When Should I Collect This Hip?

I currently have a beautiful hip on my assumed Queen Elizabeth, an incredibly tough stick of a rose that we have neglected, and yet it stays remarkably tough ( hardly looses any of it’s nine or so leaves, and I live in MARYLAND) and manages to give one bloom every summer. Last year there were no hips but this year I tried ( probably to late) with some pollen collected with Crepuscule and Mutabilis; but chances are I think she she self pollinated, anyway, I was wondering when it would be good to harvest it. We JUST got into the 30’s and 20’s today as I type this, and the hip is generally a yellowy-green blushed with orange. It’s not soft like the rugosa hips I’m used to seeing at beaches I’ve been to ( not in Maryland) so I’m not sure if it’s ripe yet…it bloomed sometime in mid-September and the hip formed thereafter, should I pick it now?


That’s a tough situation.

IMO, modern roses need 4 months from pollination to hip maturity; your hip is long way from this.

Fertility probably? won’t be damaged until temps go below 25 deg F, so hold off harvesting as long as possible.

With my late ripening hips, I had covered them with Reemay, thus providing a bit of frost protection and also raising temps during the day. Then when severe frosts had set in I then snipped them off directly under the hip and set among moistened tissue paper and enclosed within a plastic bag. All such hips had then nicely ripened up.


Thank you, both of you, I’ll keep Reemay in mind and will just leave it on for now, see how it turns out. I sure would have hated to take it off too early. The hip looks like it’s in great shape so I’m hoping something good will come out of it.

They also tend to ripen well in a little glass of water on the window sill, taking along a chunk of stem and a leaf or two if you can. If it’s blushed with orange, then the ripening process is already well underway, and you should have plenty of luck finishing it off inside (some breeders would just take it now, anyway). My instinct tells me that during a prolonged chill, little maturing is going on. When did you pollinate it? I think that here in the Mid-Atlantic, we can go relatively late due to a fairly long growing season and plenty of summer heat to get things cooking. I have wondered sometimes whether the excessive heat has an inhibitory effect on rose hip ripening, though.

I " pollinated" it probably mid-late September, it could have pollinated itself. It still has a patch of green on one side so I’m unsure, but I guess I could pick it by the end of the month.

It sounds pretty ripe for a hip pollinated so late! I hope the seeds germinate well for you. Maybe we’ll warm up again shortly, but some of these predicted night temperatures are getting dangerously close to the potential to damage seeds.

IMO, modern roses need 4 months from pollination to hip maturity;

I keep reading on the net that rose hips take 90 days to ripen, but I know from experience that at 90 days mine are green as a bean! (ok, maybe with a riper spot or two). This has been bugging me in the back of my head for a while now. Is 4 actually more normal? Is or it just by zone/location? This time of year it’s quite foggy/rainy where I am, so I’ve figured lack of sun/cold was maybe making mine take longer. I’ve never heard of ripening them in windows. How much orange/yellow is needed before you can take them inside to ripen, and once there how long do they take to finish off?

It all depends on climate and the individual rose - some take unbelievably short times to ripen outside, others incredibly long times, or they may be ripe even without coloring much. Some will germinate better when just starting to color or while still green; others may need to go most or all of the way to the brightly colored stage. Usually breeders will wait a certain number of days/months to collect those which otherwise don’t show color; those that do are often picked by eye when they reach a “perfect” amount according to that breeder’s experience. Honestly, a ripe hip can be defined as one that gives a high percentage of germinable seed; it isn’t necessarily one that is colored up, but it depends on the cultivar. Yours might germinate after 90 days, but the only way to know that is to harvest, stratify (or not, depending on your style/judgment) and try them out.

I think that the cool temperatures could easily delay ripening, depending on just how cool it is. If things are at a standstill, you’ve little to lose by bringing a hip in and seeing if it can’t color more in water within a month or so. There’s no way to predict how long until it “finishes” because it all depends on the rose variety, how ripe it is to begin with, and how fast it changes once it hits warmth - and what’s finished, anyway? I wouldn’t count on this method to make a completely green hip turn all orange or red, but some roses might. This is one of those areas where experience has to be personal. Get to know each rose and its whims, and if you find it a reluctant parent, get ones that ripen and germinate better in your microclimates. And/or pollinate earlier, if that’s part of the problem.

Hmmm, thanks. It is mostly the HT’s that are the slow ripening ones. I may try taking one in off each to test. I’m not anywhere near experienced enough to know exactly when each germinates best. I’m still experimenting with stratification- both with times and with using enzymes. Part of the difficulties is that I am in california, which is queen of microclimates and I seem to be in a microclimate…within a kind of larger microclimate. NOTHING in my garden ever seems to match up to the times that books or anything else says should be happening for where I live. Flowers, vegetables, bulbs etc just have thier own times they want to do things. Drive 15 minutes in either direction and the climate is totally different. So it’s taken me a long time to figure out when to best plant things like vegetables, but I don’t think I’ve quite figured out my roses.