Colorful rose bushes are the ultimate addition to flower beds and landscaping. The real challenge is that getting well-established rose plants with prolific blooms can take many years.
Oftentimes gardeners turn to nursery rose bushes that are ready for transplanting. This option is much faster, but it gets expensive when you want a lot of roses!
Although growing roses from seeds can be a lengthy and time-consuming process, it’s relatively easy once you understand the basics. Read on to learn how to grow roses from seed the simple way!
How to Grow Roses from Seed
Do you want to propagate your favorite rose variety? The good news is you can collect seeds from mature roses. Still, there are a few things you must be mindful of when growing roses from seed.
Depending on the cultivars from which you are collecting seeds, you may not get true-to-parent flowers. Additionally, homegrown rose seeds have a much lower germination rate than commercial seeds.
Many rose growers opt to grow store-bought rose seeds to save time. If you don’t mind the challenge, you might enjoy harvesting and propagating your own rose seeds at home.
Starting Store-Bought Rose Seeds
When selecting the perfect flower, there are many varieties of roses to choose from. If you are new to gardening, you might consider buying rose seeds from a commercial retailer.
Not only do you know exactly what kind of blooms you will get, but store-bought seeds have also already undergone the complex stratification process. They are also likely to have higher germination rates.
If you are starting with store-bought rose seeds, you can skip ahead to step four. After germinating and sprouting your rose seedlings, plant them in well-draining potting soil in containers.
How to Grow Roses from Harvested Seeds
Propagating roses is a multi-year process that requires some tools and knowledge. This guide will explore how to grow roses from seeds you have already harvested.
If you are just getting started on your rose garden, check out our guide to Rose Bush Care. Once you have mature rose plants, you can then collect rose hips filled with seeds.
Snip rose hips from your favorite plants with a clean pair of garden shears, then follow these simple steps to grow roses from seeds.
To get started, you’ll need the following:
- Clean gardening knife
- 3% diluted hydrogen peroxide
- Paper towels
- Multi-cell seedling tray
- Spray bottle
Step 1: Remove and Rinse the Seeds
Use a sterile gardening knife to cut each rose hip in half. Gently scrape out the pulp containing the seeds from the rose hips.
You want to clean the seeds thoroughly to improve the chances of successful germination. Place the seeds in a strainer and agitate them with your fingers under running water to remove the pulp.
Step 2: Treat Rose Seeds
Rose seeds need a much longer germination period than many flowers. If you aren’t careful, this extended moist storage can lead to the growth of molds that can threaten young rose seedlings.
To prevent fungus spores from growing, you can destroy them with hydrogen peroxide. Add one-half tablespoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide to one cup of water and soak the seeds in this solution for an hour.
Step 3: Cold Germinate Seeds (Stratification)
The natural rose germination process takes a few years. First, the rose hip needs to break down and decompose. After the seeds are fully exposed, they must undergo a period of stratification.
Rose seed germination relies on a climate that experiences cold, moist winter months. You can simulate this winter environment using your home refrigerator.
Place the rose seeds evenly spaced on a damp paper towel. Be sure to avoid overcrowding. Cover them with another layer of moist paper towels and seal the seeds in a plastic bag.
Place the bag of seeds in a clean, empty crisper drawer. It would be wise to first sanitize the drawer with bleach and hot water to prevent mold contamination.
Ensure the seeds remain moist throughout the entire stratification process. Add more clean water whenever they start to feel dry.
Leave the seeds in the refrigerator for at least two months or until you are ready to sprout them.
Step 4: Warm Germinate Rose Seeds
Once the stratification process is complete, you can germinate rose seeds as you would other flowers. It is crucial to bring the seeds out of refrigeration into conditions warmer than 70 degrees.
Ensure the seeds remain damp and leave them in a warm environment until they sprout. This can take up to a month, and it is likely that not all seeds will germinate.
Step 5: Plant Rose Sprouts
Add moistened seed-starter soil mix to seedling trays. Make a slight indentation for the rose seeds in each cell.
The tiny tendrils that emerge are roots and must be handled very carefully. Gently remove the rose sprouts from the paper towel and place them root down in the seed trays.
Cover the seeds with moist soil and leave the seed trays on a sunny windowsill. Use a clean spray bottle to mist the rose seedlings when they start to feel dry.
For the best results, consider using Hoss Tools Deluxe Seed Starting Kit. This kit includes a 24-cell seed starting tray with a dome lid, seed-starter soil mix, fertilizer, and more.
Step 6: Transplant Rose Seedlings
As the rose seedlings grow, pay close attention to the seed leaves so you know when to transplant. Wait until the true leaves develop, which take on the typical rose leaf appearance.
Gently loosen the dirt from the tray cells and slide the seedlings free. Move them to individual containers and let them continue to grow for about a year before you transplant them outdoors.
Caring for Young Rose Plants
Give your rose seedlings the support they need to grow strong stems and lush foliage. Add half-strength fertilizer to each planting location.
Not all fertilizers are equal. Use a high-quality blend like FoxFarm Happy Frog Jump Start Dry Fertilizer for guaranteed results.
How long does it take to grow a rose from seed?
Growing roses from seeds is a lengthy process. Without proper stratification, it can take multiple years for seedlings to emerge.
Even the fastest-growing roses will likely take two full growing seasons to produce beautiful blooms.
Do roses grow true to seed?
Heirloom rose varieties grow true to the parent plants, while hybrid varieties are less predictable.
The task of growing roses from seeds is very involved. For this reason, most gardeners prefer to grow roses from cuttings.
If you want to experiment with cross-breeding unique roses, then you need to grow them from seed.
To get predictable results, you must control pollination. This will ensure that your homegrown roses will grow true to color.
The Easiest Way to Grow Roses from Seeds
Now that you’ve read this article, you probably understand why so many gardeners choose to grow roses from cuttings. Still, the time is well worth it once you have gorgeous homegrown rose bushes blooming each summer.
Excited for more rose content? Then keep reading all about these beautiful flowers, how to take care of them, and more on our roses page!
Getting started on your seed growing journey? Use my seed starting guide to find care guides, helpful tips, product suggestions, and more!