I have a couple of questions

First, this may sound stupid but I have never had to put pollen in the refrig or in the freezer as I have always had fresh pollen. When you freeze ore put the pollen in the frig for a couple of weeks, do you put it in after the pollen is dried or before. I have tried to put some in the frig before the pollen has dried and I do not seem to get much pollen out of it. Also I have one polen parent, Gingersnap which sets hips like crazy but about half of them are cracking open and exposing all the seeds, are these seeds going to be viable? Thanks.

Patrick

Patrick,

Definitely let the pollen dry first. I just scatter the anthers on a piece of paper and let them dry before creasing the paper slightly and dumping them (and whatever pollen they’ve released) into the container where I plan to store them in the freezer. I prefer baby food jars. When you take them out of the freezer to use, keep the container closed until it reaches room temperature. Otherwise, you’ll get condensation inside and spoil a lot of the pollen. And when you’re not using pollen from the container, keep it closed to keep the pollen from getting damp. FWIW, RHA’s The Next Step has a section on handling pollen. You will find this and a lot more in The Next Step. It’s well worth the money. (No, I don’t get a cent for plugging it…)

The seeds that are exposed will be fine.

Link: www.rosehybridizers.org/nextstep.html

At art stores, you can buy paint containers. Theyre made from glass with little lids. Theyre about 1" x 1" in size. I store pollen in those. Theyre made for saving paint (or in my case, calligraphy ink) mixtures that you want to keep. I find them perfect due to their size and durability and the fact that I can see the pollen disperse through the glass which makes things easy to see and work with. I use a piece ofscotch tape over the outside to label them in pencil.

Thank you so much Peter and Jadae. Super info.

I have to add one note regarding exposed seeds. The answer to your question partly depends on where you live and the direction the exposed seeds are facing. For most areas of the country the seeds should be ok. But, if you live in a hot dry area like the southwest (perhaps other parts of the south are like this too) the very hot sun will dry out and fry the seeds and they will not be viable. Last year I tried covering them with a fine, porous material that did not absorb water, and it did help, but not enough. The seeds were only half-baked. This year I’ll try a thicker layer. It’s tricky because you want to shade the hip without increasing humidity so much that they will rot. If you have important crosses you want to protect, and you live in an area where the sun is very strong, maybe you can do a little experimenting with a few layers of loosely fit shade cloth.

Those glass containers Jadae sound great and an easy way to see where the pollen is. Like others I’ve been using 35mm film canisters and have been happy with them. There’s a large photo developing company I go to when I need more and they are thrilled that I have a purpose for them. In fact I usually have to politely decline their offer to keep giving me more boxes of them! Last time I went there they gave me 3 boxes of canisters (the kind 10 reams of paper come in). I use them once and throw them away. I like to do what Jim Sproul does as he described in another thread. If flowers are abundant I snap off the heads of the males and then remove the petals. I leave the head face down in the canister to dry for a day or two. The neck of the flower sticking up is then a good handle to tap the thing around in the canister for the pollen to come out of the anthers. Typically just pollen is in the canister after that and I throw away the remainder of the stem and flower. Next, I snap on the top and freeze it. I found freezing preserves pollen better, even if it’s only for a week or two (I’ve done some in vitro pollen germ tests with pollen stored at different temperatures). Perhaps the reason refrigeration stored pollen lost viability so much faster may be due to humidity??? If I used dessicant and refrigeration it may be better, but that adds another step. I still have viability after a week or two of refrigeration, but freezing preserves rose pollen well for years. Like mentioned, allowing canisters to warm before opening them prevents condensation in the container and wet sticky pollen.

I love Gingersnap. What a nice orange color!

Sincerely,

David

Somewhere I have read that frozen pollen works well after the first thaw; but it rapidly losses its fertility if one tries to freeze and thaw several times. Can anyone comment on this?

Interesting point to ponder Henry. I wonder that too. I try to have multiple canisters of males and typically unthaw and use just what I need and at the end of the day toss the canisters. Anyway, Kathy Zuzek mentioned that she visited with Lynn Collicutt (rose breeder at Morden) years ago and Lynn didn’t worry and would freeze, use, and refreeze pollen routinely. Lynn also used pollen stored for multiple years as well.

Sincerely,

David

Patrick, an alternative that I sometimes do is to put pollen parent flower buds (ones that will open in the next day or two in a ziplock bag. Make sure the blooms are not wet. That way you can use the pollen for an extended time. A bloom can be taken out each day with anthers removed in the usual procedure. On blooms from other people’s gardens, I can then have pollen for up to a week or more.

Jim Sproul

Thanks Jim, sounds great and I can use that this weekend when I will be out of town for two days.

Patrick

…Oh, I forgot to mention that I store the ziplock bag in the refrigerator, but you probably figured that out!!

Jim Sproul