Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Harvesting Rose Seeds

With all the heat this Summer I haven't had too many good flower pictures to share.  One interesting note from the garden is that I have decided to try collecting a few rose hips this year.  With all the focus on rose flowers, it is easy to forget that roses actually produce a fruit filled with seeds.  Some people make a rose hip tea which I've never tried but maybe some day.  This year my interest is in collecting some seeds to sow in the Spring.  When I get into the Fall I will be building a cold frame for a few Winter cuttings and to sow the seeds I collect this year in the Spring.  If you have advice on cold frames I would love to hear it.   
Pictured above and below are hips from the moss rose Unconditional Love which has readily produces hips for me each year.  As the mossing matures it can make handling the hips a bit prickly, though they usually brush off easily.  None of the hips I'm collecting are the product of intentional crosses but instead are open pollinated and most likely being self pollinated (which should reveal some of the plants genetic potential).  It is also possible that bees, other insects, or even the wind could have carried pollen from one plant to another thus producing a cross without much chance of knowing the plant which contributed the pollen.
The seeds are easily collected from the rose hips by simply cutting them in half and shelling the seeds.  The number of seeds in a rose hip can vary quite a bit.  I have opened a large hip to find one seed or as many as six or seven.
So far this year I have collected open pollinated seeds from Unconditional Love, Tattooed Lady, Vineyard Song, Climbing Rainbow's End, Scentsational, Lavender Lassie, Graham Thomas, Heritage, and Gertrude Jekyll.  We will probably end up with others before the year is over.  While I hope to germinate seeds from each of these roses, I am trying to not have many expectations beyond successfully growing a few roses from seed.  If I can successfully get a few seedlings to mature I will feel like I have learned something new.  Anything beyond that in terms of quality or revealed genotype through a self-pollinated seedling will be a bonus.  Wish me luck.  


  1. My guess is that every serious rose lover wishes to grow roses from seeds at a certain point in time. I have been toying with that idea, too, but for now I just consider it being too much work. I better get my roses out of the pot ghetto and into the ground first ;-)! But I am already curious what will come out of your rose seeds. Good luck with the germination process!

  2. Interesting post, Rev. I've wondered about the hips and seeds, so appreciate your photos. Your results will be interesting, too.

  3. I would love to know how it turned out. I tried it a couple of times without really investing any effort in it, and the seeds didn't germinate. I do occasionally get roses from hips that fall on the ground and get covered with compost, and that has been a lot of fun.

  4. Scott

    I yearn for enough sunshine to grow roses again, but alas....
    Gorgeous hips!

    aka Bay Area Tendrils blog

  5. I just found some hips on a neighbor's roses and she said I could have them. ^.^ I do hope I can try at leasts. ^.^ I don't have a lot of money and can't buy plants so I snip plants from neighbor's plants when I go for walks. lol But for now my mind will be busy with the rose seeds and trying to start these. I do hope they come up. would be so great. lol even though I never had an interest in growing roses. Just love how they look and smell. lol

  6. Don't be afrain to just plant rose seeds directly in the ground either. I've had plenty germinate that way and it couldn't be any easier.

    Best of luck to you.