Overipe hips and overall Germination?

Hi there guys, I hope all your hybridizing efforts this winter are going well. I have two questions this go around;

  1. Will seeds retrieved from overipe hips be still viable? I am a chronic hip collector and I was in front of a medical center with beautiful, I guess they were hybrid teas that I’ve watched from the car for sometime and when I actually got up close found that they currently had HUGE hips, a bit browned,so I picked them. I was able to get a fair amount of seeds from them. The seeds are really large and their shells seems really thick, are their any tricks to help aid their germination since they have such thick shells? Should I put them in the fridge, or since the seeds have been outside until last week, could I just leave them in a moist paper towel in a baggie ( Like I do for my small citrus bush)?

  2. I’m also having a fair number of seeds just starting to germinate, their seed coat spiting (most are from the single Queen Elizabeth hip, once again a trooper, but I’m also getting some from some seeds I was graciously given). However, there is so far no sign of a white taproot. Should I wait until a taproot is visible or would it be safe to plant them out in flats of seedling soil now? Could I take them out of the fridge? Would that help spark faster growth?

I’ll appreciate any input. I cannot wait for this summer, I want to try hand pollinating for the first time, last year I really didn’t have anything blooming at once.

Thanks again!


I think you should try no matter what; different varieties probably respond differently to being left on the plant long. I’d do a warm stratification before cold - that way, you might get germinations right away, but if not maybe a couple of months’ chilling will do the trick.

I’ve had seeds split their coats without germinating before, and sowing them just led to easier rotting in those cases. There’s no harm in waiting until you see a bit of radicle emerge to know for certain that germination is underway, and it may not be long with a good germinator like ‘Queen Elizabeth’. They’re somewhat better protected from damping off fungi in the cold environment of the refrigerator in my experience.

Hips ripeness is known to modify germination delay or inhibitions but generaly has little influence on seed hability to germinate. Eventual decay is not allways harmfull. Even black seeds may germinate.

About hard seed coats stratification (warm and cold) usually is a necessity. They will soften with time plus biologic process and do open quite easily when germination is going.

Most non opening seeds are non viable to empty.