All plants have some sort of seed that lets them grow into the beauties they are later in life. You rarely, though, see rose seeds on the bushes or stems themselves. Do roses, then, actually have seeds, or do they reproduce through other means?
As a matter of fact, rose bushes do produce seeds. You can harvest these seeds and plant them in your yard. So long as you take care of them, they'll grow into new bushes, and you'll be able to harvest new seeds after the next blooming year.
How, though, do you go about harvesting rose seeds, and what kind of care do these seeds need to thrive? Here, we'll dive into the details of rose seed care so you can make the most of the rose bushes you have at home.
More About Rose Seeds
When you look at a rose bush, it's hard to picture where, precisely, you'd be able to harvest seeds from. As it turns out, though, a number of rose species do produce seeds.
These seeds grow in rose hips, or growths that appear after a rose's blooms start to die off. To harvest these seeds, you'll need to let your rose bush decay naturally. If you prune your rose bush as the petals start to die off, you'll deny the rose hips the chance to grow.
That said, if you want to prepare your bush for rose hips, a little bit of pre-bloom pruning won't do anyone any harm. By pruning away some of the pre-growth from your rose bush, you'll actually keep the future rose hips from overwhelming your bush. This way, you'll be able to harvest the hips that bear the most seeds instead of contending with hips that have had to compete for resources.
How Do You Get Seeds From Roses?
You'll start to notice rose hips developing in late summer or early fall, depending on when your rose bush bloomed. These hips are usually red, orange, or yellow in color. Ideally, you'll want to harvest your rose hips when they're orange or red in color. This way, they'll have several viable seeds that you can plant at a later date.
If you spot brown rose hips, prune them off of your bush. Unfortunately, these darker hips won't have any seeds in them, as they will have been left for too long.
Once you've plucked your red or orange rose hips off of your bush, it's time to properly harvest the seeds. You can cut into these hips from any direction. After you've bisected them, you'll be able to scoop the seeds out of the hips with a spoon or with your fingers. Clean these seeds off with clean, cool water, then store them in a dry spot until you're ready to plant them.
Don't let your seeds sit for too long, though! You'll want to plant them within three or fewer days of your initial harvest. Alternatively, you can put your rose seeds in the refrigerator for up to ten weeks and plant them in better weather.
This process is called "stratification" and often encourages more prolific growth. Remember, though, that you want your roses in the refrigerator, not the freezer — freezing your seeds will kill them.
Can You Plant Rose Seeds Directly In The Ground?
You can grow rose bushes directly from a seed. Doing so, however, takes a lot of patience and a lot of practice. If you're new to the world of gardening, you'll likely have better luck growing your rose bush from a seedling.
If you're up for a challenge, though, you can place your newly-harvested rose seed straight into the ground. To do so, you're going to need to learn a little about rose hybridization.
Roses are considered bi-sexual because they have both stems and ovaries. This means that roses can readily self-pollinate or cross-pollinate. The easiest way to start growing additional rose bushes is to let your roses cross- or self-pollinate and naturally drop their seeds.
To grow self-harvested seeds, however, you'll need to take a little extra care. The seeds you harvest from ripe rose hips should already be pollinated, but you can get crafty and try cross-breeding roses on your own time if you want to see what different rose species combinations look like.
However you choose to let your seeds pollinate, harvest them as described above. Then, clean them off and wait until the last of the frosts have passed. From there, you'll need to take the following steps:
- Find a sunny spot to plant your seeds.
- Choose your containers or a plot of land in your yard that you want to dedicate to your roses.
- Bury your seeds beneath at least a half-inch of potting soil and vermiculite.
- Dust the seeds in fertilizer or plant nutrients.
- Water the seeds immediately after planting.
- Keep the ground moist for the next six weeks, taking care not to rot the seeds by overwatering them.
- Wait for the seedlings to sprout and grow a little bit larger. Transplant them, if necessary, and otherwise enjoy your growths.
If you've been experimenting with cross-pollination, be sure to label your roses based on their parent plants. This way, you'll have a better idea of which parents create which color combinations and variations in growth.
How Long Does It Take To Grow A Rosebush From A Seed?
Rose bushes do what they can to test a gardener's patience. While seedlings will sprout within the first six weeks of your planting, you won't see a full-grown rose bush for quite some time.
Some rose bushes can take up to five years to grow to their standard size. Most of the time, though, you'll see a larger rose bush growth within three years of the initial planting.
If you want to see results a little bit faster, it's often best to start your rose bush off with a two-year-old growth. Growing a rose bush from seed, however, brings its own reward. Not only will you have the chance to experiment with your roses' parentage, but you'll also be able to look at your rose bush five years down the line and relish in your success as a gardener.
How Much Do Rose Seeds Cost?
For gardeners who don't want to harvest their own rose seeds or who don't have a rose bush to work with, there's always the option to purchase your seeds. Rose seeds are a bit more expensive than some other types of seeds.
You can find them most frequently at your local nursery, but chains like Walmart will likely have them available in the springtime. Likewise, Amazon makes a plethora of rose seeds available all throughout the year.
On average, rose seeds will run you between $3 and $25, depending on the species of rose you want to work with. Your standard roses will be a little less expensive, whereas rarer breeds, like an Obesum Desert Rose, may run you a little more.
Where Are The Best Places To Buy Rose Seeds?
Where should you start shopping if you want to find rose seeds at an affordable rate? There are several retailers, as mentioned, that make rose seeds available for sale. Some of the best places to purchase your rose seeds from include:
Walmart's nursery options will vary based on the time of year that you're doing your shopping. If you time your shopping properly, though, you'll be able to find seeds for several different species of roses.
Amazon is a perfect go-to for quick and easy access to rose seeds. No matter what color, size, of species you're looking for, you'll be able to find it in Amazon's inventory.
Do you want to find more rose seeds like the ones pictured here? Take a look at the stock available through Amazon.com.
Local And National Nurseries
When in doubt, you can always explore your local nursery's website to find rose seeds. National nurseries, too, may be able to ship off stratified rose seeds so that you can have a better chance of successfully growing your first bush.
Are you ready to try your hand at rose seed harvesting? Remember — this is a process that requires a lot of patience. Take your time and don't be afraid to try multiple times to get the results you want. Once you've found the harvesting and planting method that works best for you, you'll be able to grow your own rose bushes for years to come.