A novel multiple step growth (MSG) process has been developed to synthesize rutile nanorods (NRs) on fluorine-doped tin oxide (FTO) glass with the assistance of a self-assembled monolayer (SAM) aiming to increase the internal surface area of the 1D materials for dye sensitized solar cell (DSSC) applications. The experimental result reveals that the SAM layer can be selectively decomposed at the tip of the nanorod, namely the rutile (001) surface, due to the anisotropic photocatalytic property of the rutile. The remaining SAM layer on the side-wall of the NRs remains intact and serves as water repellent which prevents the radial growth of the NRs during the next step hydrothermal synthesis; therefore, the spacing between the NRs and the porosity of the NR array can be retained after additional growth cycles. On the other hand, introduction of a middle layer formed via TiCl4 solution treatment before the next growth cycle is found to be an effective way to control the diameters of the newly grown NRs. The performance of DSSC made from the rutile NRs grown using the MSG technique has been examined, and it is significantly affected by the internal surfaces of the NRs. Furthermore, the MSG combined with NR etching treatment by acid at low temperature (150 °C) leads to a significant enhancement in the solar cell performance. The gigantic wettability difference of the NRs before and after the SAM treatment as well as the MSG method could be adapted to prepare superhydrophobic and superhydrophilic nanostructured patterns for other applications.