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leaving rose hips on plant

Posted by canadian_rose zone 3a (My Page) on
Sun, Jan 6, 13 at 4:28

Somebody said on another forum on hybridizing (I don't really learn anything there, because they don't talk at my level of understanding) "why don't we just leave the hips on the bush"

That got me thinking, yeah, why don't I? I guess the answer might be that tender rose hybridizing means protecting the seeds from severe cold. But my potted roses are in the garage all covered up.

So COULD I leave the hips on the roses all spring? And if I did that, then what would I do in the spring? Just take the seeds and plant them in pots and take them out of the garage in the warmth of the day and bring them back in when it freezes over night? Would I have to do anything special with them, i.e. keeping them sterile with hydrogen peroxide?

This sounds like it could be a very easy thing to do for me. What do you all think?
Carol


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: leaving rose hips on plant

Hi Carol-
I'm hoping one of the very experienced rosarians will chime in here. There's a member named Roseseek (Kim Rupert) who is an accomplished hybridizer and writes in very clear language about this stuff, among other very knowledgeable people on the forums.
Here's my experience-
Yes you can leave the hips on the plants and collect them in midwinter or spring or whenever, especially if you don't have the problem of hungry critters taking your delicious rose hips before you can get to them. I have had good germination rates from collecting hips in late winter or early spring.
You should clean the seeds thoroughly- the pulp of the rose hip may have a germination inhibitor in it. (Fruit-bearing plants often do- the seeds need to pass through the digestive system of an animal to have the inhibitor chemically stripped away- it's part of their seed-dispersal strategy. Ain't nature cool?) Anyway- clean the seeds. Some people use a variety of chemicals- I just scrub them with baking soda in a wire strainer.
Next you could plant them directly in the soil but I have better luck (again my experience is limited) by stratifying them for 2.5 months in the fridge at that point. That is to say I put the clean seeds in a bit of clean moist soil into the fridge for two and a half months or until they start to sprout.
I hope this helps.
Are you in Canada? I have some hips of Ralph Moore's Precious Dream sitting on the plant. I've already collected all I need. I won't ship them across the border but would be happy to send a few to a Canadian address. Not only is it a real beauty but it's a hybrid bracteata, somewhat unique.
don


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RE: leaving rose hips on plant

Hi Carol (and thanks, Donald!), yes you can leave the hips on the plants....but, as Donald suggested, they become more of a snack for hungry critters during periods of reduced food sources. I've often read in books (Harkness and LeGrice for sure) that the rotting hip flesh has an inhibiting effect on the seeds. Some of these things are difficult enough to get decent germination from. I personally wouldn't want to increase their resistance to it. It's a lot easier to clean a firm, fresh hip than it is to smush through rotted pulp to find the seeds. Some of them can stain your fingers pretty heavily and it's just plain old messy. I would also be concerned that leaving them on the plant might make it easier to accidentally lose them in the garage or other winter protection. Shelling them and maintaining them in the refrigerator should probably keep them at temps less likely to damage them or prevent germination too long. Freezes might. For really cold hardy types, it may not matter. For more tender HT types, it may.

But, the choice is yours. Roses have been germinating after hips and seeds have sat out in the elements since the beginning of the fossil record. It all depends upon how important you think the safety of knowing where the fruits of your efforts are and potentially not inhibiting their germination are to you. Kim


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RE: leaving rose hips on plant

Thanks so much Don!!

That is what I'm going to do then. I'll leave the hips on the roses. Then in early spring, I will take them off and stratify them (using the method everyone does - cleaning, H2O2+H20, etc.) Awesome. You have helped me soooo much!!

Yes, I am in Alberta. Thank you for your kind offer, but I don't have my set up ready for this year. I'm still learning and don't even have an area cleaned out in my house to start a project. This year will just be my start at hybridizing (with the seed issue for next year). :)

But you have helped me immensely!! Thank you!!
Carol


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RE: leaving rose hips on plant

Hi Kim,
Yes, I hear what you're saying. But my issue was that the cleaned seeds would be in the fridge until they germinated. Then the spring here is soooo far away that my seedlings would not do well in the house for so long. I also thought it would be easier, since I could plant the seedlings into pots and have them on a wagon so I could bring them inside at night and outside in the day. That way I wouldn't have to have a whole grow op procedure.

But I definitely want to do things the right way, and am a beginner and will do what the consensus is.


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RE: leaving rose hips on plant

Darn, I didn't want to send that message - it wasn't ready LOL

So I could do the regular inside method - but what do you think about the seedling issue? The extra work might be fun, since it would give me something to do during the winter. But...oh..I don't know. This is so confusing!! LOL
Carol


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RE: leaving rose hips on plant

That's fine Carol. Bottom line is you have to do what enables you to engage in what you want to do. There really isn't one, right way to do this, just as there isn't only one right way to grow roses. As long as it provides you the results you desire, go for it! Don uses baking soda to clean his seeds. When I clean mine, I use Comet. I don't always clean them as quite a few come out clean without pulp and with few fibers. Some are a real mess. The "right way" is the one you find which gives you what you want, with the level of expense, time and energy you wish to spend on it. You'll be surprised how easily some of these are to germinate and probably frustrated how stubborn some can be. In the two months my seeds have been under soil, quite a few have no germinations, while several varieties already have small plants with up to four sets of true rose leaves. No rhyme or reason, "just because". Go figure! Kim


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RE: leaving rose hips on plant

Kim - so did you stratify your seeds in the fridge or just plant them in the soil and wait?

I'm still very confused :)


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RE: leaving rose hips on plant

I've done both, and pretty much anything in between, Carol. But, I am in "the land of endless summer", particularly in comparison to your climate. Here is what my weather is like.

http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/getForecast?query=91316

Several years ago, I was able to leave the hips on the plants until late fall with little difficulty from the vermin. The weather wasn't terrible, so I collected the seeds then planted them, holding them in the cooler garage until ready. The weather was perfect and they came up like grass! The next few years were very hot, very dry, with little annual rain. In 2011/2012, we received about a third of our norm (5 inches total!) and it was HOT. The squirrels and rats (I live at the edge of urban wildlife areas) attacked the hips like kids on Halloween candy! I had to harvest many of them earlier than I wanted and had to hold them under refrigeration to slow things down so they wouldn't attempt to germinate nor mold prematurely. Instead of planting around Thanksgiving, I planted the first week of November because we actually had cooling temps and some rain. They started germinating immediately.

So, I've done both. I don't breed for arctic hardiness. Many arctic hardy roses are unhealthy and don't perform well in my endless summer. They just aren't genetically suited to my disease pressures, sun intensity and temperature ranges. I use more the kinds of roses you are going to be using, instead of those you would traditionally expect to be grown where you are. These kinds of roses don't require as much chill for seed germination. More arctic hardy types often do. I can see where either keeping your seeds refrigerated, or leaving the hips on the plants in a cold garage would benefit you by delaying germination. I rush to get the seed under soil here because seeds germinate best at temperatures lower than 70 degrees. They also germinate far better during rainy periods. Those conditions are best met from November through March here. By the end of March, any rains we may receive are generally over and we can have high nineties to low triple digit spells by then. I need the seeds to be in soil as early as suitable so they have time to germinate and develop sufficient roots to withstand the high heat, brilliant, intense sun and aridity which come every year.

You need them not to germinate quickly so you don't have to deal with them under lights, inside the house. What I've done really doesn't have a lot of influence over what you SHOULD do, other than to provide you with possible examples of what you don't want to have happen. As I said, there really is no "one, true way" to play in the roses! Kim


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RE: leaving rose hips on plant

I guess I should also have added, the hips will remain on the plant a fairly long time, but there does come the time when they fall off by themselves. I'd keep an eye out for that time so you don't lose them. Kim


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RE: leaving rose hips on plant

Good thoughts. Having them fall off by themselves would be okay, because they would just fall in the pots which are quite large. If they fall off of the rose bush - what would I do with them
- leave them there
- stratify them in the fridge
- pot them up and put them under fluourescent lights?

There are always more questions!
Thanks for your patience!
Carol


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RE: leaving rose hips on plant

No patience required! LOL! We share a passion and discussing that passion, enabling each other in it is always a pleasure, isn't it? You could probably do any one of the three possibilities. Leaving them there you may run the risk of forgetting and losing them. If a critter has access to the garage, they probably won't be safe against being eaten. You could stratify them in the fridge if that's your pleasure, in or out of the hips. Or, plant them under lights. Whichever is easier for you is fine. Kim


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RE: leaving rose hips on plant

Thanks Kim!

I think what I'm going to do is take the hips and place them in a ziplock bag and leave them in the fridge until March and then stratify them and then start them under lights. They'll be able to get outside younger than if I started the whole process earlier.

So I assume that I don't have to Hydrogen Peroxide the hips - just leave them in the bag?

Carol


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RE: leaving rose hips on plant

I am not seeing an advantage to using hydrogen peroxide on the hips. They're going to turn to mush (probably) if they're in the fridge long enough. Produce does, so why not "rose apples"? If you're putting shelled seed in there without pulp flesh and fibers, cleaning them with hydrogen peroxide, baking soda or Comet would sterilize them against mold. Your chances of a moldy mess are less with shelled, cleaned seeds than with hips. Both can be done. It's your choice which you'd prefer having in your refrigerator and dealing with later. Kim


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RE: leaving rose hips on plant

Thanks Kim, you've been very helpful!!
Carol


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RE: leaving rose hips on plant

You're more than welcome, Carol! MANY roads lead to success as with most facets of gardening (and many other pursuits). Which is best for you depends upon how involved you wish to make it. Enjoy and good luck! Kim


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RE: leaving rose hips on plant

When the temperature drops below 20 degrees (if you leave the hips on the bush), I predict that your germination percentage will decrease. See my link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: research table


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RE: leaving rose hips on plant

Thanks Henry! That helps with my decision.
What do you think about my decision to keep the hips in the refrigerator, then take the seeds out to stratify months later?


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RE: leaving rose hips on plant

As long as the seeds remain in the hips, they are not expected to germinate. The purpose of the zip lock bag is to prevent the hips from drying out. It is thought that dried out seeds will take longer to germinate.


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RE: leaving rose hips on plant

The link below is to my enzyme article.

Here is a link that might be useful: link for above


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RE: leaving rose hips on plant

How many months would it take for hips to dry out in the fridge?
I printed out your article. Thanks!!


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RE: leaving rose hips on plant

I suggest putting some wet sand in the baggie. The sand has a very clear color change when it dries out.


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RE: leaving rose hips on plant

Thanks again, Henry!


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