How to Root Roses, Lilacs and Other Semi Hardwood Cuttings

Last week I did a post on rooting softwood cuttings. This week it is on to Semi hardwood. Roses, lilacs and such are considered semi hardwood. It is fun to make more roses, or lilacs with this method to share or to just have more for yourself. Make sure to only propagate non-patented old types or you are infringing on the patent holders rights.
A fish tank makes a great cover to do many cuttings
A very loose mix for the soil and a box with no or well draining bottom.
Your cuttings, a good 6 inches is a nice size, try to have 2 leaf nodes below the soil in the box.
Cloning gel, there are also powders out there, also known as rooting mediums. I have read that they contain anti fungals to prevent rot but I am not sure.
Place fish tank over cutting that have been firmed into place, make sure no leaves or stems touch the glass, make sure there is a space on bottom for air circulation.
Voila! A new rose to enjoy. Patience is the name of the game, rooting can take a few weeks or several months depending on conditions. This rose is fast to bloom so blooms by the first year, others may differ.
Flower Patch Farmhouse
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  3 questions
  • Speedbird2 Speedbird2 on Apr 30, 2016


  • Edie Zsuzsics Edie Zsuzsics on May 01, 2016
    Could this be done with a small branch off of an English walnut tree? Only asking because there is an english walnut tree on my mother's property that she loved. She passed away last year and (sentimentally) I would love to have a tree of my own that branched from hers.

  • Sco12112678 Sco12112678 on Feb 12, 2022

    Soil stays dry? No mention of moist soil. Thanks

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3 of 41 comments
  • SusieQ SusieQ on Jun 20, 2020

    Remember you may not get the same rose as the cutting came from due to grafting,

    • Flower Patch Farmhouse Flower Patch Farmhouse on Jun 22, 2020

      We are taking the cutting well above the graft so this is the only way to get the same rose as opposed to using the seeds. The graft is down by the base of the rose. So yes I am getting the same rose that blooms on this plant. Only if I took cutting from suckers that come from below the graft would I be getting the root stock rose which is most commonly Dr. Huey. In fact taking cuttings from the roses like this is how what they use to graft onto the root stock. So take as many cuttings as you want and you will get the same rose.

  • Dolli Dolli on Jun 21, 2021

    Yes I will try this but instead of fish tank when my father in law did it he used a glass jar. He had such good luck doing it. I have a old bunch he gave to me 30plus yrs ago will try it from that one