Harvesting hips by the date or by the color?

I’m new at the hybridizing art, and would love to get any input on the correct timing for harvest of rose hips. Each of the hips I pollinated, I tagged with the pollen parent’s name and the date the pollination was done. Now, some of the hips are distinctly turning color before the 90-120 day average maturity date. Should I harvest by the color, or should I try to wait for the full amount of time to elapse before harvesting?

I always leave hips as long as I can if I feel they may be too early to pick. If they start to drop off the plant, then its obvious its time to collect. Usually the earliest I pick is mid-September, but those are crosses I made in early April, in many cases.



I think that color is a good indicator… otherwise, they would have evolved for animals to dispserse the seeds before they were ready. If I waited here for crosses to mature on the same time scale as Paul, I would be harvesting hips in mid-December from the first flush - obviously that wouldn’t work. Go with nature, I say.

Thanks for the valuable input! I have heard that if hips are left too long on the plant, growth inhibitors can prevent proper germination. Is that true?

Yes that is true, but if you pick them too early you will possiblly have easier germinations but seems that there are more stunted plants and unexplained seedling deaths. There is no easy answer other than trail and error for each set of hips in you area of the country and use the general guidelines of 90 to 120 days and color.


This is what I have on my web page:


Link: home.neo.rr.com/kuska/whentopickhips.htm