Rose hips are the small round seed pods that develop on a rose bush after the flowers have faded. Often gardeners never see rose hips because the continuous pruning required to ensure a longer bloom cycle prevents them from forming. If you leave the last roses of the season in place you will be rewarded with rose hips, which can then by harvested and planted. The roses that result when started from seed will not be the same as the plant the seed was collected from, but it is still a fun and exciting challenge to undertake.
Collect the rose hips after they have matured. They will change from green to orange or red and begin to have a slightly wrinkled appearance when they are ready to harvest.
Shell the rose hips by splitting them open with a sharp knife. Fill a glass with water and 1 tsp. of bleach. Drop the rose seeds into the mixture and examine them. The seeds that land at the bottom of the glass have a much greater chance of germinating than those that rise to the top. Discard those that are floating and remove the remaining seeds from the glass.
Fill a planting tray three-fourths of the way with seed starting mix. Place the rose seeds into the tray and cover to a depth of 1/4 inch. Add just enough water to slightly moisten the mix and place the tray inside the refrigerator for 45 to 60 days.
Remove the tray from the refrigerator and place it in a well-lit location that maintains a temperature of about 70 degrees F.
Add water whenever the top of the seed starting mix feels dry, but be careful not to overwater. It takes about three to four weeks for the seedlings to emerge.
Fill 4-inch growing containers three-fourths of the way with potting soil. Transplant the rose seedlings after they have developed two true leaves. Use a spoon to scoop them up to avoid touching the roots. Replant the seedlings in the growing containers at the same depth that they were previously growing and water just enough to moisten the soil.
Water the seedlings lightly whenever the soil feels dry. Fertilize once each week with 1/2 tsp. of Miracle Gro mixed with 1 quart of water.
Transplant into the yard or garden when the roses are 6 to 8 inches tall.