When and how should I take cuttings?
Choosing which cuttings to take is very important to the success of rooting roses. You'll want to wait until the rose has bloomed, or is nearly blooming. The best canes are ones that have blooms on them, from the early stages of just opening, to those which have already started to wilt or drop petals. These are "softwood" cuttings, and are just perfect for rooting. Roses have hormones that reside in their new growth, and urge the rose to produce more growth, more quickly. This will also aid in rooting, if these newer cuttings are used. It's important not to take cuttings that are TOO new (haven't yet produced flower buds) because this growth is too fragile and will wilt.
Choose cuttings that are healthy, with no disease. They can be thin, or as large around as a pencil. Any larger and they will be harder to root, as the "skin" is thicker and the wood is harder.
Make your cuttings about 8 inches long, or long enough to include about four or more leaf nodes. The leaves near the bottom of the cutting will be stripped off, while two or three sets of leaves will be left at the top to support the cutting while it is rooting.
Take your cuttings about 1/4 of an inch beneath a leaf node. The lower nodes will be buried beneath the soil line. This will encourage roots to grow from these nodes.
You can take softwood cuttings as long as your roses are blooming, whether it is early spring or late fall.