How To Grow Roses From Seeds
Growing roses from seeds is not the fastest way to cultivate roses, but is very rewarding.
Depending on the rose variety and individual seeds, the seeds may take anywhere from four to sixteen weeks to germinate, but probably only 20 to 30 percent of the rose seeds planted will actually sprout.
HOW TO GROW ROSES FROM SEEDS
Before growing roses from seed, the rose seeds need to go through a period of cold moist storage called “stratification”, before they will sprout.
✅ PLACE THE SEEDS IN A DAMP MATERIAL
Rose seeds typically won't sprout unless they are kept in cold, wet conditions, mimicking a winter environment. Place the seeds between two layers of lightly dampened paper towels, or in a container of dampened salt-free river sand, peat moss, or vermiculite.
✅ LEAVE THE SEEDS IN THE FRIDGE FOR SEVERAL WEEKS (3 MONTHS)
Put the seeds and moist material in a plastic bag or seedling tray in a plastic bag or seedling trays, and keep them in a cold area of a refrigerator, such as an otherwise empty crisper drawer.
Do not keep them in same area of the refrigerator as fruit or vegetables, which can release chemicals that prevent the seeds from developing.
Keep the seed medium slightly damp. Add a few drops of water to each paper towel whenever they begin to dry out.
✅ REMOVE THE SEEDS FROM THE FRIDGE
Try to do this around the time that the seeds would normally start to germinate, such as in early spring. Make sure that the environment outside of the fridge is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The seed will not sprout until you take them out of the fridge. Depending on the rose variety and individual seeds, the seeds could take anywhere from four to sixteen weeks to germinate. Often, 70% or more of the seeds never sprout at all.
✅ FILL A CONTAINER WITH STERILE SEED STARTING MIX
Small seedling starting trays make it easy to care for many seeds at once. Alternatively, use plastic drinking cups with a hole punched in the bottom, to make root growth easier to view.
Regular soil is not recommended, as it may not drain well enough and cause the seedlings to rot.
✅ PLANT THE SEEDS
Some store-bought seeds can be planted immediately. If you germinated your own seeds as described above, plant them as soon as they begin to sprout. Plant with the sprout pointed downward, as this is the root. Lightly cover them with soil, about 1/4 inch (6 mm) deep. Space seeds at least 2 inches (5 cm) apart to minimize competition.
Sprouted seeds should emerge as seedlings within a week.
Store-bought seeds that do not require home stratification may take several weeks (4-16 weeks). Seeds that have not been stratified, using the germination process above, may take two or three years to emerge.
It is also recommended that you soak the seeds for 8 to 12 hours and no more than 24 hours. After soaking your seeds, they can be planted as directed (treated seeds).
✅ KEEP THE SEEDS IN WARM MOIST SOIL
Keep the soil damp, but not soggy. A temperature between 60 and 70ºF (16–21ºC) is ideal for most rose varieties. The seedlings typically thrive on six hours of sun or more each day, but you may wish to research the parent rose's variety to get a better idea of what your rose's prefer.
✅ WHEN IS SAFE TO TRANSPLANT SEEDLINGS
The first two leaves visible are usually "cotyledons," or seed leaves. Once the seedling grows several "true leaves," with a more typical rose leaf appearance, it is more likely to survive transplanting. It is also easier on plants if they are transplanted to a larger pot for a year or two, and then transplanted outside.
It may be a good idea to transplant the seedlings soon if you notice the plant is root-bound, with its roots encircling the container.
Do not transplant it outside until after the last frost.
✅ IF YOU LIVE IN A FOUR SEASON CLIMATE
The best time to start the germination process is during the winter months. If you want to transplant out in the spring, start the stratification process at least 120 days before your last frost date in the spring.
✅ Care For Roses: Once the transplanted seedling is looking healthy again, you can start watering it as normal. Fertilizing a few times during the warm growing season may help your plant grow and bloom if you follow the fertilizer instructions, but keep in mind that some varieties of rose will not bloom at all during their first year of life.