Rose Hips in the Desert


Will rose hips ripen here in the valley? (I live in the Gilbert area.) I have several roses about 2-4 years old. Last year a couple had rose hips in late spring/early summer, but they never ripened. They just withered and dropped off.

This year, I have two small bushes covered in the hips and am wondering if they will ripen. I am not sure if the young age is the reason for the dropped “fruit” or if our summers are too hot.

The short answer is YES, roses will form hips here in Arizona. Some roses are better at falling pregnant and being mothers than others.

When the breeders are trying to cross roses to try and obtain the good traits of rose A and combine them with the good traits of rose B, they watch to see which one hold the hips better. It becomes the female.

Breeders are working on roses that will NOT hold hips so that the gardener does not have to “dead head”.

We have rose lovers in both Phoenix and Tucson trying to breed the next best rose, as well as the main rose growers west of the valley.

Some roses self pollinate very easily and always form hips. 4th of July and Altisimo in my garden do this with no trouble at all.

To help your roses form hips try taking a small paint brush when the bloom is fresh. Collect the pollen from the stamens and brush it onto the top of the pistil. (See picture at top of post.)


Steve Sheard
ARS Master Rosarian
Mesa East Valley Rose Society