Q: I just picked the rose hips off of my climbing ‘Fourth of July’ rose. Are the hips actually the seeds of the plant? If so what do I do with them? When and how should they be planted?
A: The swollen fruits of a rose, occurring just below the flowers, are called “rose hips”. A hip contains several rose seeds, which you can collect by cutting the hip in half when it has turned bright red, orange or yellow.
It’s possible to plant the seed in your garden immediately after collection. If we have enough warm weather some may sprout before winter arrives. Another technique is to put the seed in a moistened paper towel and then place the damp package in a sealed plastic bag in your refrigerator for at least eight weeks before planting in spring.
Remember though that the seed you collect may not yield plants as spectacular as your ‘Fourth of July’ rose. Pollen from a wild rose might have pollinated your rose flower, causing the offspring to be more of a fizzle than a bang.