Rose Cuttings – November, 2008

Colorful rose hips complete this blending of garden elements. Photo courtesy of the author.

Four Ways to Work Your Hips

Besides their beautiful flowers, many garden roses produce a crop of hips. Hips are the fruit of the rose, often evident in abundance, looking like marble-sized apples, around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Roses that produce hips create interesting opportunities for the gardener. Here are four worth mentioning:

1. Hips attract wildlife. Birds, deer and rabbits forage on rose hips because they are full of nutrients. As a side note, people eat hips also. R. canina, The Dog Rose, produces flavorful hips that have been used in making soups and teas.

2. Hips come in an array of colors from green to orange to bright red. This has made them very useful in flower arrangements, especially at Christmastime. Use hips as you would yaupon berries and pyracantha. 

3. Rose hips are colorful contributors to the garden in the winter. Most roses lose some, if not all, of their leaves, but the red/orange hips often hang on until spring.

4. Finally, you can grow unique roses from your harvest of hips. Remove the seeds from the small, apple-like fruit and put them into a small container of potting soil. Moisten and place the potted seeds in your refrigerator for three months. Place the container with the seeds in a sunny location protected from freezing temperatures and watch new roses germinate and flower within the first spring.

Roses that produce showy hips include ‘Carefree Beauty’, ‘Dortmund’, ‘Basye’s Blueberry’, ‘Roemer’s Hip Happy’ and ‘Penelope’.  

Happy Gardening!

About the author: Mike Shoup is the owner of the Antique Rose Emporium. Visit their Brenham and San Antonio display gardens for endless ideas on landscaping with roses. To order roses online, visit

Posted by Neil Sperry
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