Collecting Pollen

This is my first serious attempt at hybridizing. I’ve collected anthers from several rose blooms (while irritating my wife by decapitating the roses). I don’t have anything in bloom that I want to pollinate at this point so I want to freeze the pollen. My question is whether to leave the anthers in the container or try and get as much pollen as possible and toss the anthers.

I’m amazed at the difference in pollen quantity that comes from the various varieties. I understand why minis would produce less, but the differences between Pascalli and Arlene Francis was incredible.


You may freeze the pollen if you wish, but it will keep pretty well at room temperature for 2 weeks or more–as long as it’s dry.

I always leave the pollen in the anthers until I need it. It seems to keep better that way. Some will fall out in whatever you store the pollen in, but the presence of the anthers makes it a lot easier to move the pollen from one container to another if you want to, and you can knock them around repeatedly and usually get more from them. And when you think you don’t have any more, you can rub them together over the pistils and usually get enough for some seeds.

Whatever you do, if you intend to freeze the pollen, make sure the anthers have dried for a couple of days (in many areas) or for several hours (in a low-humidity climate) before you freeze them. And let the container of frozen pollen warm to room temperature before you open it or you’ll get condensation inside the container when you open it.


I collect the anthers in pill bottles & don’t bother removing the anthers. After the pollen is dry, if you shake the bottle, the pollen clings to the sides of the container. The pill bottles then go into plastic zip bags & into the freezer. When you retrieve the pollen later, you need to give it and hour or so to acclimate so there wouldn’t be any condensation in the container. I saved pollen from R. primula last year & it worked well later in the season when the tender roses were blooming.

As for decapitating roses, I don’t do it for larger blooms. You can gently pry the centers of the rose apart & remove the anthers with tweezers or clip off with curved manicure scissors.

Peter and Lydia:

Thanks for you responses. I’m looking forward to next spring for new babies!