Collecting Pollen for Freezing

I intend to do a second breeding program in early march as my summer program was not very efective(40c temp. & water restrictions don’t help) But as I found myself short of required pollen at times I would like to collect in advance and freeze some as insurance.

My plan is a crash program of 2 weeks from 1st. march and rely on our usual mild pre winter weather to ripen hips.

How many days collection can be pooled in 1 container?

How do I combine collections?

What method of storage & thawing should I use?

How long will thawed pollen remain viable?

Should I mix fresh & frozen pollen when available.

Any advice or other suggestions would be appreciated.

Russell Cole

Thawing is the most crucial step. If done wrong, the pollen will become damp and useless. It should be dried with no pollen grain touching one another–all spread out on a nice, warm day inside by a window.

the rest is easy.

I find that I normally cannot refreeze thawed pollen successfully. So, when I have collected a large amount of pollen from one variety; I divide that amount into a number of smaller amounts (each sufficient to pollinate an individual flower). Each of these small amounts is frozen separately.

Thanks Jadae

How do you prepare your pollen for freezing?

I have been collecting my pollen daily and putting the stamens in a plastic medicine jar 50mm x 30mm where I can shake the pollen free and wipe it off the surface with a finger to polinate. I put up to 3 days collection in 1 container then discard. Could I use this method for Frozen Pollen?

Thank You Henry

What containers do you use for a 1 flower quantity of pollen?



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Regarding containers, I have access to a trucking salvage store that often has small screw top vials.

The following article has some interesting suggestions:


Hi Russell,

I like to use film canisters. I find that having individual containers of pollen that can be brought out with enough at at time to realistically use so one doesn’t have to refreeze and thaw is good. Just allow the sealed containers to warm to room temperature before opening them so you don’t get condensation with the pollen from the warm, relatively humid air hitting the inside of the cold container.

I coauthored a manuscript where we studied pollen storage and followed pollen tube length and vigor after storage treatments.

Zlesak, D.C., Zuzek, K. and S.C. Hokanson, 2007. Rose pollen viability over time at varying storage temperatures. Acta Horticulturae 751:337-343.

In this work we learned that the colder the temperature is the better the storability of the pollen. Colder stored had more vigorous pollen tubes and percent pollen germination. -80C preserved quality better than -20C. -20C is what many of our kitchen refrigerators typically are set at.

A nice poster summary, as presented at the IV International Symposium on Rose Research and Cultivation, on this work is printed in the Summer 2006 RHA Newsletter. Past RHA newsletters are available electronically and over 30 years of newsletters can be purchased on one very affordable cd.



I will be experimenting with frozen pollen this spring to

Henry Kuska posted a sciencepaper about pollenstorage a couple months ago. It said you can store pollen 9 months in the freezer.

I’ve stored my pollen in these little cups. The are 1,5 inch wide and high.


My freezer:


Also very easy to label and seeing the amouth of pollen:


I find the solution the using pollen from the same vial multiple times is being sure that it is dry. I like to add a few graines of silica gel to keep the pollen dry. Also to reduce condensation on the inside of the vial I like to warm it on one hand before for a min. The vials are centrifuge vials- small but can take alot.