Growing New Roses From Seed::Rose Hybridization::Name a Rose

Hybrid rose "Wildfire"
Hybrid rose "Wildfire" | Source

Would you like to be able to have a rose named after you? The best way to ensure you can do that is to cross-fertilize some roses and grow your own. This is called rose hybridization. Growing new roses from seed is a fascinating hobby and you can never tell what color of rose you might get.

Nature throws up surprises every now and then when the wind blows the pollen from one rose on to another, and the resulting seeds are allowed to grow where they fall. All serious rose growers will cross-pollinate hand-picked roses and grow on the seedlings until they flower too.

This is a long and laborious process, but not especially difficult as some people say it is. It is time consuming, but can be looked on as a hobby; something you do in your spare time.

Ideally you would have your roses in a greenhouse where you grow them under controlled conditions, but it can be done in the garden too.

Rose Hybridization Technique

  • Take some pollen from the male stamen of a chosen parent rose variety and dust on to the stigma of another variety of rose.
  • Take a note or which roses you are trying to cross and mark it in a notebook; this could be important later.
  • If you are doing this outside, you might want to cover the pollinated rose flower to prevent cross-contamination from rose flower pollen in your garden. Both the wind and insects can do this.
  • The easier way to do this is to choose closed buds and removed the petals. Cut off the immature stamens that carry the pollen and place in a sealed container, and cover the rose you are going to pollinate, perhaps with a paper bag that you seal at the base.
  • Keep an eye on your stamens, within a few days they should burst open and release their pollen into the container they are in.
  • Now is the time to take a child’s paintbrush or a cotton bud, brush it with pollen and transfer it onto the sticky stigma on your chosen flower.
  • Some people recommend repeating this process every few hours, but in my experience the first time does it.
  • Reseal the bag round the rose so that no other pollen can penetrate.
  • When the rose hip forms, remember to not cut it off like you might do with other other rose bushes. You want those seeds to mature so leave it on the plant for at least 4 months.

When it begins to turn yellow or orange, cut it off and place it in a dry, airy place to dry completely.

Hybrid tea rose "Peace"
Hybrid tea rose "Peace"
rose hips with the seeds inside
rose hips with the seeds inside
rose seedlings
rose seedlings
  • Separate the seeds from the rosehip, wash well and soak overnight in a cup of water containing two teaspoonful of bleach, and place in a sealed container in the bottom of the fridge for a month or two to simulate winter.
  • The bleach is to help prevent rot.
  • Then plant the seeds in compost filled seed trays and place in a garden cold frame.
  • In cooler climates you can place the seeds directly into a pot in a cold frame as winter descends, knowing that nature will stratify those seeds.
  • When the seedlings come up in the spring, wait until they have developed at the least their first set of true leaves before thinking about transplanting them into individual pots.
  • From seed, it will take a rose plant approximately 3 - 4 years to flower.

It is a long, slow process but an exciting one too. The new rose plants may have flowers identical to one parent or the other, but if you are very lucky one of those little plants may have a brand new color.

It may be scented where a parent wasn’t (rose genetics go way back and once upon a time all roses were scented); it may have inbuilt disease resistance; it may be a strong grower; there are so many variables.

You can name your new flower. You grew it; it’s your choice.

You will not breed more roses from this plant from seed. Instead, you take cuttings so that the plant can be replicated in its entirety.

Professional growers would graft your new rose on to dedicated rootstock that they know will grow a healthy plant.

If you are very lucky, your new rose will be so beautiful that everyone will want one to grow in their gardens. Strike a deal with a rose growing nursery to have your plant replicated in its thousands, for sale.

How to Grow Roses from Seed (with detailed instructions)

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Comments 10 comments

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

Voted up, useful and awesome. Is this hub based on personal experience or research content? Either way-well written and presented. It sounds tedius and takes the patience of a saint, but well worth the results. Thanks for sharing.

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

Thanks Denise :)

It's a bit of both. I have grown roses from seed but am not too good at book-keeping so by the time they have flowered I have totally forgotten what I grew them from! Years and years ago I wanted to start growing roses professionally, but life got in the way. Knowing how to do something, and actually doing it, can often be two different things!

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

Well said. I suppose we all have stories of 'what could have been' but, it is more important, I believe, to stay in the moment and not get in the way of the flow. Now, you have a hobby, or advocation.

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

Beautiful and so useful.

Thank you for sharing and take care


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

I might get back to growing roses. It's exciting to think there are still new varieties not yet discovered and an Izzy rose sounds cool, don't you think?

Becky Puetz profile image

Becky Puetz 5 years ago from Oklahoma

This was so interesting. I think I would like to experiment a little using your hub as a guide. I'm bookmarking your hub for future reference. Thanks for sharing. Voted up and awesome.

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK Author

You're welcome Becky :)

techygran profile image

techygran 4 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

Izzy, this was an extremely useful/helpful article,so clearly written that even a black-thumb (or at least, a non-green-thumb)such as I could probably replicate the process and grow a hybrid rose. In the meantime, I have a bunch of leggy rose bushes I can guiltily view from this very window... voted you Up, Useful, Beautiful...

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 4 years ago from UK Author

Thanks techygran :) Sounds like your roses need pruned, that's all. It's not too late to take the shears to them, and they'll have lots of fresh growth this summer :)

techygran profile image

techygran 4 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

you are right course... just seem to be at the bottom of my to-do list right now, but if the sun comes out... thanks for the encouragement!

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