Rose Cuttings Growing Leaves But Not Roots: All You Need!

Rose cuttings are an excellent way to grow new rose plants. But sometimes difficulties arise while growing the cuttings. Such a difficulty is the stagnation of the growth of roots despite growing new leaves.

So, why are rose cuttings growing leaves but not roots?

The first reason behind this is dryness.  Secondly, keeping the cutting directly under the sun can cause problems too. Last but not least, lack of fertilizers and delay in planting the cutting harms root formation too.

Still, there are many details. Keep reading to know everything about a successful rose-cutting plantation.

Why Are Rose Cuttings Growing Leaves But Not Roots?

Rose cuttings might grow leaves but not roots for various reasons. Here I have mentioned the major reasons that inhibit root growth along with their solutions. But first, have a glance at the table!

Problem Solution
Keeping The Cutting Dry Water every other day.
Using The Wrong Tool for Plantation Use sharp secateurs.
Grafting The Cutting Directly Under The Sun Preparing the soil away from the direct scorching sun.
Delay in Planting the Cutting  Plant the cutting as soon as possible.
Not Using Fertilizers  Use suitable fertilizers.

Rose Cuttings Growing Leaves But Not Roots-Reasons & Solutions

I have discussed the problems and solutions elaborately in this section. Don’t miss out on these details because they are very useful for growing rose cuttings!

Reason 1: Keeping The Cutting Dry

The absence of water can dry your rose cutting just like the Dahlia tubers dry out due to lack of water.

The dry soil will lead the rose cutting to die instead of growing roots.

So the soil must be kept wet by providing enough water. However, make sure not to overwater as it’s equally harmful. 


You must be wondering about the solutions for dried rose cuttings. Let’s see how to ensure enough water for the cutting and help it to grow roots.

  • Water the rose cutting on alternate days. 
  • Make sure the water reaches the bottom part of the cutting. If there is any obstacle between the steam and water, remove it.
  • Do not make the soil muddy. Muddy soil means you are overwatering the rose cutting.

Follow these tricks while watering your rose cutting. Hopefully, the cutting will not suffer from dryness. 

Reason 2: Using The Wrong Tool for Plantation

Another common reason that stops root growth is the use of wrong cutting tools. The cutting angle and precision are very important for the health of the rose steam. Using a kitchen knife or scissors can lead to smashed and uneven cutting.

This can lead to bacterial and fungal infections eventually resulting in rose cuttings turning brown.

Moreover, faulty cutting hampers root growth and can even cause premature death. 


The best way to avoid this issue is to use sharp secateurs for this job. This is the professional way of accomplishing the task.  Cut a four to eight inches long steam with three to five nodes. This is an ideal cutting for growing a rose plant.

Reason 3: Grafting The Cutting Directly Under The Sun

Flower plants are usually more sensitive than big trees. So they can not take the direct heat of the sun. For this reason, flowers like the rose and dianthus look dead if kept under the sun directly for a very long time.

And a rose cutting is much more sensitive than the flowering plant itself. Hence they can’t live under the afternoon sun as well as under direct sunlight. 

The rose cutting gets dried out pretty quickly and dies due to heat exposure. Rose cuttings turning black is also a sign that the plant is in too much heat.


It is better to plant the rose cutting away from the effect of direct sunlight. Don’t place it in a very shady place either. Using a jar or polythene to wrap the cutting is also another way of protecting the cutting. The plant can hold the humidity by applying this technique.

So choose a place that gets a portion of sunlight instead of direct sun rays. This place can be beside your house or under a big tree. 

Reason 4: Delaying in Planting the Cutting 

Moisture is the most significant element for ensuring the root growth of the rose cutting. Any issue causing moisture deficiency is also responsible for inhibiting root formation. And another reason is to delay the planting of the cutting.

Delaying in Planting the Cutting

The cutting comes with some moisture when detached from the rose plant. But it starts to lose as soon as it gets detached. If the cutting is not planted quickly, it loses all the moisture content. Then it will not grow roots even after providing enough water.


Here is some suggestions that you can follow to avoid this problem. 

  • Cut the rose steam early in the morning. Because the rose bushes are highly hydrated at that time.
  • Make sure to prepare the soil bed before cutting the steam. This will save some valuable time.
  • Plant the rose cutting as soon as possible.

Follow these instructions properly to ensure the root formation of the rose cutting. 

Reason 5: Not Using Fertilizers 

Rose cuttings are much more vulnerable than other plants and their cuttings. So the cuttings do not perform well without the aid of extra nutrition. This nutrition is supplied by fertilizers. Fertilizer deficiency can prevent root growth. 

Moreover, cutting can die due to a lack of nutrition. Sometimes the cutting grows leaves but doesn’t grow roots due to fertilizer deficiency. So the rose steam must be supplied with enough fertilizer to ensure its health.


Fertilizers must be mixed with the soil bed before transferring the cutting. Various types of fertilizers are available in the market. Homemade fertilizers will also do the job. You can use fish-based fertilizers for the best result. 

Now you know why the rose cuttings are dying instead of growing roots. You have also got the solutions to the issues inhibiting root formation. I will discuss the methods for proper root growth in the next section. 

How to Ensure Proper Root Growth from Rose Cuttings?

There are several steps for growing roots in a cutting. So, I have prepared a step-by-step guideline to serve the purpose. 

Step 1: Preparing The Soil

It is wise to prepare the soil for the cutting at the first stage. This saves some time and makes the process of transferring the cutting quick. Add water to make the soil moist. Make sure that the soil bed does not get direct sunlight. Then mix fertilizers into the soil.

But you have to be careful about fertilizers. Because not all fertilizers are equally useful for rose cutting. Fertilizers high in nitrogen are very helpful for the growth of roots. You can go with kelp-based or fish-based fertilizers for preparing the soil.

Step 2: Choosing A Healthy Steam 

The second thing you need to do for growing a rose-cutting is to choose a healthy steam. Choose a non-flowering, and wet steam. Then cut it properly with the help of a secateurs or knife. Make an angle of 45 degrees at the bottom part of the rose cutting.

Healthy Steam
Source: wikihow

Step 3: Using Root Hormone Powder

This step is very useful for growing roots from a rose cutting. Get some root hormone powder in a bowl or saucer. Take the cutting and dip its bottom inside the powder. Some powder will attach to the cutting. This will help the steam to grow roots.

However, many people want to avoid the use of hormones in their plants. And, that’s alright. This step can be avoided if you want. But using the hormones will surely boost the chances of root growth from the cutting. 

Step 4: Inserting The Cutting 

The next step is to insert the cutting inside the soil you prepared earlier. You have to be very gentle in this process. Press the rose steam about 1 inch deep inside the soil. Do not apply extra pressure because it might damage the cutting. 

If you have used the hormone powder, be careful about knocking it off. The powder is of no use if it gets detached from the cutting. Then gather the soil around the cutting to provide it some support. But do not make a heap of soil around it.

Step 5: Covering the Cutting 

Now you have reached the last stage of planting the cutting. Use polythene to wrap the cutting. Do not wrap it very tightly. Use a twist tie to fasten it. This polythene will make a mini greenhouse around the plant.

Covering the Cutting

You can also use glass jars or plastic bottles for this purpose. This step is very important to keep the plant moist. The jar also saves the rose cutting from the unwanted attack of small animals.

These are the basic steps of planting a rose cutting. Follow these steps properly as I have mentioned. Then your rose cutting will grow roots for sure. You can also check out this video for planting more easily.

How Long Does It Take to Grow Roots from Rose Cuttings?

Sometimes you might be following all the rules but the roots are not growing in your rose cutting. Don’t get disheartened in such a situation. Because just like the turning green of calla lily flowers, rose cuttings also need some time to grow roots.

The rose cutting usually needs 10 to 14 days for growing roots. That means you have to be very patient after transferring the cutting to the soil. Keep checking the cutting and water it every other day. Pull the rose cutting softly and see if you feel some resistance. Once the cutting grows roots, you will feel some resistance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): 

How do you force root growth?

You can force root growth by using some ingredients in the soil and plants. First, you have to ensure enough nutrients. This is very important for growth. Use root-stimulating hormones for force growth. Last but not least, appropriate management is also very necessary for root formation. 

Which mineral is needed for root growth?

Phosphorus is the mineral needed for root growth. Phosphorus is an essential mineral for plants. It helps in root formation, disease prevention, and promoting flowering. It also helps to transfer energy from the sunray to the plants. In this way, it helps in the root growth of the plant.

What causes poor root growth in plants?

Lack of oxygen causes poor root growth in plants. Just like all other animals, plants also need oxygen for their growth. A deficiency of oxygen can cause serious issues in them. Poor root growth is such an issue. Sometimes water clogging near the plant also causes poor root growth.


By now you know why rose cuttings growing leaves but not roots. I hope that now you will be able to solve your problem and grow roses in your garden!

Nutrients and moisture are very important for the growth of roots. So always be careful to ensure the supply of these two elements.

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