Selected from Apple Rose, Rosa pomifera-villosa, Big Hip has produced the most fruit in the smallest amount of plant. Even small 1 ft tall plants can be packed with fruit. Best in full sun in exposed sites. Thorny but not overly dangerous either, the fruits reside at the end of the branches and short branchlets off a main leader. These plants do not runner or if they do it is very light growing only a foot or two from the parent plant. These can be used as a means of clonal reproduction as well.
Each plant grows up to 4 foot tall with side branches extending 2-3 ft. in either direction. Flavor of the flowers and hips is very good much superior than other hips from other species roses. Plus the yields are much greater. The hips tend to turn to a paste as they ripen on the plant which is the best time to eat them raw. The flavor far exceeds Rosa rugosa and the yields are at least triple a Rugosa plant. Over time I was planning to select an individual plant that was highest yielding. But as time went on they were all equal high yielding plants with quality fruit and very uniform in production too. As a result the cultivar level was not as practical as all the seedlings were productive. To be sure I further selected the most precocious seedlings in my plantings which flowered and fruited at two years of age. These were put out in my plantings. They appeared to be slightly heavier bearing but not noticeable to a large degree. As rose hips ripen and begin to get to a soft consistency, the flavor is greatly improved. This occurs about a month or so after the hips 'look' ripe with their normal coloration. The seed casings and the amount of seed is not as important as these are processed out in cooking and straining the fruit. The size of the hip and the amount of flesh is critical. Unlike Rugosa rose, these are much more productive per plant. The seeds could be used for oil extraction too so there is not loss in the harvest.
For Harvest: Big Hip produces a very usable and clean fruit when it ripens starting in mid to late August. It is important to harvest at this time as the fruit should be firm yet not hard. The fruit ripens on the bush and will become a clear orange paste like consistency. If you leave it on too long the fruit breaks down and begins to spot and the turn brown. You want to avoid that to get the best flavor. As far as other species or types of roses, I will say this: After a forty year search, this is the best overall species so far. The yields are high. Yes there is a lot of seeds, but that too could be used for oil extraction and its the thick outer rind that you are interested in anyway so the seeds are a by product that could be used easily. The seeds rarely spread at my farm and part of this is due to the hips breaking down prior to winter when most song birds eat rose hips. These turn a kind of blackish brown color by December so they have lost their food value for birds and humans.
Big Hip Selected variety with the highest yields and most robust plant free of foliar disease. Discovered as a chance seedling in my greenhouse that flowered at 2 years of age from seed. Cuttings can be sent with the request with purchase of seeds. This selection is much easier to harvest as all the fruit is on the outside of the foliage and exposed. But of course not entirely away from the thorns so gloves are recommended for harvest. Although a cultivar, not significantly different than the seedlings I planted around my farm as they all appear to be heavy fruiting. If I were to do a larger planting, I would focus on the most robust seedlings as they always were the most heavy bearing.
To germinate the seeds: Rose seeds have a tough seed coat so normally germination occurs over a period of 1-2 years. Fall planting should be done as early as possible to help with the scarification and stratification of the seeds. Plant 1/8 inch deep. Tamp hard into the soil and lightly mulch. Seeds will sprout usually in the following spring and summer and then again the following year. Some will sprout in the third year too. Consider them as a two year dormancy period in propagation. You can put them in a propagation flat, cover with screen to protect against mice and wait. Seed quality is critical with roses and I go the extra mile in processing to maintain freshness.
For the indoor method do the usual fridge cold 33-38 F for 60-120 days. Rose seeds sprout in the fridge very easily. Put them in slightly moist pear moss and then refrigerate for 60-120 days. Some sprouting will occur in the fridge. Some seeds will need an additional warm period to sprout fully so then plant outside and they will come up the following year in the spring. Easier to grow outside as the soil bacteria works on the seed coat. Few animals seem to eat the seed once it is in the ground. You can also put it in a propagation tray outside, cover it, and then let them sprout in the tray in the springs ahead. You can then pluck them out and put them in pots.
|Genus & Species||Rosa villosa x pomifera|
|Pollination Requirements||Self fertile|
|Soil||Sandy loam. Slightly acidic ideal.|
|Ease of Cultivation||Very easy to grow from seed. Once sprouted the plants grow quickly to fruiting size within 2-4 years from seedling. Practical to grow in a variety of locations as even part shade works with this selection. Very healthy fruit easy to use in a variety of ways from dried puree to jam. Selections from cuttings can also be developed from this seed strain. However each seedling is similar in my grow outs and heavy yields are found on all of the plants.|