How should early maturing hips be treated?

I have not been one to do my crosses early although the roses reliably bloom well by early to mid April. In the past I have used the early blooms for cutting and sharing and then during the first rebloom in June got busy. But this yr I visited Japan in Late May/early June and did some early crosses in April. And here it is mid-July and they are quite red and orange and I was wondering what you guys in the desert regions do with the early ripening hips? It is a little early to start any kind of stratifying, is it not? I can imagine the fist full of mush if the hips are put in baggies and into the fridge come October/November. And I don’t want to let them just lay there and dry out. Parking them in barely damp clean sand (like carrots in the old root cellar) in a cool location? The hips are about 110 days old, and in no danger of dropping, but the bumper crop of rodents seem really hungry and aggressive this year, and have ripped through a couple transition roses.

Jackie, if the hips were placed whole in the “crisper” section of a fridge, (without being bagged), I wonder if they would keep ok until you are ready to shell them at the time that best suits you, later in the season???

Maybe they would be mushy whether they were bagged or not bagged, I just don’t know…but I am curious about it…

BTW, this is a great practical question you have brought up!

Hi Jackie,

I just wait as long as I can, but will start picking the hips if they start dropping. I try to make sure that they are dry and store the hips whole in zip-lock bags in the refrigerator. Some get mushy, but most do not. In fact, I had some hips get missed and still looked pretty good almost a year later before I discovered them. It was hips of ‘Little Darling’ if I remember right (they tend to be larger).

After all of the hips have been harvested the seeds are removed from the hips. I only cold stratify and don’t do warm stratification.

I’d much rather risk “mushy” hips safely in the refrigerator than rodent robbers!

Jim Sproul

I usually set a small dish of water in the fridge crisper for the short duration I keep them in there. I usually plant seeds in mid Fall, personally, as this avoids seeds from drying out badly. But this isnt possible in many climates.

I’m with those guys… I’d put them in the fridge. I have a bunch of second generation seedlings (open-pollinated hips of F1 - moschata X wichuraiana) coming up right now that were from hips that got put in a zip-lock sandwich bag and left in the crisper all Winter and Spring. As you might expect, many of the hips had rotted, but there were still quite a few that looked like they’d just been picked. I figure that the seeds should be able to withstand rotting stuff around them anyway. But, I’m not sure which seeds (from rotten or intact hips or both) are coming up. The ones from the rotten hips were actually the easier ones to deal with. Most of the rotted material just rinsed right through a wire-mesh strainer leaving only the seeds. The whole hips had to still be crushed to get the seeds out.

Based on my experience last season I think that mature seeds should be removed from their hips shortly after harvest then be dried completely and refrigerated until the time comes to stratify them or extract their embryos. I will be doing that with all my seeds this season.

Back in the '80s I published a note in RHA newsletter describing an accidental experiment I did with Doubloons, keeping the hips in frig until spring, then treating them various ways. Germination was about normal, and at the expected stratification time. This info is also in my germination article on this site.

Last fall I collected a lot of hips of Country Dancer at the just ripe stage put them in frig and took some of them out each month to test the germination during cold stratification. Results are not in yet, as the last batch went to stratification sometime in April. My impression is that in the end most hips will not notice they were kept cold for those months, but there does seem to be some higher early germination in those stored long in the hips. Only a small % of hips went bad over several months. that will be species dependent and of course any injury or mold on the hips will proliferate. I’ll get the real numbers in Dec and will report them. I’m traveling now and don’t have my notes nearby.

Thanks, The consensus seems to be refrigerate. I will leave the hips on as long as possible. I have two roses planted on the edge which are just about naked so I have been tossing dead headed roses and sunflowers to the rodents which does keep them busy, and I notice more coyote traffic-they are destructive as well, knocking off branches, knocking over screens, and stomping on new seedlings just planted out. The coyotes have caught on to the feeding patterns of the rabbits and are quite active, but do their own brand of destruction. I think this is called ‘balance of nature’ despite human intervention.

Hi Jackie,

I would put them in a clear plastic bag with a paper towel. The towel will absorb most moisture that builds up in the bag so the hips won’t rot. Change the paper towel every once in a while too.

Good Luck!

I forgot to add…“also put in refrigerator.”

sorry :slight_smile:

I finally only kept one cross from my first season of hybridizing…it was a very late cross done in our fall. I kept removing hips I had done from all the earlier crosses, as I kept changing my mind about them…LOL

Anyway 2 weeks ago I started soaking these freshly removed achenes in water-filled baby food jars kept in the fridge, as an experiment…there are about 130+ achenes in all…I am planning on keeping them in this chilled water for 6-8 weeks, then plant them out, to see if they are rotted or not…I am curious to see what does happen!

Jackie,in reference to your rodents. My dad was bugged by a mole so he sat in a chair for hours till the mole came back and then blasted it with a 30-06.