Q: I have an antique rose, ‘Clotilde Soupert’ to be specific. It is beautiful to look at and the flowers have a marvelous fragrance. It flowers from spring to fall. It is very healthy and has a good size. Is there a way to propagate this bush?
A: Actually, there are TWO good ways to propagate it in early summer. The first is to simply root a cutting. Examine the new branches on your rose. Note the change in color of the bark from the growing tip backwards. The bark will be green for a few inches and then turn woody and brown. The best cutting will be four to six inches long with brown bark surrounding the joint where a leaf joins the branch. Make a slanting cut to remove the cutting just below the joint but carefully snip away this leaf. A couple of leaves should remain on the green end of the cutting. Dust the cut surface with a rooting hormone (Rootone).
Prepare a container in which rooting can take place by filling a clay pot with a 1:1 mixture of moist pearlite and peat moss. Insert the cutting two inches into the rooting media. Cover the cutting with an upended clear container, like a pint jar. Place it in a spot that receives bright light but NO direct sunshine. The cutting should root in eight weeks, when the cover can safely be removed. Be sure to keep the rooting media moist but not soggy at all times. Continue to care for the cutting in the pot until next spring, when it can be planted in your garden.
Another way to propagate the rose is by soil layering: allowing it to root by touching a limb to the earth underneath your plant. Since ‘Clotilde Soupert’ is a small, wiry, rose you should be able to find a limb or two which can be bent to the ground. Lightly scrape the branch at that point with a dull knife and dust the wound with rooting hormone. Dig a shallow trench where the limb will touch the soil and bury the wounded portion with more soil. Use a brick to hold it in place. The leafy portion of the branch should emerge beyond the part that’s buried.
Roots will form underground in ten weeks, at which time you can sever the connection with the mother plant. Transplant the rooted branch to a new rose bed next spring.