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In Barb's Garden

...rose seed germination
by Barb Foster
by Barb Foster


Inspired to nuture, Barb Foster took up gardening over a decade ago. She has a particular passion for this areas hardy perennials.

Barb collects her own seeds, grows seedlings in a greenhouse and has 500 sq ft of growing beds plus numerous perennial flower beds in her Zone 1b garden in Chetwynd, B.C.

Barb writes weekly for the Chetwynd Echo.

November 8, 2009

I have some Rose seed that I had collected a few years ago. However I've had no success in getting them to germinate. So I've done some Internet searching and found some interesting tips on Rose seed germination.

Each Rose grown from seed is a new Rose not the same as any other Rose. If you plant Rose seed in a pot it is not likely (as I have experienced) to germinate.

Collect Rose hips in the fall after the hips (Rose fruits) have turned red just before freezing weather begins. Remove the "seed" from the fleshy hips ( the cream coloured achenes is not technically a seed, it is more like a nut shell, the true seed is inside, but we will call it a seed for now).

The Rose seed needs to be "stratified" to promote germination. Rinse the seeds and wrap them in a moist paper towel. Place the towel in a sealed, labelled zip-lock plastic bag in the refrigerator (do not freeze). After 4-5 weeks check the seed for signs of germination, for example a white root tip growing out the end of the seed. Carefully transfer sprouted seeds to pots of sterilized potting soil, plant 1/4 inch deep, water-in, and grow at 70 degrees F. The remaining unsprouted seeds are placed back into the refrigerator, check weekly and plant seeds as they sprout. Seeds may continue to sprout for several months. Seedlings are susceptible to damping-off, avoid over watering, and use a copper-based fungicide.

Keep robust healthy seedlings.

Repeat blooming type Roses will bloom in as little as five or six weeks after planting, others can take up to three years to bloom.

Another method of germinating Rose seed; suggests collecting the hips in the fall before they wrinkle. The hips are placed in a pot of damped peat moss and set out doors over winter to freeze. In the spring the rose hips are brought indoors and the seed extracted, the cleaned seed is placed in a bowl of water and the floaters are discarded as unfertilized. The remaining seed is planted in a sterilized seed starting mix, as the seedlings develop they are transplanted to separate pots to grow.

Other growers suggest soaking newly harvested seed in an enzyme drain cleaner solution for two days, then rinse. The seed is then placed in a closed but ventilated clear container on a dampened sheet of synthetic fabric over polyester batting. Soaked and then drained, the containers are placed in a bright area and kept at between 50 and 70 degrees F.. the containers are covered with red transparent wrapping paper. The seeds are kept moist and remain at warm temperatures for about 30 days, then placed in a refrigerator for up to 20 days, then alternate between warm and cold environment until germination occurs.

The seed is checked daily for germination, as the tiny white tail appears the seeds are placed in pots of sterilized moistened seed starting mix, the seed is covered lightly with Perlite.

Growing Roses from seed is an interesting and sometimes profitable hobby, occasionally growers will produce a new exciting Rose variety, like the "Peace Rose", which happens to be my favourite Rose.

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