In response to my “Gather Rose Hips Where Ye May” Yardsmart column http://www.moplants.com/yardsmart/yardsmart_rose_hips.php
Reader question #1 Your article about rose hips was quite interesting to me , since I’m a avid gardener….but I was wondering about being able to plant rose seeds and how would you do that.
Roses are easy to grow from seed. It’s important to allow the rose hip to fully ripen before harvest so seed is mature. Allow the hip to dry out thoroughly before you extract the seed. Soak dry seed in warm water for an hour. Then plant in a sterile soil mix. Do not use potting soil or native soil. Try Natural Beginnings Seed-Starting Mix by Gardens Alive! (See Cool Links) or a similar seed starting medium. This product is free of microorganisms that attack germinating seed, and it ensures proper texture/drainage. Plant the seed in late winter. When they are an inch tall transplant into small pots with regular potting soil with higher nutritional content. By the time summer rolls around you can move the potted seedlings outdoors.
Tip: Plant seed at a depth that’s twice it’s thickness. When you don’t know how deep to plant a seed, old timers use this rule of thumb. For example, a seed 1/8″ thick would be planted 1/4″ deep. While it doesn’t work for every kind of plant, you’ll find this applies 99% of the time.
Reader question #2 However the instructions are to wait until the first frost to harvest them. In coastal southern California we do not have a frost and I would like to know when to harvest my rose hips, or if it will even work in a climate where we don’t get frost?
Rose hips will mature whether there is a frost or not. The idea of waiting until after the first frost to cook with rose hips may be nothing but an old wives’ tale. Roses in the tropics barely go dormant in the winter, but their fruit will ripen as the seed does no matter what the temperature. Use color and softness to determine the best time to harvest.