How to efficiently handle 2,000 seeds

I’m shelling my hips and, with both pleasure and worry, it appears I’ll have more than I thought: about 2,000 seeds, 1,500 of which are from one cross OsoEasy Italian Ice x mixed Poulsen Parade pollen–Gigi, Karina and a couple from Por La Mar) a few hundred from Pinkerbelle x that mixed pot-plant, 100 from Sheer Elegance x that pollen and a half-dozen other rosses with 25 to 50 seeds each.

Any suggestions for how I might efficiently handle them? My plan is to simply spread them around flats perhaps 1" apart, of course, having separate crosses marked. I am fortunate to live in an area that, for the next couple months will average 60-degree days and 43-degree nights, so I’m hoping that will be a reasonable approach to stratification.

Then, when they grow, I’ll transplant the best few hundred into 3" diameter, 5" deep pots.

You’ll have to work the germination technique that works the best for you, but I think your initial idea sounds good.

It seems like Jim Sproul and Kim Rupert have good luck germinating in outdoor/greenhouse environments with no refrigerator stratification. (correct me if I’m wrong, guys)

I think about 500 seeds per 11" x 22" flat is a reasonable quantity. That’s what we do for seeding annuals like impatiens, petunias, and salvia that might have a 90% germination rate. If I have mass amounts of rose seeds I put them thicker than that because my germination percentages are fairly low.

Watch out for mice! One mouse can cause a lot of heartbreak overnight. One way to protect them is to rig up an old (non-functioning) dorm-room fridge so you can stack several flats in there.

Note to self and others: Oso Easy Italian Ice sets a lot of seeds.


Oso Easy Italian Ice: 90% hipset, 10 seeds per hip. The plant in mildew-prone Oakland CA gets no mildew, nor blackspot. I hear that in TX it gets cyclospora badly. The plant is a mini-shrub, vigorous, with an interesting color flower: yellow suffused with a bit of orange semi-double.

I do the just outside, no fridge thing. Moderns, Polys, Sweet Briars all germinate in large numbers straight from the hip to potting mix in early autumn. Will have an opinion on rugosa in 7 months or so (very few from last season but also very few rugosa parents until this season) but seems a bit low (but may be incompatibility related since the germination rate didn’t increase post “winter” either).

Refrigeration may help but I haven’t needed it so far. If it becomes necessary for something I’m trying to breed with I’ll do it but at the moment I’m selecting against it, no need for me in my climate (Sydney, Australia) to add an extra step when the option is there to avoid it completely.

Dunno what kind of germination rates you anticipate (congrats on the parade roses – I haven’t had takes from such in the past) but if realty is a concern, I wonder if there might be benefits to germinating in stratified baggies and transplanting. Of course, if you have a lot of successes, that’s a helluva lotta pricking and planting… I’ve never had anywhere near those numbers, so… Congratulations. That’s not a bad problem to have!

Thank you all.

What I think I’ll do is, for the cross with 1500 seeds, sprinkle them across four nursery flats (18x 18) which should get them, on average 3/4 an inch apart. Most will be minis, so that shouldn’t create much overcrowding. After the first bloom, I’ll scissor 75% of them. After the 2nd bloom, all but perhaps 10, which I’ll transplant into their own pots.

For the others, I’ll plant the most intriguing crosses in 2" x 4" deep pots, 2 to a pot. The rest I’ll plant in the 2 Park Biodomes I have. Each has 60 cells. I’ll plant 2 or 3 seeds to a cell. I’ll cull as above but because the cells are small, move the goodies to their own pot.

I’ll use window screening to protect the babies from critters.

I’ll keep you posted on what’s germinating and then, what’s yielding good stuff.

I should clarify that I transplant all of my roses prior to their first bloom, when they’re about 2" tall or less. I put them into 4-pacs which translates to 40 plants per flat.

Therefore, if you’re planning to grow them to second blossom in the seedling flat you should disregard my recommended seeding density.

Yup, I do outside, no refrigeration and I get FAR more seedlings than I can honestly handle. I transplant about now because of weather and rains. I guess I really should BE transplanting the seedlings now so the new seeds can be planted… These are about ten months old and have already been whacked back to the tops of the cages over them, out of the neighbor’s ceanothus standard.

Kim, that’s downright frightening. My worst weed-trees don’t grow nearly that fast. WHAT are you feeding those? (Now I feel like a horrible rose daddy…)

Tell me about it. I feed them water, period. Just plain old hose water. I am blessed with one of the most marvelous climates there is. Truly blessed.

That’s just wrong. Now I see why you hate Austin roses.
So sequoias aren’t really anything special? It’s the CA climate? :wink:

No, Sequoias ARE something special and only exist within a very narrow climate range, and yes, it IS the California climate. It’s been known to be exceptional for nearly two-plus centuries. Read old rose books for descriptions of Climbing Teas and Noisettes growing on old hotels with limbs so large people would SIT in them. Until the introduction of non native pests and “assisted climate deterioration”, nothing (other than herbivores) inhibited their grown in many places.