Another hip harvest question

Having dated the hips I pollinated, I am wondering if I should go ahead and harvest when I reach 120 days, even though we are not likely to get a frost here for a while yet.

Thanks to anyone who can give some input on this question!

As long a hard frost is a ways off I would wait until they color up. Sometimes hips with fewer seeds seem to take longer to ripen and other factors come into play as well including environment and female parent. Some females take longer to ripen than others. So, if the hips are firm and you know that for that variety they eventually color up and they haven’t yet I would wait. Better germination seems to occur after the seed is fully ripe. Sometimes if the hips are allowed to get overripe and mushy, germination can be hindered because more germination inhibitors translocate to the seeds. In nature this is fine, but for us that want to get uniform and a high rate of germination the first season it can be a problem. Allowing seeds to fully ripen allows them to have more photosynthates (sugars and such) translocated to the seed which results in stronger seedlings as well as help the seed finish its full development. At the end of development for most seeds water content goes down and other things happen which eventually allows the seed to perceive environmental cues and perform better later.

When I worked for the Forest Service years ago it was interesting when I would grow white spruce embryos in tissue culture that if after they reached a mature size I didn’t dry them down a bit (not much really) before trying to germinate them they would grow poorly.

So my point is to wait until you see signs of your hips being ripe. Just like we are all different and reach life’s milestones at slightly different ages, the same can be said for ripening rose seeds as well.


Wai till they show color, or until freeze events below 28F are anticipated, whichever comes first. The 120 day rule is just a guidline and many, many varieties take more time than that, and many take less.


Thanks David and Paul. The information you shared is just what was needed. If the hips have fully colored and approx. 120 days have passed, would you go ahead and bring them in, or would you let them keep waiting?

Again, thanks for your great input!