Picking green hips for infertile roses... got Linda Campbell germination

In 2007, I picked some green hips (they were aborting) off from Linda Campbell. Now, Linda Campbell is infertile, but I said to myself, “Maybe if I picked off hips-- maybe I can still germinate them.”

And they finally did… well, just one.

Now, I’ve done this also for my openly pollinated Pillow Fight seedling-- which is incredibly beautiful when it’s full of flowers.

So maybe the trick to getting something out of hard to germinate roses is to pick them early on.

I remember years ago, I would pick OP Queen Elizabeth seeds from very green hips, and still got germinations. Although, that resulted in weak seedlings… which means, to me, that ripening is important for seeds to receive all their nutrition.

But for roses where they abort their seeds very quickly-- this maybe a good route.

I only got one single germination, and I only got 3 seeds. And I’ve stratified them for 3 years. And who knows it will survive if it has any genetic incompatibilities. But I think repeating that if I constantly check for OP Linda Campbell for those green and dying hips-- I can get a better rate of success.

Congratulations on finding a way to get a seedling from an ‘infertile’ rose! Do you know how long the Linda Campbell hips were on the plant before you picked them?

No, I got it from Heritage Garden. I notice every now and then green little hips on Linda Campbell. Most of them with are false hips, and if you find seeds-- they’re so soft it’s obvious that they won’t survive. When I collected these those seeds, I recall that they had a semi-soft seed coat… perhaps they matured after some time in the stratification process.

But if it’s any useful to you, I collected them exactly on 08/28/07.

It’s a matter of having a good eye… my own Purrezza, which is suppose to be infertile, had a tiny little hip which could have been easily overlooked. I still have that one seed after 4 years.

My own plant of Reine des Violettes made a hip this year, although it didn’t look like a hip.

Can I ask why you are stratifying them for so long? Is there an inverse correlation between seed maturity and stratification length? Most people’s accounts of raising seeds state something like 6-8 weeks in the fridge and more (up to a year) for species crosses… so I’m interested to hear why you stratify for so long? I would have assumed that even in stratification there would come a point when the embryo would die???

Why for so long?

Because I didn’t have the heart to throw them away–

I wasn’t expecting nothing at all. But I keep seeds so long there is space.

but I was VERY surprised that it germinated. I don’t know if I’m the first, but-- as far as I can see–I could be.

Now, raising it to maturity… that’s a whole new task. I’m so afraid that this seedling will die, I’m letting it germinate in the bag. Sometimes I pull just germinated seeds too early, and then they die before they could emerge out. I’ll wait for a few weeks before putting this seedling in a pot.

I gave up letting seeds germinate in the fridge years ago when I decided you too often ended up with a tangle of roots to sort out, or worse still, half the seedlings died when transplanted. Rose seeds were never intended to germinate in the fridge, they do it best in soil, IMO. Once a seed has had a decent cold dormancy period, its going to expect a warming trend to start the germination process. The fluctuating day/night temps help facilitate this. I found that when a seed lot was split into two groups, one left in the fridge indefinitely and the other sown in soil flats in early March, the sown seeds germinated within two weeks and the refrigerated seeds remained dormant for weeks longer. In some cases, the fridge seeds stayed dormant indefinitely.

I see no advantage to keeping chilled seed in the fridge indefinitely waiting for germination. You may just be preventing the very thing you want most. If they don’t germinate after about 4 weeks in soil, then chill the pot for a few weeks again and then bring them back out. (Personally, I have never needed to do the repeat chilling process; my seeds germinate reliably in a few weeks in an unheated greenhouse where temps fluctuate between 30F and 75F)



What do you recommend, Paul?

That I plant it as shallow as possible, or give it a bit more?

It’s just barely opened-- it doesn’t even have its root come outside…

things will warm up pretty soon right over here.

Will you tell me anything of Magseed? Since Linda Campbell is its sister seedling-- I assume that they could will pass certain characteristics.

What about the foilage?

I have not been honestly this excited about a germination for a very long time…

Re green hips.

This year I started to collect hips that would have aborted. I removed the seeds and found a lot more than I expected. Some were obviosly going to be infertile but many looked to be fully developed and well worth trying for germination. These hips were sometimes still green with normal nos. of seeds but the surprise was the number of small shrunken black hips that contained 1-6 fertile looking seeds. In total I have hundreds of seeds that would normally have been lost

The upshot of this trial was that I was getting lots of potential seeds. So now I collect all aborting hips and store in fridge untill the normal harvest time.

I think there will enough of these early seeds to plant separately to see what germination I can get.(I don’t know what that will mean as my germination % has been very low in normal seeds) but I will try.


“Will you tell me anything of Magseed?”

Not much like ‘Linda Campbell’ at all, really. “Magseed” is much more obviously Rugosa, and its color is more of a crimson red. It also has something ‘Linda Campbell’ doesn’t: some fragrance. It blooms less than ‘Linda’ and only in clusters of 3 to 5 flowers. It has much more angular growth, sparser foliage and is generally a less attractive shrub, but that’s not the point: its a breeder. It sets seed and has extremely fertile pollen. I am now working through a second generation from 'Magseed" and getting very nice results.

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I forgot about the seedling and it germinated completely in the fridge. Two days ago I planted in a pot-- It is still alive. I’ve never felt so excited for a seedling. I just hope it won’t die because of the heat… or some genetic anomaly.

That is exciting Enrique, I hope it grows into a beautiful rose bush for you. :slight_smile:

Speaking of Reine des Violettes, mine makes huge, egg-shaped hips every year… without a mature seed in any of them.

Congrats, Enrique, well done!


‘Reine des Violettes’ makes a perfectly willing pollen parent, you just have to hunt and hunt through many blooms to find a few anthers. Its pollen will produce seed when placed on just about any rose, hint hint.

Fara, stressout Reine.

I have one tiny RdV and it made hips, but only one had seed.

I’m praying this will be my lucky break.

I’ve had a few already with OP’s. My first was with the nearly sterile Pillow Fight.

Second with Linda Campbell.

And hopefully, this time-- with Reine des Violettes.

As for pollen…

And it does make pollen, but you need to allow the flowers to bloom completly in my 2 experiences. And you need to go through TONS of flowers.

Paul and Enrique,

I noticed my RdV has a fairly good amount of pollen. Haven’t used it, though, keep trying to send it to Jon Singer (the real one, not the rose). Will have to try something with it this year.

It’s dead right–

I’m so sad about that. But, I will try again this year to find OP hips once more and pick them green.

Paul Barden,— sown in soil flats in early March,–. Is this when refrigerated hips are shelled? If so I like it.


I gather seed in October through November, and then refrigerate them until late December. At that point I start removing them from the hips and cleaning them. They go back into clean ZipLoc bags with a damp paper towel where they remain until late Feb. or early March for sowing. I take my time cleaning the seeds because it takes many, many hours to do and I hate doing it for more than three hours at a time. Therefore, some batches don’t get cleaned until the same week they get sown! Varieties that have a history of germinating too early in the fridge get cleaned last, because the germination inhibitors in the hip flesh keeps them dormant until cleaned.



Paul, Thank you very much. This is way better for me because normally other plans are at hand for the cold months rather than looking after seedlings. Secondly anything over 1000 seedlings where subject to sacrificial experimentation and it so happened that some varieties did just fine straight out of the seed trays into a 11/2" hole in the ground thus skipping the pot up step. Regards, Neil