Introduction to Growing Roses From Seeds:
When most people start growing roses they usually don't think about starting from seeds. Traditionally most gardeners will leave the more technical growing to the professional and just buy their roses bare root, or in containers already well on their way. What if you decide you want to be adventurous however and try starting roses from seeds?
The first thing you need to understand is growing roses from seeds is very slow and tedious and you are likely to have a lot of disappointment along the way. This is a process that has a small rate of success and even when you do succeed, you might have to wait several years before you can truly see the fruit of your labors. If you have the patience and the ambition to really start a project such as this, you just might find that hybridizing roses is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have.
Growing Roses From Seeds the Easy Way:
The best thing you can do to grow roses from seeds is to experiment a little bit with easy varieties. What you need to understand is roses are plants that are bi-sexual, meaning they have both the male and female parts all on the same plant. This means many varieties will pollinate themselves and produce hips that will be full of seeds. Letting them pollinate themselves will give you an easy start to the process before you start getting into cross-pollination, which is where the real art form comes in.
If you are going to try growing roses from seeds, do some research online and find varieties of roses are known to pollinate themselves rather easily for your first try. A few good varieties for this method are Fairhope, Peggy T, Hurdy Gurdy, and Playboy, just to name a few. Once your roses go to seed, you should let the rose hips on the plant for a minimum of four months before you decide to harvest them. This will give your seeds enough time to develop. After this period, cut the hips off the rose bushes and slice them in half and dig out the seeds. You can discard the hip once all the seeds are out.
Growing Roses From Seeds - Testing Your Seeds:
Immediately after you have removed the rose seeds from the hips you are going to want to rinse them in a mild solution of water with 5% bleach. That works out to around 2 teaspoons of bleach for every cup of water. After you rinse them in the bleach solution, rinse them thoroughly using a strainer with bottled water. Once they are rinsed, you should soak them for a full day in 3% peroxide. If you are going to try growing roses from seeds, be very careful that you do not mix any of the bleach solution with the peroxide or else you will have a bad chemical reaction.
After the 24 hour soaking period you will see that some of the seeds are floating and others of them have sunk to the bottom. This is a great time to weed out seeds that may not be viable, saving you disappointment down the road. There is a rule of thought that the seeds that float are often not viable and will not grow, so they are sometimes discarded. The ones that will sink to the bottom tend to have a much higher success rate and therefore those are the ones you should plant. Keep in mind this is not an exact science and you can simply decide to plant all of your seeds and let nature decide which ones will grow or not.
Growing Roses From Seeds - Cleaning Rose Seeds:
After the seeds have soaked you will need to clean the seeds. When you remove them from the rose hips there is often times pulp that remains attached to the seeds and if left on it, it will tend to get moldy and damage the seed. There are a couple ways you can go about cleaning rose seeds. One way is to lay all of your seeds out on a clean towel and scrub the seeds with a brush until all of the pulp is removed. This method tends to be very tedious however.
Another method is a little surprising, but it works exceedingly well. If you have a blender that has a plastic dough attachment, you can really save yourself quite a lot of work. Add about 1 to 2 cups of purified water to a bowl containing your seeds, making sure all of the seeds are covered. Then turn on the blender on its lowest speed for a few minutes. This method does a surprisingly good job of cleaning any pulp that was left on the seeds with minimal damage.
Growing Roses From Seeds - Planting Your Rose Seeds:
Now that your rose seeds are ready, all that you have to wait for is warm weather where all danger of a frost is past for your particular area. You are not going to want to put your seeds directly into your existing soil but rather a nice 50/50 mix of a sterilized potting soil and vermiculite. You can also sow your seeds in seed trays or small flower pots, just so long as you give them adequate drainage.
Sow the seeds about a half inch deep in your potting mix and give them a light dusting of Captan or RooTone before covering them over with soil. It is also a good idea to give the surface of the soil a light dusting as well as this will help greatly in the prevention of damp off, which is a common disease that kills seedlings. Place your newly planted roses in direct sunlight and keep them well watered as the first couple of weeks is of the utmost importance to your seeds' new life.
It will take several weeks for your new seeds to really sprout completely and it usually takes several years before new roses started from seeds will reach full maturity. This is where the patience comes in that we mentioned earlier! So don't get discouraged, growing roses from seeds will all be worth it in the end!
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