Growing roses from seed is definitely not an easy task but certainly worth the effort. There are many different methods propagated by gardeners in different parts of the globe. Here are three tried and tested methods which are guaranteed to give you good results.
When rose hips start appearing, they resemble rose buds but become bigger and harder. Snip off the rose hips when they dry out and begin to crack open; they are usually brown in color at this stage. Remove the seeds immediately and clean out the pulp. Fill a plastic tray with planting mix and bury the seeds about a quarter of an inch deep and cover with sand. Water deeply but ensure that the mix is moist and not soaking wet. Cover the tray with a plastic wrap and store in your refrigerator for ten to twelve weeks, and then shift to a warmer temperature. About 70 to 80% of your seeds will not sprout but the ones that do germinate have a good chance of reaching maturity. Remove the plastic wrap and water deeply and place a clean glass bottle over each new seedling. Mulch around the bottle and leave it through the winter. In early spring, the seedlings will be ready for transplant. Make sure you don’t touch the roots while transplanting as they are very fragile and may break off. You can feed seedlings with half strength fertilizer. They need lots of sunlight. Spraying the seedlings with a light fungicide will prevent fungal infections.
Snip off rose hips when they are mature and don’t wait for them to dry out. Place the rose hips in a paper bag and store in a dark and cool but dry place throughout the winter months. When spring comes around, put a few peat moss pellets in a plastic tray and add water. The pellets will absorb the water and grow in size. Let it soak overnight and in the morning, plant each rose hip about a quarter inch deep in separate peat moss planters. Spread some peat moss lightly over the rose hip and make it airtight. Put back in tray and place it in sunlight and allow water to drip continuously. The seeds will begin to sprout in 9 – 14 days. After another two weeks, you could mix the water with a mild solution of liquid fertilizer. Then the seedlings are ready for transplantation.
When rose hips are yellow, orange, or red in color, snip them off the rose bush and remove the seeds. Rinse the seeds to get rid of the pulp, wrap them in a moist paper towel, and place them in an airtight plastic bag. Store the bag in a fridge for the next 4 – 5 weeks. After that, check the seeds every week for tiny root tips that will start appearing. When you see the root tips, transfer the seedlings to pots and cover with ¼ inch soil. Water and keep the pots in room temperature. The seeds will sprout over several months.
The most common problems faced by seedlings are ‘damp-off’ and ‘powdery mildew’. You can avoid ‘damp-off’ by
- using sterile soil
- moderate watering
- spraying a copper-based fungicide after the plant comes up
Always remove diseased seedlings. The rose bushes will start blooming from the second year and will reach maturity in the third year. It is said that seedlings are always a brand new variety so you may end up discovering a new class of rose!