I am very new to hybridizing, in fact I am playing with open-pollinated hips for the first time to get the hang of collecting and growing seeds before I try any of my own crosses. My first question is, does anyone have pictures of what healthy, mature rose seeds look like? When Im opening up the hips, I’m not exactly sure what I’m looking for. Also, I’m planning on planting new roses this spring that I want to use for parent plants (Scarlet Moss, Rouge Moss, Dresden Doll, etc.)and I’m wondering if I can start breeding them this year, or if I should give them a season to mature and practice on some of my other roses in the meantime. Thanks for any suggestions! Kate
You’ll find a pretty good article (with pictures) online at How to Grow Roses From Seed
This was good enough to be reprinted in 2 parts in the Spring and Summer 2003 issues of the Rose Hybridizers’ Association Newsletter.
If you are not yet a member of the RHA, I’d encourage you to join. See http://www.rosehybridizers.org/join.html . For $10 per year, you get 4 newsletters with good articles on all phases of hybridizing. In addition, RHA has 2 publications which would answer a lot of your questions on the process of hybridizing, on rose genetics, etc. These are available for a very reasonable price. See http://www.rosehybridizers.org/nextstep.html . You could go out and spend $30 on a dinner for one at a low-to-moderately priced restaurant, and know nothing more about rose hybridizing–or join and buy the two publications and have reference works at your fingertips, and still have enough change left to buy coffee to drink as you read. (I would say “a lot of coffee” but some of those coffees are really high-priced.)
Re. using the new plants–go ahead if you want to. If they’re growing well, they won’t be slowed down greatly. The chances are that you won’t get as good a seed set as with a mature bush, and maybe won’t get as many seeds per hip, and maybe will have more hip-drop in late season, but you’ll be getting valuable experience in what will probably be a lifelong habit. And you can always harvest open-pollinated hips from other bushes in case you don’t get enough seeds. Many of the roses in commerce are from open-pollinated seed, and I’ve had some excellent seedlings from open-pollinated seed. Bees do a good job.
The seeds pictured in the link given by Peter are very nice plump seeds, but you should be aware that rose seeds come in a variety of forms. Some are smaller and completely round; some have the shape of those in the picture but are smaller or larger. The colors will differ also. Some are tan like those in the picture; some are reddish; some are darker brown; and some are black.
In that reference the following is is stated:
"The Water Float Test
Some people don’t bother to take the time to do this, but I still do. Place the seeds in a cup of water. The seeds that float are usually no good, so throw them away. The seeds that sink are the good ones, and are the ones to plant."
Before you follow that advice you may want to look at the following:
I agree with Henry on this. Don’t bother with the float test. Lots of seeds that float do germinate–and lots of seeds that sink don’t germinate.