Can anyone answer these questions:

  1. I rarely experience stigmas ever getting “sticky” and “glistening”–when I do, it seems SO late–usually 5-7 days after the stamens would be starting to shed pollen. How do you judge when it’s the right time to pollinate?

  2. To make my pollen go further, I crush the dried stamens and then apply the pollen/stamen mixture to the stigmas. Most people only use the pure pollen. Am I making a mistake?

  3. After the pollinating season is over, I’ve heard that you should stop feeding the plant and at some point reduce water. Any thoughts about that?

  4. Do you believe in harvesting hips when just starting to turn orange or red, or when fully orange or red?

  1. Pollinate as soon as you can access the pistils and before the anthers of the pistillate parent dehiscise their pollen to prevent self-pollination.

  2. The anthers are dried, not crushed to dehicise the pollen.

  3. Keep the plant in an optimum growing condition by continuing to provide the nutrients and water it needs.

  4. Hips should be harvested when fully orange, red or yellow. There is some evidence that if the hips are harvested when not fully ripe the seeds are easier to stratify.

Hi Marty:

  1. I agree with Paul. Apply the pollen when the mother blooms have been prepared. It’s also easier to do it then, but if you are short on time, pollinating the next day also works well.

  2. The only time I crush dried stamens is with varieties that shed very little pollen. In those cases, my “take” on hips is definitely reduced.

  3. I do tend to decrease the amount of feeding after seed parents begin to bloom. I do like to give them some dilute soluble fertilizer though as needed. Some varieties that are reluctant to set hips will do better when stressed. I don’t like using those varieties!

  4. I prefer harvesting hips when they are anywhere between just showing color, to fully colored. For me, I like to harvest all hips from a given rose at the same time. It’s easier. So, I time it when the least mature hips are just showing some color. I believe that some roses germinate better when fully ripe while others do better when just starting to turn color. Of course, they will do something different next year…!


I’m newer at this than some of these other guys, so you may want to defer to their experience.

  1. I pollinate right after I’ve emasculated the bloom. This year, based on some information exchanged at another forum, I tried to get back and pollinate again a day or two later.

  2. If the variety releases a lot of pollen once the stamens have dried, I wouldn’t crush, but I too crush since many varieties don’t seem to easily release their pollen.

  3. I mainly depend on rainfall and mulch anyway. I also go light on the fertilizer, so I can’t truly answer this question.

  4. Again on another forum, a hybridizer (one year) studied his harvest time and hip color versus germination %. He was based in Chicago, and found that hips harvested before 89 days did not germinate (or germinate well?). 92-110 days seemed the ideal (some roses germinating better at 92 and others at 110 and ranging in between). He saw a drop off in germination for hips over 110 days old. He also harvests where the hips are orange on one side or light orange overall. (His theory is that more mature hips will cause the seeds to have greater levels of inhibitors).

Hope this helps!!!

Chris Mauchline

SE PA, zone 6