Monday, September 26, 2011

Growing Roses from Seed

Some of the roses in the garden have ripe hips ... a hip is the fruit of the rose, that contains seeds which will become new varieties of roses if planted.  It's been a few years since I planted rose seeds, and I have decided to do it again this year. 

This is a spray of hips on 'Kathleen', a Hybrid Musk rose that produces a beautiful show of hips in the fall.

If you would like to try growing rose seeds, here is a lesson to get you started.

1.  Cut open the ripe hip and remove the seeds.  I usually pry them out of the hip with my thumbnail.  The seeds vary in size and are very hard.

2.  Make sure to remove any pith from the soft part of the hip that may be clinging to the seeds, because the pith contains an enzyme that inhibits germination.  Again, I just do this with my thumbnail.

3.  I lay the seeds out on a folded, damp paper towel.

4.  Place the paper towel into a zipper sandwich bag.  I use a Sharpie to mark the baggie with the name of the rose that the hips came from.

5.  Put the baggie into the crisper of your refrigerator and leave it there for at least 60 days.

Also in this crisper drawer, you can see a gallon-sized bag of cuttings in newspaper burritos, a package of corn tortillas, and a cantalope.

Stay tuned for the next part of this lesson, in two months when I take the baggies out of the fridge.

These hips are called 'open pollinated' because the bees and the wind fertilize the flowers, instead of a human placing pollen to combine two specific roses in the cross.  It is rare to get a rose worth keeping from open-pollinated hips, but I still like to grow them just to see what happens.  I have one keeper in my garden, that I grew from a hip I took from 'Peace'.  In my next post, I will show it to you.


  1. I'm guessing the rose bush would have had to produce roses, in order to have hips? My old roses only had a few and I'm an idiot at growing anything. I think I'm better letting nature take its course and not involving me in the mix.

  2. I don't think I'd have the patience, to be frank... I'll stick to cuttings and randomly self-sown roses for now, but I look forward to following this project in 60 days.

  3. Patience? Not necessary. Just pitch the baggie of seeds into the crisper, forget about it for two months while you're doing other things, and get back to it later.

    Darla, that's EXACTLY how I felt the day I realized that hips had seeds inside of them. Those seeds may not produce the next million-dollar rose, but it will at least be a rose that no one else has ever seen before ... and it helps keep me out of trouble in the winter. :)

  4. Can't wait to see how this goes. I'm going to do my best to plant a lot more from seed in the next few years.

  5. I've often thought about doing this, but never have. Maybe I'll follow along with your posts and do it! I have several roses with hips already. (Should have been deadheading better!)

  6. Really interesting Connie. I never thought to harvest the seeds but this is a nice technique you showed.

  7. This is wonderful. You'll have to keep us posted on the progress.

  8. This is neat -- I have some wild roses with hips right now. I should collect the seeds. Thanks a bunch! :)

  9. This is so fascinating to me as we have many rose hips around here from the wild rugosa roses. I'd just like to have some of the rare white ones I see down by the harbor. Thanks for sharing this info, I'll be staying tuned to find out next steps! ~Lili

  10. I did this as well. I'm supposed to be planting them today. Its my first time experimenting with rose seeds so I'll see how it goes. Good luck with yours!

    -Michelle A.


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