i believe the key to rooting a plant cutting in water is to keep it warm, but not sunburnt in strong full sun. my african violets all seem to root better in water than perlite or soil! the water level is determined by how the mother plant takes water--roses can take lots of water, so root in 3-5" of water. succulents dont like to stand in water, so root in 1/8" of water standing with only the base touching the water.
Fertilizer: Roses are heavy feeders, and will benefit from a steady supply of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. You can provide these nutrients with either liquid or granular fertilizers, at a ratio of approximately 5-8-5. In most cases, regular applications of compost, rotted manure, fish emulsion and seaweed extracts will provide roses with all the nutrients they need. These organic amendments also help to moderate pH imbalances and stimulate beneficial soil life. Other organic amendments favored by rose growers include greensand, black rock phosphate and alfalfa meal.