Growing roses from seed can be challenging, as most seeds you get often don’t germinate, no matter how much effort you put in. Fortunately, most rose plants can produce a large number of seeds in their fruit, so a high success rate is often not necessary for growing them. Keep in mind that the growing plant may have a different appearance or character from the parent plant, especially if it is the result of a cross between two different varieties.
How to Harvest Seeds
Fertilization of flowers is usually assisted by insects or occurs spontaneously in some flower varieties, so you don’t need to assist fertilization by hand unless you are crossing a particular variety. Leave flowers on your plants, don’t cut them. After shriveling up, a small fruit which is a rose fruit will appear there.
The seeds you harvest may grow into plants with different characteristics. This can happen if you harvest seeds from a rose from a cross, or if the flower is fertilized by pollen from a different variety of roses nearby.
Pick the roses when they are ripe. Rose fruit is initially small and green, then changes color as it grows to red, orange, brown, or purple. You can pick them at this point, or wait for them to dry and shrivel. However, don’t wait until it’s completely dry and browned, as the seeds inside may have died at this point.
Open the rose fruit and remove the seeds. Open the rose with a knife, so that the seeds are visible. Pull out the rose seeds with the tip of a knife or other tool. The number of seeds in each rose varies greatly among rose varieties. There may only be a few seeds or a few dozen seeds in the fruit.
Remove the flesh of the fruit from the seeds. If the pulp remains on the surface of the seeds, this can prevent them from germinating. A quick way to get rid of them is to place the seeds in a sieve or sieve and run water over them, scrubbing the surface.
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How to Sow Seeds
Soak the seeds in a hydrogen peroxide solution (optional). A mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide can reduce mold growth on seeds. Let the rose seeds soak in this solution for at least an hour.
Some studies suggest that a little mold growth can actually help break the shell that surrounds the seeds, but this soaking step is still recommended to prevent the growth of large amounts of mold.
Place the seeds in a damp material. Rose seeds usually will not germinate except in a cold, wet environment, such as winter. Place the seeds between two layers of damp paper towels, or in a container filled with moist salt-free river sand, peat, or vermiculite.
This section is the first step in a process known as “stratification”. If you’re using seeds that you bought at a plant store, and the label says they’re “stratified,” skip this step and move on to the seed planting section below.
Store the seeds in the refrigerator for a few weeks. Place the seeds and damp material in a plastic bag or seedling tray, and store them in a cool place in the refrigerator, such as an empty vegetable drawer.
Keep the seedling medium slightly moist. Check at least once or twice a week to see if the sprouts have sprouted from inside the seed. Apply a few drops of water to each sheet of paper towel that starts to dry out. Rose sprouts can take anywhere from four to sixteen weeks to grow, depending on the rose variety and the individual seeds. Often, 70% or even more rose seeds don’t germinate at all.
How to Plant Seeds
Fill the container with a sterile seed growth medium. A small seedling tray can make it easier for you to care for many seeds at once. Alternatively, use a plastic drink cup with a hole in the bottom, so that root growth is easier to observe.
Plain soil is not recommended in this step, as it may not drain enough water and cause the seeds to rot.
Plant rose seeds. Some seeds available at plant stores can be planted right away. If you are sowing rose seeds as described above, plant them as soon as they begin to germinate. Plant with the sprouts pointing downwards, as these are the roots of the plant. Cover gently with soil, to a depth of about 6 mm. Leave a distance of at least 5 cm between each seed to reduce competition for plant growth.
Plant the germinated seeds in warm, moist, but not soggy soil. These young plants usually do well in six hours of daily sunlight, but it’s best to research the parent rose variety to get a clearer picture of this.
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Find out the right time to transplant young plants. The two visible leaves are usually cotyledons or seed leaves. Once your young plants grow “true leaves”, with a more similar appearance to the leaves of a regular rose, the chances of these plants surviving after transplanting will be greater. Plant transplanting is also easiest during winter or early spring, not at the height of the growing season.
Transfer to a larger pot or outside. When you decide to transplant a plant, wait until the weather is cool, or cloudy, or dusk when the plant loses less water. Moisten the seeds to retain the soil around them. Dig a hole in a new place, large enough for the roots of the plant, then remove any lumps of soil from around the plant.
Take care of your rose plants. Once the transplanted plant looks healthy again, you can water it as usual. Applying fertilizer several times during the warm season can help your plant grow and bloom if you follow fertilization guidelines. But keep in mind that some varieties of roses will not bloom at all during their first year.
Tips: ask about the varieties of roses available at plant stores to find out what works best for your climate and garden.
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