Are you growing rose bushes for their beautiful flowers? Sure you are! But, chances are you not growing rose hips. And, perhaps you should. They have significant medicinal and nutritional value. And they are the source of genetic rose seeds, too. This seed pod forms slowly, at the point of the spent flower bloom. Often, growers will never see the rose hips, as they quickly prune off spent blooms to promote more roses.
Some home gardeners do not know that rose hips even exist. When fully mature, these round pods contain seeds needed to grow new plants. The seeds are what botanists use, as they attempt to develop a new variety of rose or a hybrid.
The rooting of cuttings is by far the most popular way of propagating roses. root cuttings create a bush that is genetically identical to the mother plant. However, to create a new variety cross two varieties of roses. Then, use the seeds from the seed pods. The seeds need to go through a cold or chill period called seed stratification. Plant the seeds like any other seed variety. Then, the long wait begins for the new rose bush to sprout and grow. The seeds germinate in about 2 weeks.
Rose hips have several names, including pig noses, hedge-pedgies, rose haw, and pixie pears. They are also called the fruit of roses.
Did you know? Rose Hips are highly nutritious, containing more vitamin “C” than citrus fruit. It was used in Britain during WWII, to help prevent scurvy.
A lot of home gardeners do not know the hips even exist. They cut fresh roses for vases and bouquets. Immediately after blooming on the plant, spent blooms are usually deadheaded to encourage the plant to produce new blooms. As a result, home gardeners often do not get the chance to see the hip develop. However, if the spent blooms are left on the vine, a seedpod will begin to form.
It’s easy to grow rose hips. Just do not deadhead spent blooms. Let the spent bloom die off. Underneath it is the hip. It will develop and mature over several weeks.
Over the years, they have been used to:
Fight infection, most notably bladder and urinary infections
Treating dizziness and headaches
Strengthen the heart
The hips are edible, too. They are a good source of nutrients, most notably vitamin “C”. It is commonly steeped in teas. It is also made into jams, jellies, syrups, and sauces.
Harvest Hips after the first frost, when they turn a bright red color.
Important Note: Do not harvest rose hips for consumption where pesticides have been used. It defeats the purpose of healthy foods and nutrients.
Now that you have harvested rose hips, make some Rose Hip Jam.