Seed size - germination %

Hi everyone

I have just picked a hip from a Santana x Peace cross.

Only 8 fertilized seeds, but 4 were big like bombs, while the others were minor.

Have anyone of you here tested the germination rate of big and small seeds in your crosses?

Will the big ones germinate with a higher rate than the minor ones?

By the way, the big ones were all sinkers as well.




I collected 2 hips from a cross on 'City of Golburn’that had 11 large seeds and some smaller ones. I sprouted 15 seedlings from them.

I would not rule out any seeds on the basis of size.


Bo, I have not done any quantitative studies myself on the germination rates of small versus large per se. However, from what I have seen, the very large seeds will typically take a longer time to germinate, due to the larger seed coat needing a longer time to “break down” (for lack of a better term). As for smaller seeds. I’ve found those that tend to be smaller and uniform throughout the entire hip (i.e. all seeds are roughly the same small size), they tend to germinate faster as a group than the seeds from hips that have a mixture of large and small seeds. In the group that have a mixture of large and small seeds…the small seeds always germinate faster for me.

But, as I said before, I have not reviewed actually germination percentages of small versus large.

I forgot to mention, with regard to the smaller seeds. It might depend on exactly how small is “small”. In many rose varieties, the hips have what I consider sub-seeds in them. These are tiny little seeds that didn’t quite fully develope and are fairly soft and flimsy. None of these would really be viable, I don’t think. However, if the seed is developed enough to actually have a rather hard seed coat, keep it…even if it is very small. I have seen very fast germination from those tiny seeds with hard seed coats. Not always, but enough to make it worthwhile in keeping them. In fact, typically, the only seeds I don’t keep are those sub-seeds.

Thanks for your reply Rod and Michelle.

I will try to test the frequent of large vs. small seed germination, just to see if there are any tendency.

It surely sound rightly that bigger seeds will need more time to germinate as you mentioned Michelle, but somehow the bigger ones, although more different in shape, also looks like they are 100 % fertilized.

The small very tiny ones, as you mentioned, I do not keep, as the surely look like they are not viable at all.

From last years germination I can remember that the medium round ones from one hip were the most willing seeds to germinate, but on the other hand, I could only compare them with other seed from other species. So in fact I cannot conclude anything from that.

But it’s surely another interesting aspect in rose hybridizing to follow…



I have to agree with Michelle. I’ve had the same experience with very large seeds seeming to be very slow to germinate.