Help, I think I've lost my touch...

Hi, everyone,

The greenhouse is finally built and up and… I have only one seedling to grow in it.

I made dozens of crosses last summer, and treated them all the same way I always do. I generally get a dozen healthy seedlings or more but this year I’ve so far only gotten the one. What I do is this:

When the hips start to color, I take them off, take out the seeds, wash them, stratify them in a special tiny refrigerator I keep just for this purpose. Temp is set at 40^ F

After 8 weeks I take them out for two days, leave them at room temp (still in the bag), put them back in the fridge for 2 days, then take them out and leave them in the bag until they germinate, which usually takes about a week.

This year all I got was one open pollinated seedling of Golden Celebration, out of 50 hips and hundreds of seeds.

Help! Am I doing something very wrong or do they just hate me this year?



Some seeds take more time to ripen than others. Try leaving them on longer. Some of mine germinate better with 5 months on the bush.


I had very poor germination last year. Since what you’re doing is not working this year, just stick the seeds back in the fridge until April and see what happens then. You have nothing to lose, and maybe lots of seedlings to gain. And if it turns out that this really is a bad year for germination, well–wait till next year. That usually works. And probably some of these seeds that don’t germinate now will germinate next fall.


Thanks, Peter and Judith, will try both of those strategies.

Funny thing is, I had a flat of seeds I’d planted, that have sat on a windowsill for a couple of months now. Cats sat in them. They got too dry. They got to wet. Dogs knocked them down.

Yesterday we finished the greenhouse, and just to have something in it, I put that flat out. Didn’t have any caulking or anything done so it got down to 23 in there last night.

Looked at the flat at mid day. Thought, better toss it, I need the shelf space.

Just came home, started putting up insulation…

Two seedlings growing in that flat!

I -knew- I needed a greenhouse!

Fara - Seed germination can get very tempermental at times. My grow out seedling population was nothing to write home about this past year. But you must keep your enthusiasm and never look back. Learn from your mistakes. I agree with Peter Harris that some rose seed germinate very slowly and may take a year or more. I work for a major seed corn company and germ rates usually run in the high 90’s. Wouldn’t it be nice if rose seeds responded the same way



Your seeds are stratified in a bag - does the bag also contain a moist medium such as sand or peat?


They are stratified in moist shop towels, the blue ones. I’ve heretofore had very good luck with them.


I use the paper towels too. Works fine for me.

Hi everyone,

I think it mostly depends on the variety.

I never had ‘Golden Celebration’ seeds to germinate, so I can not comment about it.

I learned from Ralph Moore to ripen the hips as orange as possible for better germination.

Several years ago I had a cl. mini seedling which in it’s second year gave me about 100 or more open pollinated hips on the same plant. I had about 2000 (two thousand) seeds and not a single one germinated. Kept the seed tray for a second year and still no germination. “ALL” hips were 100 % orange !

George Mander

So Fara, a cat and a dog helped with the germination! Wow!! See what sort of a ‘crap shoot’ this is? Isn’t this the fun part of this for the amateur? Don’t give up - we have had some seed trays that we have had the space to keep for a year, then water and still have a few germinations. Lots of folks can’t do this, but if you can at least keep the tray and give it a try one more time - Mother Nature often tells the seeds of some varieties take a tad longer to wake up and grow! Best of luck to you in getting some new seedlings this season!

I’ve had to throw mine back into the refrigerator - no germination after the first round of warmth, nada, zip. I’d be happy to have one or two already!

The seeds I’m germinating are mainly open-pollinated seedlings of “Fa’s Marbled Moss” and species roses which grow in the same garden. Since FMM normally grows wild and in the worst conditions imaginable, I usually have about 25% germination on it. I must have insulted it somehow…

Here, the Easter freeze of 07 delayed and reduced seedset, and may have resulted in seeds with lower-than-normal viability.

Fara, I need to get a cat and a dog too. I’ve had very low percentage this year. I wondered if my medium was moister than usual, if my fridge temperature was colder, if the choice of seed parents was poor… I think the planets just weren’t aligned right.