-grandmother used plants from her garden plus some from the deep woods nearby which she used as medicine. She also used digitalis (foxglove) as a heart medicine. I often wondered how many she made sicker with some of her remedies. There didn’t seem to be a verbal record of that.

Something to think about: you can finish ripening tomatoes by placing them in an egg carton, stem side up but not in a sunny window. I have done that often and it works.

Keep your young trees well watered all summer. They often die within a year and it’s usually because they weren’t well watered the summer before. Keep grass from around them and mulch them, being careful to keep the mulch from touching the bark.

Please feel free to call me at 270-522-3632 with questions or suggestions. I enjoy your calls.
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