Propagate Roses for Free Using Tomatoes

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Roses bring beauty and fragrance to any garden space. But buying rose bushes can get expensive. Why not grow your own for free from healthy cuttings instead? It turns out ripe tomato slices can help root rose cuttings with great success. Read on to learn this simple, unusual propagation trick.

Choosing the Best Rose Cuttings to Propagate

When selecting rose cuttings for propagation, look for the following qualities:

  • Healthy, disease-free canes – avoid thin or damaged stems
  • Pencil-width diameter – around 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 inch thick
  • Contain 3-5 leaf nodes – the bumps where leaves emerge
  • Take 10-15 inch long cuttings

Timing matters too. Take rose cuttings:

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  • In early summer when canes are tender but firm
  • Early morning provides the highest sap levels

Rooting Rose Cuttings With Tomatoes

Why does this unusual hack work? Tomatoes exude hormones that stimulate root cell growth in the rose stem base.

Follow these simple propagation steps:

1. Prepare Cuttings

  • Trim cuttings just below leaf nodes
  • Remove leaves and thorns from lower half

2. Cut Tomato Slices

  • Slice ripe tomatoes into 1⁄4 inch rounds

3. Place in Propagating Mix

  • Use a 50/50 potting soil and perlite mix
  • Moisten mix then insert cuttings and tomato slices

4. Enclose in Plastic Dome

  • Use plastic drink cups or food containers
  • Creates greenhouse humidity effect

5. Provide Warmth & Light

  • Ideal temperature is 75-80° F
  • Provide at least 6 hours daily sunlight

6. Monitor Watering Needs

  • Keep propagating medium moist but not soggy
  • Only water when surface dries out

Transplant Successfully Rooted Rose Cuttings

In 6-8 weeks, give your freshly propagated rose bushlings a permanent home outdoors after hardening off. Then enjoy your homegrown roses!

With this easy tomato trick, you can propagate rose cuttings for free year after year. Give it a try this summer gardening season.

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