Dainty Bess as seed parent

Anyone have any experience with Dainty Bess as a seed parent? I have about 100 big fat DB seeds that were stratified for 2 months, and then removed from the cold 7 months ago. They have been just sitting here doing nothing. They look healthy, but very quiet :slight_smile:

Any ideas?

I will start the ball rolling. I would suggest dividing the lot into fourths and trying different treatments. I would suggest one lot get a Bromelain (not cellulase type drain digestive enzymes as this late that may kill the seed) soak for 2 days. One lot keep as a control. Does anyone have suggestions for the other 2 lots?

I’d be curious about the oxyclean.

I dont know much about Dainty Bess but I do know that Mrs. Oakley Fisher sets self hips like crazy from the rose beds of it I have seen. If youre into single HT’s then maybe that is a good route.

I like the controled batch idea. I took some seeds at the end of April and brought them outside in a shady area. It gave me 6 new germinations. Maybe the change in daily temperture and mother nature helped. I took hanging basket containers filled with about 2 inches of potting mix, planted the seeds, even placed a tooth pick in the area of the seed , and covered them with plastic wrap to keep in the moisture. You can also use the red plastic wrap.They got the first morning rays of the sun followed by shade. My seeds were also dusted with rootone.

Thanks for the suggestions. Joan, I did use an oxy soak about a month ago since they were getting a pretty nasty mold bloom. The molds have totally gone and the seed coat has definitely softened from the oxy. I was thinking of perhaps now innoculating the batch with a different mold - the thin, black stringy kind that often seems to be present in batches of seeds that are germinating well.

Since I normally germinate my seeds in paper towels, I also tried some of the seeds in soil - rich composted soil - about 3 months ago. No germinations there either.

Henry, good idea. I had initially done a bromelain soak when I shucked the seeds, but will do another soak now on one third of the seeds as you suggested. Perhaps the seed coat has just not been softened enough. These seeds are very large and the seed coat very, very thick. Maybe the third batch I’ll put in the fridge.

Jadae, thanks for the suggestions. I really do want Dainty Bess, though.

Maybe a second stratification period?

Interestingly, Dainty Bess as a seed parent is listed as having only 3 offspring. One with an unknown seedling, one with Lady Hillingdon pollen, which I believe is triploid, and one with R. gigantea pollen, which I assume is diploid. Sounds like Dainty Bess may be diploid?

I don’t know where this might fit, but Dainty Bess sets large number of hips in my gardens and often the hips drop off and spend winter in the leaf/mulch litter.

Dainty Bess is different from many other roses in that the hips retain their orangey color through winter in the litter, seemingly regardless of temps that go to 0F. Does this suggest or argue for the multiple stratifications?

Interesting, Ann. Perhaps a long or multiple stratification period would be worth trying. You haven’t tried to germinated any of the seeds?

I haven’t tried them. None have come up gratis, FWIW.

I have noticed that some seeds require more than two months to germinate freely, and that sometimes after germination has slowed (basically stopped), an additional period of stratification (1 - 2 months) can give another burst of germination. In fact in retrospect, if I had gotten my stratification going earlier (which I will attempt this fall), I will do 3 months of stratification to start.

Ok, after I soak them in bromelain, back in the fridge they will go. I opened three seeds yesterday - boy were they hard to open! I could hardly crack the seam with a razor blade. 2 of seeds inside looked healthy, so that was encouraging. (I always feel like I have probably just destroyed the one AARS winner in the group when I do that :slight_smile:

Another idea: how about excising the embryos? I’ve had mixed results with it – sometimes they germinate very quickly afterwards, and sometimes they just rot almost instantly, But it is something I often try if I am feeling impatient with a seed, and does work sometimes.

Joseph Tychonievich

Joe, yes, I’ve done that too, and find the same results. It’s worth a try. The problem with DB is the seed coat is so hard, it’s difficult to excise the embryo without damaging it. Perhaps I should try it after a bromelain or oxy soak. That may make it easier.

Ok, here’s the experiment. Since I had more seeds than I thought, I divided the seeds into 6 batches.

25 went back into the fridge for a second stratification.

25 were, and will continue to be, in sand with a light bromelain solution, as previously suggested by Henry.

25 are getting a second oxyclean treatment - 48 hours

25 are getting a second bromelain soak - 48 hours

28 have been in a separate bag and were starting to get a bit moldy. I’ll try to keep them lightly moldy, but not overwhelmed by rubbing them under water in a strainer.

25 are “controls” - in paper towels wetted with H2O2. They had previously been treated with H2O2 and then Oxy however. I’ll try to keep them mold-free.

So that’s it. I’ll let you know what happens, and as usual, thank you for your help!

Update on the experiment.

I soaked one batch in bromelain, another in Oxyclean. Both rendered the seeds soft as butter, and I split the seeds open easily without damaging the embryos. Unfortunately, most were dead anyway. Not all, but most. We’ll see if the opened seed coats of the healthy looking embryos hasten germination. In any case, lesson learned - both treatments soften the seed coats. I split them open with a cuticle scissors.