When the seasons begin to change from the cold, frosty mornings to mellow, mild temperatures, relief can be felt in the air as people move more freely and confidently around their neighbourhoods. Some of the more daring members of society even leave home without jackets and as the working day finishes, we sometimes return home in the light rather than the dark nights we have been used to.
As winter hints towards spring, we have our first main event of the year: valentine’s day. A day of love and celebration, valentine’s day is an opportunity to show how much you care. Online florists become busy with orders as an influx of flowers are ordered, and chocolate hearts suddenly change their reputation from ‘tacky’ to ‘romantic.’
The perfect, and arguably most famous symbol of love, is the Rose. It is very easy to purchase and give a loved one a plastic or natural Rose from a supermarket, petrol station or florist. However, what might gain you some extra brownie points, is by making your gift a more personal and thoughtful offering. If you are keen to do this, what better gift is there than a Rose which you have spent the time growing and cultivating yourself?
Growing roses from seeds can be a rewarding process. It can also be frustrating, as many of the seedlings you use do not end up flowering! That said, it is possible to grow roses yourself from a seed and we have put together a guide to help you achieve this. Although it might seem like an arduous process, think of the joy on the face of your loved one, when they receive such a thoughtful gift. It is hard to go wrong when roses are involved!
Leave dead flowers on the rose hips, to allow them to pollinate naturally. When the dead flowers wither and die, rose hips are grown in their place and therefore, you should leave them without considering the need to pollinate your rose by hand.
- When the hips are ripe, you can remove them as your seeds are ready! The best way to check this, is by observing the colour of the hip. If they are completely red, purple, orange or brown, they are ready. Once they have become dry and brown, however, the likelihood is that they have died so don’t leave it too long!
- Once picked, the seeds are ready to be used. You can cut open the hip with a knife, and pick out the seeds with a knife but because they are so small and fragile, you will need to be extremely careful with them. We recommend that you use a utensil such as a spoon or knife.
- Place seeds on a moist material. Rose seeds need cold, wet conditions in order to grow so you will need to trick them into thinking it is winter. Keep them on a dampened paper towel or tissue to do this.
- Put the seeds in the fridge. Although this might sound crazy, you have entered a phase known as ‘stratification.’ You can store the seedlings in a plastic bag to do this; make sure you store them in a separate cool part of the fridge – away from fruit and vegetables which can release chemicals and thus damage the seeds. Keep the seeds slightly damp during this process, so keep an eye on them and lightly water them if necessary.
- Take the seeds out of the fridge when they would normally begin to germinate (early Spring is a good time). They won’t start to sprout until removed, but will do providing they are released into the correct environment with the correct temperature. So, try and put them somewhere where the temperature is about 21 degrees Celsius.
- Place them into pre-filled containers which are full with sterile seed starting mix. You can get some good seed starting trays which enable you to place a large range of seeds at once, and enables you to easily care for them all at the same time. A word of caution: do not use normal soil to grow your roses. The soil will not drain effectively, causing the seeds to die.
- As soon as the seeds have begun to sprout, they can be planted. Point the sprout downward (this is the root!) and lightly cover the plant with soil (about half a centimeter deep). Make sure that your seeds are kept about 6 cm apart, to give them the space that they need to grow.
- Within a week, you can start to see some of the results of your efforts as sprouted seeds should begin to emerge! Just remember her reaction on valentine’s day, or whenever you plan on surprising her…
- Warm, moist soil is the key so ensure that when you are watering your plant, you do so with this in mind. Be careful not to over-water your roses. Furthermore, roses need (generally) about 6 hours of sunlight a day, and will need to be kept at a temperature of about 16 – 21 degrees Celsius.
- Although it can be tempting to transplant the roses as soon as you see a leaf, do not do so just yet. Once the plant has several leaves and looks more rose-like, it is safer and more likely to stay alive once it has been transplanted. If you are considering transplanting your roses outside, make sure that you wait until after the final frost.
Now, with a bit of TLC, your rose is ready to properly prosper. Once transplanted, and retaining its natural appearance, continue to water it as normal. Now you are just waiting for the perfect appearance before presenting it to your loved one.
For maximum effect, write a poem to accompany your delivery and present your rose to your loved one. If you are able to do so, without them knowing what you have been growing all of this time, you have achieved a very impressive accomplishment!