Rose gardens are beautiful, elegant, and timeless. But, while these bold and fragrant flowers know how to turn a head, growing them can cost a pretty penny upfront. But do you need to purchase mature bushes, or can you grow a rosebush from a seed? Do roses have seeds?
Yes, like all flowering plants, roses contain seeds. As the season comes to an end, you will find a swollen bulge under the spent bloom of a rose. This is called a rose hip and contains the seeds of a pollinated rose bush.
Roses reproduce sexually, meaning outside forces like pollinators or gardeners pollinate them. Once the flowers have been pollinated, the pollen travels down into the ovary of the rose. Then, the ovary begins to swell as seeds begin to form.
Rose seeds are contained in the rose hip. Rose hips are found at the base of each faded bloom that was pollinated during its lifetime. If you are interested in growing roses from seed, you can harvest the rose hips and remove the seeds to prepare to grow next season.
However, rose hips are harvested for more than just their seeds. Many delicious things can be made from rose hips, including rose hip jelly and tea.
Like almost all plants, roses can be grown from seeds. While the process is less widely practiced than growing a tomato or pepper plant from seed, raising a rose bush from seed can be done even by the most novice gardener.
Whether you harvest and save seeds from your own roses or purchase seed packs from a garden center, you can start growing the rose garden of your dreams for much cheaper than purchasing mature plants.
Growing rose bushes from seed can be a lengthy and time-consuming process. Not only do seedlings and young plants need a lot of extra care and attention, but they also take time to establish a proper root system. Even after the plant has established itself, it most likely won’t bloom in its first year.
Sadly, it can take a rose bush two entire seasons of growth before producing its first blooms when you grow it from seed. However, for hobby and professional gardeners alike, a few seasons of growth is worth the wait when the reward is stunning rose bushes that cost next to nothing and the pride of knowing they grew the plant themselves.
How Do You Get Seeds Out of Roses?
The seeds of a rose are contained in the rose hip. Rose hips are the bulge located under a spent bloom. These are actually the ovaries of the rose plant, and once the plant has been pollinated by bees, butterflies, or other pollinators, the ovary begins to swell and create seeds.
To harvest the seeds, you will need to remove the rose hip. It’s generally best to harvest the rose hip after the first soft freeze of the season before any hard freezes kill off the seeds.
Use a knife, carefully pierce the rose hip and remove the seeds. Be sure to properly label each batch of seeds, so you know which type of rose bush it came from. After they have been removed, rinse them well to wash away any rose hip jelly still on them. Once they are cleaned, they are ready to begin their cold stratification process.
Can You Plant Rose Seeds Directly in the Ground?
While it is usually recommended to start your rose seeds in a 4-inch garden pot inside your home or greenhouse, if you live in an area that provides the proper environment, you can plant your rose seeds directly into the ground.
Many gardeners will start their rose seeds inside their homes. Since they can control the temperature and ensure that it is always at an appropriate level, they can grow seeds all year round. Some gardeners will also include the use of heat lamps to help create the artificial sun and stimulate extra growth for their plants.
When starting their rose seeds, most people turn to the trusted 4-inch garden pot filled with fresh potting soil. After adding the seed and watering thoroughly, they place the garden pot in a sunny spot and wait for it to sprout. After the plant has grown its first two leaves, you can begin preparing it to move outside.
Before moving any indoor-grown plant to the outdoors, first, you must harden the plant. During this process, you begin taking the plant outdoors for a few hours at a time, gradually increasing the time over two weeks until it can remain outside. This helps the plant slowly adjust to different temperatures and air conditions before transplanting.
When it is time to transplant the rose bush, choose a spot that receives at least 6 hours of sun a day to ensure the best conditions for blooms. Water the plant frequently until it is well established. Don’t fertilize for at least two weeks to decrease the chance of transplant shock.
If you are lucky enough to harvest seeds from your own, a friend, or a neighbor’s rose bush, your rose seeds would be free! However, harvesting and saving seeds may not yield you the exact same bush as the one you plucked them from, thanks to cross-pollination,
If you are concerned about the potential mixing of rose bush pollen and hybrid seed outcomes, purchasing seeds at your local garden center or online may be a great option for you. Many people choose not to grow roses from seed unless they are rose breeders simply because the practice is impractical and can be timely.
Rose seeds themselves range in price depending on the type of rose it will mature to. Some rose varieties are hard to find and are costlier. Others will be more common and cheaper in price.
The price tag for each rose seed will also vary depending on where you source the seeds. Local garden centers will most likely carry a few varieties of rose seeds that are native to your area and can thrive in your USDA zone.
If you are hoping to get specialty seeds, you will have to find them on specific websites that can increase the cost per seed. However, even places like Amazon carry rose seeds if you are looking for a cheap and easy seed to dip your toe into growing roses from seed.
Some plants do not flower and thus don’t produce their own seeds. Instead, these plants reproduce in a different way. Since they have no flowers, they don’t rely on pollination or outside factors and can create new offspring without much thought.
Mosses and ferns are considered non-flowering plants and reproduce from spores. Another commonly thought-of plant that reproduces through spores is fungi like mushrooms.
How Long Does It Take To Grow a Rosebush From Seed?
Growing a rosebush from seed is a long process. It can take years before you see the results of your efforts, which can be disheartening to some gardeners. Due to the length of time and effort it takes to grow successful rose bushes from seed, many home gardeners opt to buy established rose bushes instead. However, the pride of knowing you grew the bush yourself or reproducing one of your favorite roses makes it worthwhile.
Before you can begin your process, you will need rose seeds. Some people will harvest them from their own roses or purchase packs of seeds from a local garden center. If you are harvesting seeds, you will need to wait until the seed pod is ready to be harvested and then properly remove the seeds from the pod. Clean the seeds thoroughly and prepare them for the planting process.
Rose seeds need to undergo a process called stratification, or cold germination. This process takes about 60 days. After you have harvested and cleaned your seeds, you need to prepare them for stratification.
Rinsing the seeds with hydrogen peroxide and cleaning the crisper drawer in your refrigerator with bleach and water help prevent mold from growing and spoiling your seeds. Once sanitized and ready to go, place your rose seeds in a moist paper towel and store them in the drawer for about 60 days. Keep the towel moist throughout the process by adding water along the way.
Keep the seeds inside the fridge until at least 60 days have passed. You can leave them for longer if conditions aren’t ideal for planting but be aware not to keep them too long in the cold.
Bring the seeds out and into an area that is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit, keeping them in a moist paper towel so they can begin to sprout. Once they have sprouted, you can start them in seed-starting trays and sow them like any other flower.
Once the rose seed is planted, it will take about two seasons to show blooms.