Looking for an article - can anybody help?

I’m looking for an old article that probably appeared in an old issue of the hybridizer’s newsletter. It was written by Joseph Winchel and is called “HYBRIDIZING WITHOUT A GREEN HOUSE OR ARTIFICIAL LIGHT”.

I’m looking for it as I’m planning to do some intensive testing on outside germination and growth of seedlings here in Denmark. The reason for this is the following:

  1. If I germinate seeds and grow seedlings in large covered raised beds I wil be able to plant app. 10 times as many seeds. So I can accept a 10 times smaller germination rate.

  2. If I use the succesful seedlings in my further work - over time germination and succesful growth percentages should increase. You could say that I will work on on increasing germination and seedling “hardiness”

I expect to sow about 5-10.000 seeds from open pollinated hips from about 100 seed parents (non species)- and I’ll take it from there :slight_smile:

Now is this just a waste of time?

Comments welcomed



Thanks Peter

Denmark has a cool coastal climate zone 8 (I live only 1 mile from the coast) - this year it was a winter like zone 9 or 10 :slight_smile:

I know that ouside germination is used in Denmark by some small organic producers of rootstock (multiflora)- so it can be done.

  • I’m the only member so far from Denmark - but I think Bo will join soon.

Do you think it is possible to breed roses that will germinate easier and have higher seedling survival rate?

The article you are looking for was published in the Vol.XX Spring 1989 issue of the RHA newsletters.

Thank you Meg

Peter has mailed it to me this morning :slight_smile:


““Do you think it is possible to breed roses that will germinate easier and have higher seedling survival rate?””

Why not? It is something we all do as we choose as mother seedlings and vars that are fertile and good germinators for our place and procedures. Only problem being: is easier germination heritable with our actual complex multispecies hybrids. Experience is not very encouraging as I see little progress among the yearly mother candidates. And finding a yellow rose HT without much underaverage germination is still elusive.

Each species evolved for million of years and has a successfull germination strategy. Adapted to its wild environment. Combining different species we mix genes for different strategies.

Selecting for better germination at your place is also finding a better sowing procedure. Even if there are some accepted rules over the years most (probably all!) of us have set our own procedure concerning seed extraction stratification, sowing time, substrates, temperatures. Everyone has little or not so little differences here and there even when germinating in controlled environment such as heated greenhouse or under lights in the basement.

Another point: as neutral as we try all and each germination procedure is the first screening we do among potential progenies.

I for one rely on germination at outside temperature.

Here french Riviera z9 some seeds with others without previous stratification are sown in pots by mid january in an open end greenhouse and are subjected to fluctuating outdoor temps.

And every year I experiment some rather to totally empty pots. Even if working with seedlings developed from many generations of well germinating lines…

Direct sowing is definitely not a waste of time. This year I’m planning on sowing all my rugosa and rosa cinnamomea plena seeds right in the field. Right now there is a foot of snow in this field garden so they probably won’t go in the ground for another month. I look at it as survival of the hardiest and best germinating. It also saves a lot of prep work when talking about thousands of seeds.

Meanwhile my other “select crosses” seeds were planted in flats indoors last month and have not shown any signs of germinating yet.

When you mention a “covered” raised bed, what are you going to use for the covering? I’m not planning on using any cover, though a plastic covering would help with warming the soil. When will you start planting? I’ll be curious to know how this method works for you. Also it may be interesting to take a sample of the seeds and plant them indoors to compare the germination rate with the outdoor seeds.

Good Luck!

Im gonna try direct sewing next year too. November, December and Junuary are very wet and cold months here so it should be better than the fridge since those three months also come with temperature fluctuations, light fluctuations and microorganisms.

I’ll just keep one tray indoors so I have something to look at in the winter :stuck_out_tongue:

Hi Lori

One of the reasons for this experiment is that i live centrally in the city of Copenhagen - but my collection of roses (300+ and growing by 100 a year) is at my summerhouse 2 hours drive away which means that from Feb to May I will only go there every 2 weeks. This has forced me to use all the ways I can to keep maintanence low - automatic watering, weed control by heavy mulching, careful selection of plants etc. It works perfectly - but when it comes to hybridization it is a real problem that I cannot be very present in the early spring. So this is what I plan to do:

I will build raised beds of app. 10x3,5 feet. Each should hold 6000 seeds. They will be raised to make sure drainage is good. This is very important as watering will be automated. They will be covered - not to raise temperature - but to make sure that seedlings do not dry out. I plan to make a fairly simple removable plexiglas cover, possibly with an temperature sensitive ventilation. The beds will be placed out of midday sun or equiped with shades.

I will plant 1 month before the last expected frost - here in Denmark this would be in feb/ march.

I will as mentioned earlier plant app. 60 seeds from 100 different plants. If I have time I will test 3 different growth mediamixes- I’ll keep you posted with the results in about 1 year.



Hello Soren - Sounds like we have similar circumstances. Most of my roses are at our farm which is 100 miles away, so they often have to take care of themselves. As soon as we sell our house, hopefully this spring, we’ll be living at the rose farm full time.

Your plan sounds good, sort of a cold frame idea. I would be very interested in the results.

My direct sown seeds won’t be pampered at all, just sown in a row and see what happens. Fortunately we have a spring above the garden that keeps the soil moist.

As much as I hope for good germination, the question then will be what to do with 5,000 seedlings!!


Cull, cull CULL!

I felt like the grim reaper this morning. But it’s for the best.

My (somewhat limited) outside germination is done in a wooden “box” that has a metal screened hinged lid and also metal screening attached to the bottom of the box in order to keep “critters” from eating the seeds. I simply throw low priority open pollinated hips (seeds not removed from the hips) in the box each fall. I also add most high priority seeds that have not germinated after the second year of my regular germination procedure.

Any updates on this from people who said they were going to do this in 2008? This is something I’ve been thinking of doing to get a better root system on the seedlings. This and I’ve just lost my entire years worth of seedlings (except three seedlings) because I didn’t get to open the greenhouse fast enough on a particularly hot day and cooked the lot :frowning: I just need to fence off an area to keep out the critters.

I’ve never had a greenhouse. I grow everything out of doors more or less in the open. My propagation are is fenced with high block walls. Most seedlings are growing on elevated benches.

I’m going to do one of two things… haven’t decided yet… either cultivate a 50mx20m bed in my back paddock (if I can get a rotary hoe for my tractor) to sow the seeds directly in the soil or make a series of raised beds to sow the seeds directly… either way will work ok here I think if I can keep the animals away… rabbits, wallabies, and possums are a problem here.

Even in zone 6b, rugosa’s left in open pots to over winter will end up growing some plants. From the years before, I can expect about three flushes of germinating seeds, of which the first two get mowed down by freeze. This year I divided into three pots as an experiment. Two are outside and still dormant. The third is currently inside under artificial lights with seedlings growing. I want to see the difference in germination rates. Robin Hood also works for outside germination in 6b in a pot. In fact, I do half in half lately with some outside germination and some inside germination under lights. The temperatures are getting extremely erratic around here as of the past few years. For example we had a temperature swing from 70F to 15F in a 24 hour period (just recently) after which I found several frozen seed sprouts- so the warm temperatures trigger germination and then the seedling immediately freezes…perhaps a cold frame would help this SOME. It is for this reason that I’ve adapted to the climate change and am starting to rely more on earlier inside germination…at least for my more “exotic” varieties.

The advantage to using some artificial lights is that I have a carefree beauty (x (knockout x flirtatious)?)seedling that was an “accidental” warm germination (that I cought from late nov) that I pricked out and re-potted and brought inside that will have its first bloom in about a week. Very vigorous thing and extremely top heavy (I don’t think it would make it outside at an early age anyways . I tried leaving it out for some sun…the winds wipped it around horribly- it’s just now growing some decent stem to match the foliage size). I’m horribly excited about it…it’s something to look forward to spring. Yet most of seed pots are still outside- including the rest of Carefree Beauty’s. If I have a flush of decent germination too soon I’ll bring them in- same as the others still outside (well except for the rugosa’s and some others like carefree delight, robin hood- I’ll let the first germinations freeze- perhaps). So right now I have about six other seedlings under lights- besides the pot of rugosas. None of the other seedlings are even near blooming yet (still looking good though). Well, for like rugosa’s, it normally takes me two years to get first blooms anyways- that is with outside germination. This is my first year with having some under lights maybe I’ll get first blooms in the first year (doubt it though).

I’d get very low germinations if I didn’t stratify in the fridge first. This is the plan. Stratify as normal first then sow when I see the first germinants in very late winter to early spring. Zone 9b doesn’t get cold enough to stratify seeds naturally from my own observations over the last few years.