Monty Don reveals the trick to getting roses for free

The expert's tips for taking hardwood cuttings will give you more of your favorite roses

pink roses close up with blue sky
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Monty Don has shared a way to get more roses in your garden without having to spend a penny. The gardening expert and TV host revealed the tip on a recent episode of Gardeners' World on the BBC.

He gave plenty of tips on how to take rose cuttings, so you can expand your rose collection for free. Monty says that roses take very well from hardwood cuttings, and tells viewers that when you take a cutting, you are effectively cloning the parent plant.

Crown Princess Margareta rose

(Image credit: Getty)

If you've yet to plant any roses in your garden, swot up on how to grow roses so you can do so with confidence. 

When it comes to taking cuttings, 'you want to look for a nice long stem,' says Monty, as he takes a cutting from his own garden. 

Having cut the stem low down, he has now got a long and straight cutting. He says you want the cuttings to be around 9 inches long, so you can make two cuttings from one long stem.

The next step is to process and prepare the cutting. 'I’m not going to do this in a pot - I’m going to put these directly into the ground,' he says.

monty don

Garden expert Monty Don

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It's important to remove all of the leaves from the stem using your best secateurs, before planting cuttings because the cutting will take around six months to form any roots. By then, the leaves will be 'long gone.' 

Monty Don recommends cutting the stem at an angle so you know which way up it needs to go into the soil. If you make two cuttings from one stem, level off the top where you divide them so you don't accidentally plant one the wrong way round.

When it comes to planting, Monty Don says you need to make a slit trench, which you can make by putting a spade all the way into some soil and pull the soil back. 

Climbing rose Felicia

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Then add a generous amount of grit or sand into the bottom of the trench for drainage. 'Place the cuttings on the vertical side, making sure they’re the right way up,' says Monty.

'And they only need to be a few inches apart. Push them in quite deeply.' Once they’re in the ground, all you need to do is pull the soil back over to fill the trench again. 

Monty says that just the tops of the cutting will be sticking out. Then it's simply a waiting game – you might need to water them in the spring if the weather is dry and clear away any weeds. But, on the whole, you can simply leave them alone.

'Resist the temptation to dig them up and see if they’ve formed roots when you first see signs of growth,' he says. 'Wait until this time next year and then you can take them out.'