How to Cross-Breed Roses

Written by michael davidson
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How to Cross-Breed Roses
There are many rose varieties, and you can breed most -- with patience. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Roses are an icon of romantic holidays such as Valentine's Day, and they are popular for setting the mood for romantic dinners and anniversaries. There are many different types of roses, and they can be crossbred to create hybrid varieties with special characteristics, such as deeper scent or a darker black colour. Cross-breeding roses is not an overly difficult process, but it needs to be done carefully to produce viable, healthy seed -- and eventually a unique new rose.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Scissors
  • Storage container
  • Plastic bag
  • Refrigerator
  • Water
  • Bleach
  • Peroxide
  • Strainer
  • Blender
  • Plastic dough-blending attachment

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  1. 1

    Select two parent roses with characteristics you like. If the roses are too similar to each other, their offspring will follow that trend and look just like the parents. Roses of differing colours or attributes can give you more diverse and interesting crossbred results.

  2. 2

    Cut off a bloom from the parent whose pollen you are using, leaving about 2 inches of stem at the bottom of the bloom. Select a bloom that is almost fully open but not quite completed.

  3. 3

    Pull off the petals and the green flaps underneath them to expose the pollen sacs and the stamens of your pollinator. Place it upside down in a storage container, and give it up to 24 hours to dry out and drop pollen dust.

  4. 4

    Locate a bloom on your seed-parent rose and carefully remove each of its petals while leaving the green flaps underneath them intact. The bloom should be of similar maturity to the one you removed from the pollen-parent.

  5. 5

    Cut the stamens out of the seed-parent with small scissors and remove all the pollen sacs from the bloom. Wait up to 24 hours for the bloom to form a clear, sticky fluid. This indicates the bloom is ripe for pollination.

  6. 6

    Pull the bloom of the pollen-parent out of its container and dust it against the seed-parent to attach pollen to the stigmas of the seed bloom. Do this twice a day for two days to ensure proper pollination.

  7. 7

    Collect the seeds from the hips of the seed plant once the hips are orange or red in colour. This is usually about four months after propagation. You can pull the hips out entirely and store them in a dry plastic bag to keep the crossbred seeds protected until you are ready to plant them. Keep the seeds in a refrigerator until you are ready to use them.

  8. 8

    Cut the seeds from the hips and soak them in a solution of water and 5-percent bleach to clean them and help prevent mould. Rinse them thoroughly in a strainer to remove any debris. Soak the seeds in peroxide for 24 hours once all the bleach has been washed away.

  9. 9

    Drop the seeds in a blender with a plastic dough-blending attachment, cover them in water and turn the blender on for a few minutes to remove any remaining pulp that could turn mouldy on the seeds. Do not use a blender with metal blades.

  10. 10

    Plant the seeds in late November or December if you live in an area that does not get much frost, or in early spring if you live where there are harsher winters.

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