So many!!!

Hi All!

I’m a newbie and have always wanted to try my hand at hybridizing. This summer, I have planted over 20 rose bushes and plan to plant 30 more. I have this huge southern exposure hill to plant into. So, tell me, you seem to have so many hips going, do you let the whole bush go to hips or half the bush…I do love the flowers on the bushes also. Can I have my flowers and enough hips to make trying to hybridize even feasible?



making seeds is the hardest thing a rose bush has to do. Sometimes you have to make the choice of whether to insure the bush will survive the following winter or make a mature hip. For some varieties, making hips(and mature seeds) will essentially eliminate the possibility of future flowers in that season as well as diminish the possibilty that the plant will survive the dormant season.

Plants to be used as seed mares should be well established plants that are at least three years in the ground. Removing the flowers in non hybridizing years will help to insure that you will have a robust plant in the years when you plan to make your crosses.

in particular, many rugosa hybrids are very capable of setting many hips and still setting a crop of flowers throughout the season.


If you want flowers, leave some bushes completely alone. I have several bushes in my yard that are off limits to hybridizing, otherwise I would never see flowers for the first few months of summer. I do get flowers on my parent plants once I stop hybridizing, but not as many as those that I deadhead and fertilize (you don’t want to fertilize your seed parents except once, early in the spring)

Here is how I started hybridizing. The first year, I let everything go to open pollinated seed. Observe the plants for health, vigor and floriferousness. Healthy parents may produce healthy seedlings. Then in the fall I took the 5 best hips from each variety. From those 5 hips I could tell what varieties produced the most seeds. It could range from 0 to 120+. I planted all seeds of one variety in a single 6 inch pot. If you have 20 roses you will have 20 pots. I stratified them naturally over the winter in an unheated shed. In the spring I brought them into the heat and light and waited for germination. Some sprung up like Chea Pets. Some didn’t germinate at all. This will give you the best indication which rose will give you the most hybrid seedlings. Some roses that produce fewer seedlings can still be good pollen parents. Those that produced none may be sterile. By now, you will have a general idea of what roses will be your seed parents. Then do your research. Find out which of those fertile roses are the parents of other good hybrids. Helpmefindroses is a great source for that kind of into.

And remember, the more you learn, the less likely you are to waste your time and energy making fruitless crosses.

Mark Disero, Brantford Ontario, Canada