planting-rose-hips

Why Planting Rose Hips Isn’t the Best Way to Grow Roses

Reproducing a favorite rose bush usually entails more than harvesting and planting its hips. Most rose bushes are hybrids or grafts grown on different rootstocks. Their seeds just aren't likely to pass on their traits. And planting their intact rose hips poses another set of problems. You can’t control what the seeds produce, but you can take steps to ensure they produce something.

What Exactly are Rose Hips?

They’re one in a long line of fruits from Rose (Rosaceae) family plants, including:

And, as you’d guess from the above, trying to grow rose bushes from whole rose hips would be like trying to grow pear trees from whole pears. They’d need a long time to decompose and expose their seeds to the soil.

And when they did, you’d have up to 40 seedlings germinating almost on top of each other and competing for soil nutrients, moisture and sun.

A Better Method

The best way to grow roses from seeds is to harvest your rose hips as usual and remove their seeds.

Processing Rose Seeds

Things You’ll Need

  • Bowl
  • 1-cup measuring cup
  • 1-teaspoon measuring spoon
  • Water
  • Household bleach
  • Cutting board
  • Clean, sharp paring knife
  • Butter knife
  • Mesh strainer
  • Bottled water
  • 3-percent hydrogen peroxide, 32-ounce bottle
  • Food processor with plastic dough blade

Combine 2 cups of water and 4 teaspoons of household bleach in a bowl. Set it aside and slice your rose hips in half with the paring knife. Scoop out their seeds with the butter knife.

Sterilizing

Rinse the seeds in the bowl of bleach/water solution and pour them into the mesh strainer for a bottled-water rinse. Then soak them for a full day in 3-percent hydrogen peroxide.

Finally, place the soaked seeds in a food processor and blend them with 1 cup of water to remove the last bits of pulp. Be sure to use a plastic dough blade.

Stratifying

Seal your clean seeds with an equal volume of damp peat moss in a plastic bag or container. Refrigerate them between 34° and 38°F (1.1° and 3.3°C) for six to eight weeks.

Planting Rose Seeds

Heat two cups of 3-perent hydrogen peroxide to 140°F (60°C) and soak your stratified seeds for five minutes. Then plant them ½ inch deep in equal amounts of pre-moistened vermiculite and sterilized seed starter mix. Be sure your containers have drainage holes.

Set your started seeds in a sunny window and move them outside to a sunny location after all danger of frost has passed. If you water enough to keep the soil mix damp, your seedlings should emerge in two to six weeks.

Expert gardener’s tip: Seeds soaked in hydrogen peroxide just before planting sprout faster because of their increased oxygen supply.