Roses for hips

All roses produce hips, but we don’t see them as often as flowers because gardeners tend to trim off spent blossoms to encourage a flush of new ones. But if you leave some – or all – of the dying flowers, they’ll turn into eye-catching hips in early autumn, often lasting well into winter.


The best hips are produced by species roses, which can be planted either as standalone specimens or as hedges in wilder areas of the garden, where you can let them grow naturally without much pruning. Rambler and climbing roses are also good choices, as their trusses of flowers turn into hundreds of hips.

Roses are in the same family as apples, so it’s no surprise that their hips are also edible, tasting slightly tart, like crab apples. They’re a rich source of vitamin C, with levels up to 10 times greater than oranges. The right time to harvest hips is just after the first frosts have softened them, but they’re still firm and colourful. Just be sure to leave some for the birds.

Here are eight of the best roses for hips.

Rosa canina

Birds adore the red, egg-shaped hips of the wild dog rose, Rosa canina, which are also good for cooking. A common hedgerow shrub, it bears white to pale pink flowers in early summer. Height 3m, spread 1.5m.

Bright red, egg-shaped hips of the wild dog rose, Rosa canina

Rosa filipes ‘Kiftsgate’

Masses of orange-red hips adorn this much-loved, rampant rambler, Rosa filipes ‘Kiftsgate’. It needs a large tree or building to grow over and produces trusses of fragrant creamy-white single flowers. Height 10m, spread 6m.

A mass of orange-red hips on a rambling Rosa filipes ‘Kiftsgate’

Rosa ‘Fru Dagmar Hastrup’

The small, orange-red hips of Rosa ‘Fru Dagmnar Hastrup’ look like cherry tomatoes. In summer, pale pink, clove-scented flowers cover this sturdy, spreading shrub rose. Height 1m, spread 1.2m.

Round orange hips of Rosa ‘Fru Dagmnar Hastrup’

Rosa ‘Madame Grégoire Staechelin’

Rosa ‘Madame Grégoire Staechelin’ is a glorious climber with huge hips that turn from yellow to pinkish-red, emerging from double, pale pink flowers in May. Although prone to fungal disease, its beauty makes it worth the effort. Height 6m, spread 4m.

A yellow hip of Rosa ‘Madame Grégoire Staechelin’

Rosa moyesii

Elegant urn-shaped orange-red hips and arching stems make Rosa moyesii an excellent species shrub rose for borders. It produces single, pink or striking dark red flowers in summer. Height 4m, spread 3m.

Urn-shaped orange-red hips of Rosa moyesii

Rosa rugosa ‘Alba’

Shiny cherry-tomato hips and healthy foliage make Rosa rugosa ‘Alba’ a robust dog rose, ideal for hedging. It’s adored by gardeners, cooks and birds alike. Its scented white blooms open from pink buds. Height and spread 2m.

Shiny cherry-tomato hips of Rosa rugosa ‘Alba’

Rosa setipoda

Bristly, urn-shaped, dark red hips hang on the arching stems of Rosa setipoda, making a striking autumn feature. In summer, large clusters of pale pink flowers appear. Height and spread 2m.

Advertisement Clusters of bright-red, bristly, urn-shaped hips of Rosa setipoda

Rosa spinosissima

Known as the Scotch rose, Rosa spinosissima is a charming but very prickly species rose. Purplish-black hips follow the white, early summer flowers. Height 1m, spread 1.2m.

A purple-black hip of prickly Rosa spinosissima

The Best Producing Roses For Rose Hips

Rosehips can be an attractive addition to the fall garden. They are high in vitamin C and can be made into preserves or added dried to teas. Many times in the quest for repeat blooms, or general tidiness, roses are pruned before they ever develop hips. The best ones for fruit are the species roses. Most have quaint single flowers, and are grown specifically for their hips. They are great used as hedges or in mass plantings.

Rugosa Rose

The rugosa roses are as easy to grow as they are attractive. They are also reliable hip producers. In the fall they will be covered in oblong orange-red hips. The species (Rosa rugosa) has a red flower. A variation (Rosa rugosa rubra) has deeper colored blooms and bright red hips. A white variety that will go with any color scheme is (Rosa rugosa “Alba”). A very fragrant variety (Rosa rugosa “Fru Dagmar Hastrup”) has large pink flowers and large orange-red hips. this one also develops striking fall foliage. Another rugosa with large crimson flowers and cream colored stamens is Rosa rugosa “Scabrosa”.

Meidiland Rose

Landscape roses are modern hybrid shrub roses. Inbreeding the emphasis is usually placed on flower performance rather than hips. The “Meidiland” group of roses are an exception. They provide flowers as well as clusters of round orange hips. Since theses roses do not require pruning the hips are spared. Meidiland roses come in red, pink, white and yellow. There are single and double flowered varieties.

Glauca Rose

This glauca rose (Rosa rubrifolia) is prized for its attractive blue foliage. It has small dainty red flowers and round bright orange hips. It is at its best when the foliage turns color in the fall and provides a background for the ornamental hips.

Sweet Briar Rose

Sweetbriar rose (Rosa eglanteria) is a useful species. The seeds of this rose are used to make the majority of the world’s rosehip oil. This is a wild pink rose with elongated bright orange hips. It is a good rose for native plantings.

Father Hugo Rose

The most unusual hips of all are on the Father Hugo Rose (rosa hugonis). The hips are not large but they are black in color. This is interesting against the red fall foliage. Hugo rose is great for the collector of the unusual. This medium sized species rose also produces a nice display of yellow flowers.

Dog Rose

Another species rose that produces hips is the dog rose (Rosa canina). It develops variations of pink to white flowers, and long urn shaped red hips. The pulp is moist rather than mealy like some hips. The hooked thorns allow this rose to scamper or climb up trellis’s or trees. A vitamin C syrup is made from the hips. It is called the dog rose due to an herbal myth that it could cure the bite from a rabid dog.

Apothecary Rose

The apothecary rose (Rosa gallica) has been used for centuries in herbal medicine. It has very fragrant deep pink to red flowers and brick red hips. Rose oil and rose water are made from the fragrant petals.

Cherokee Rose

Another very old rose is the Cherokee rose (Rosa laevigata). The orange-red hips are an interesting pear shape. This rose has white flowers with pronounced yellow stamens. The foliage is semi-evergreen in some regions. It has a climbing or sprawling habit.


Add Roses to Your Edible Landscape

What a rose wants, what a rose needs

Same thing, really, roses want and need good air circulation around their canes and a location that minimizes dampness, so that fungal diseases can’t take hold and damage the rose bushes. Roses need sunshine for much of the day, but a bit of protective shade in super-hot yards (and yes, roses can survive sub-freezing weather).

Roses want room for their own roots to expand without competition, and they need a well-worked soil with plenty of compost and manure mixed in. They require a good soak once a week or so, and otherwise should have all weeds and other nuisance plants kept far away from their prickly branches. In winter roses should be pruned and wrapped or otherwise protected mainly from cold wind.

A certain randomness has shaped my own rose collection, that’s for sure. Only in the last year, as I have started gardening a new patch of cleared land, have I made any attempt to coordinate colors, blooming times, and shape.

All the rest I bought first and found homes for later. Against porch railings I planted climbing or rambling roses, while out in the flower beds I put the upright hybrid tea roses.


Miniature roses go in window boxes or other containers (and they live through the winter with no special care!). The Rugosa roses, famed for their hips, are placed throughout the larger expanses of yard where they can spread naturally.

How ’bout those hips?

Look closely at a ripe rose hip and see how it resembles a small apple. That should be no surprise, as the rose and the apple are closely related. The rose is the botanical mother ship with connections to much of what grows in our gardens: everything from nectarines to strawberries.

There are wild roses native to North America, or introduced and naturalized, which are adaptable from seaside to mountaintop and which provide a crop of hips around the time of first frost.

Rose hips have a long, nutritionally important role in civilization, especially in northern climates where other fruits are difficult to grow, and during wartime, when sources of vitamin C are interrupted. Some accounts have rose hips with 40 times the vitamin C of oranges, based on weight.

I have just begun cooking up rose hips to extract some of that high-C value, and can tell you that rose hip as a fruit isn’t sweet or particularly appealing. Mostly rose hip juice is a health additive. The processing includes straining the cooked hips to get rid of seeds and little hairs.


There is no fruity flavor or fragrance; rather, the aroma and taste of cooked rose hips reminds me of grass.

Still, bottled up, the extracted juice is useful as a tea additive for treating colds or flu, and can further be cooked with sugar to make jelly or syrup.

Rose Resources

Want to know more about growing roses, or find reliable sources for plants? Here are some that I have used and enjoyed:

  • Heirloom Roses, a Texas company with a terrifically well-organized web site. Check out the Old Garden Roses section for good hip varieties.
  • The Antique Rose Emporium, with a special section just on colorful rose hip varieties, and with a good reputation.
  • David Austin Roses, one of the world’s leaders in rose breeding, with luscious old varieties and fragrant choices.
  • Rose Meadow, especially for miniature roses.

In addition, I’d like to mention a rose guru in the Southeast, Paul Zimmerman, who has lots of tips to share. His motto is “A Garden Rose is nothing more than a shrub with flowers on it,” and he helps gardeners lose their fear of growing roses. Check out .

Make plans this fall to add roses to your garden. Use the autumn to clear some space, and then hit the catalogues this winter so you are ready for spring shipping and planting.

Parts of this posting originally appeared in Nan K. Chase’s book Eat Your Yard! Edible trees, shrubs, vines, herbs and flowers for your landscape. Nan tends her edible landscape, including her two dozen rose bushes, in Asheville, N.C. She lectures on landscape design and food preservation topics.

Garden News Blog

Rose Hips: Behold the Fruit of the Rose Plant

By Sarah Owens | September 17, 2014

Roses are famous for their heady fragrance and showy blooms. But these prized and historic plants are cultivated for other ornamental qualities as well, including the color of their canes, the size and shape of their prickles, and most notably, the wide diversity of their hips. Hips appear in many shapes, colors, and textures—there are as many variations in hips as there are in roses.

The hip (also referred to as a hep or haw) is the fruit of a rose, and, like all fruit, it develops after the fertilization of the flower occurs. When the flower is spared from deadheading, many small seeds—called achenes by botanists—grow inside, and the hip swells. As the season progresses and these seeds mature, a fleshy layer called the pericarp develops around them. The pericarp is high in vitamin C and natural sugars, which is why rose hips are used both medicinally and in culinary creations such as teas and jams.

In terms of shape, they may be globose, ellipsoid, obovate, pear-shaped, or bottle- or flask-like, and they vary greatly in size. You may spot some that look like tomatoes or large crabapples. Others are quite small and appear in clusters. Some have smooth and polished-looking skin, others are dull and thorny. Many have resinous hairs called trichomes.

Rose hips have an impressive range of color that will become even more evident as September unfolds. Look for hips in bright orange, red, burgundy, and iridescent purplish black. Many gardeners think of these distinctive fruits as a fall bonus from their single-blooming roses. Repeat-blooming roses, which are typically deadheaded throughout the summer, can also be left with their hips on toward the end of September and into October as a way of signaling to the plant that it is time to consider dormancy.

As the days begin to shorten and the nights become cooler, the hips will take on a noticeable color change, going from green to deep shades of orange. Some hips will persist into winter, providing a nutritious food source for wildlife, including birds and squirrels. Other decorative hips, such as Rosa x micrugosa’s spiky gothic-looking ones will drop later in the fall. So be sure to look for rose hips in the Cranford Rose Garden and elsewhere for the next month or two. This is the time to see them their full glory!

Sarah Owens is the owner of BK17 Bakery and the author of Sourdough, winner of the 2015 James Beard Foundation Book Award (Baking and Dessert). She was the curator of the Cranford Rose Garden and the Rose Arc Pool for six years.

Rose Hips

Rose Hips are a valuable source of vitamin C, containing as much as 20 times more vitamin C than oranges. They are also an excellent antioxidant.

Rose Hips

If you suffer from the pain and stiffness of chronic osteoarthritis, there’s good news. Studies suggest you may find some comfort from using a natural supplement known as rose hip to treat the symptoms. This fruit, derived from the rose plant, is not only an excellent source of vitamin C but studies show that it may reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis and help sore, achy joints function better.

Rose hip has long been used as an ingredient for herbal tea and is sometimes enjoyed in syrups, jellies, and even wine. This dark red fruit is certainly no stranger to the world of alternative medicine and could be described as a nutritional superstar with its high iron and vitamin content. It has an antioxidant potential even greater than that of blueberries. It’s also a good source of flavonoids, the phytonutrients that have received so much attention for their beneficial health properties.

Harvesting rose hips is very straightforward. They should always be removed from the stem of the rose plant. (Do not remove the rose once it has died off or you will not have any Rose Hips) Rose hips ripen after they are touched by the first fall frost this is when they are the sweetest. At the time of harvest, hips should be firm with a little give in texture and bright red or orange in color. If any of the hips on the plant are shriveled or are not the right color, do not collect them; they will not go to waste, as they will provide a great treat for the birds, rabbits, squirrels, and deer in the area. The color of rose hips varies, but in general, orange hips are not quite ripe, and deep red hips are overripe. Overripe hips are sweet, but have lost much of their vitamin C.

Rose hips will have the most nutritional value when used immediately after harvesting. To prepare rose hips for tea, cut off the bloom stem, cut the hip in half, and scrape out the seeds and hairy pith. This can be very tedious with tiny hips, so you may want to save the smallest hips for jellies. Rose hips used for jellies don’t need to be seeded or scraped. A half and half mixture of rose hip juice and apple juice makes a tasty jelly.

After some Frost

Preparing rose hips is also simple; however, make sure that they are prepared as quickly as possible after being harvested, as waiting to do so will compromise a lot of their nutritional value. Once they have been collected from the rose plant they can be used whole, but they have seeds inside of them that have a hairy surface and can cause irritation if eaten. If the rose hips are to be incorporated into anything other than a jam, jellies or juice it is recommended that the insides of the hips are removed before further preparations are conducted. Unless you are drying them for teas. (Further on are the instructions for drying the Rose Hips) To remove the seeds, trim the ends of the hips and then cut them in half using scissors (the hips will be too small to accurately trim and slice with a knife). Then remove seeds, rinse the hips in cold water, and drain them thoroughly.

Lots of Seeds

After the rose hips have been drained, they should air dry to remove any additional exterior moisture. Once the rose hips are trimmed and ready for use, they can either be prepared fresh or dried.
Rose hips are great to use in jellies, sauces, soups, seasonings, or tea. If the recipe in use calls for them to be cooked, do not use aluminum pots, pans, or utensils, as it will deplete the vitamin C levels and alter the color of the rose hips.

Vitamin C is an important part of a balanced diet, and rose hips are a wonderful source of Vitamin C. Anyone looking for a natural, delicious, and easy to prepare source of this important vitamin will benefit from harvesting his/her own rose hips and from the beautiful roses that will grow in the process!

Rose Hip Tea:

Grind approximately 3-4 cups of rose hips. Boil in 2-3 cups of water for 20 minutes. Strain the liquid to remove the pulp. It’s delicious hot or cold.

  • When Using Dried: 2 tsp per cup of boiling water, steep for 10 to 15 minutes.

Tip: Don’t throw them out once they’ve been used to make tea, eat them after you’re done drinking the tea or add to soups or serve as a side at the supper table. They still have a lot of nutritional value even after they’ve been used in teas.

Rose Hip Tea

Rose Hip Marmalade:

Use a glass or enamel pan for this recipe.

Clean rose hips and soak in cold water for two hours.

Simmer in water for two hours.

Strain and reserve liquid for jellies or other recipes.

Measure the mash, and add 1 cup of brown sugar for each cup of mash.

Boil down to a thick consistency.

Pour into sterilized jars and seal.

Rose Hip Juice:

To prepare rose hip juice for use in many things, just snap the stems and tails off the rose hips and cook in enough water to almost cover them. Cook until well softened. Put through a sieve. Cook again in less water and again put through a sieve. Repeat once more. Then discard remaining seeds and skins and drain the rest overnight through a jelly bag or several layers of cheesecloth.

The juice can be made into syrup or just stored in the refrigerator in a covered jar, to use from time to time in various recipes that would benefit from the addition of vitamin C. The pulp can be used in jam or jelly to augment the quantity where you are a bit short and to add vitamin C.

Use rose hip juice in any syrup, jam or jelly in place of water – at least partly. It doesn’t have much taste, so it can be used in many different things to add that all-important vitamin C.

One use for the pulp is to spread it thinly on cookie sheets and dry it in a low oven, with the oven door slightly open to allow moisture to escape. When completely dry, break the sheet of puree into smaller pieces and pulverize with a rolling pin. The resulting powder is delicious sprinkled on cereal or beverages, or used in place of a little flour in many recipes.

Candied Rose Hips:

Snap off the stems and tail of the wild rose hips you have collected. Discard any imperfect ones. Insects like rose hips too, so sort them with care. Split the hips open. With a teaspoon turned over, force the seeds out of the hips. Scrape out any extraneous membrane from the inside. Cover with cold water in a saucepan and bring to the boiling point. Reduce the heat and simmer slowly for 10 minutes. Drain well.

Cook to the boiling point 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, and 1 or 2 pieces of crystallized ginger. Add the drained rose hip pieces (not more than a cupful at a time). Cook slowly until the hips just begin to appear translucent. Using a skimmer, remove the hips from the syrup and spread them on a platter to cool. If you have more hips, cook them in the same way until all are cooked, but never add more than a cupful at a time.

When cool, roll the hips in granulated sugar and spread thinly on waxed paper to dry. These make a healthful snack for the kids. They should be stored in an airtight, childproof glass container.

Rose Hip Candy:

Gather rose hips, grind into a paste, mix with butter, and add sugar to sweeten. Shape into balls, put a stick into the balls, and roast them over hot coals and enjoy them as a treat on your camping trips.

Rose Hip Syrup:

3 pounds rose hips (ripe)
1 cup honey

Wash hips, remove stems and ends. Use a stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Simmer 15 minutes or until tender. Mash with a wooden spoon. Simmer another 8 minutes.

Pour into several layers cheesecloth and allow to drip over night into ceramic bowl. Squeeze out leftovers. Return juice to saucepan, add honey, and blend well. Bring to boil; boil for 1 minute. Pour into jars and seal. Process in hot water bath for 15 minutes at 5,000 feet.

Rose Hip and Rhubarb Jam:

Use slightly under-ripe rose hips. Cut in half and remove seeds with tip of knife.

1 cup rose hips
1 cup water
4 cups diced rhubarb
1/2 teaspoon salt

Boil rapidly 2 minutes and add:
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

Boil rapidly 2 minutes. Seal in sterilized jars. Process in hot water bath for 15 minutes at 5,000 feet.

Rose Hip Ball

Rose Hip Catsup:

4 quarts ripe berries (red and ripe)
1 clove garlic
2 medium sized onions
1 cup water (or more if necessary)

Boil these ingredients until they are soft. Strain them. Add 3/4 cup of brown sugar. Tie in a bag and add:

1/2 TBS whole allspice
1/2 TBS mace
1/2 TBS whole cloves
1/2 TBS celery seed
2 inch stick cinnamon

Boil these ingredients quickly. Add 1 cup vinegar, cayenne, salt, if desired. Boil catsup 10 minutes longer. Bottle it at once. Seal the bottles with wax. The flavor of this catsup is excellent.

How To Dry Rose Hips:

Collect quantities to be dried or made into teas, jellies, juice, pickles, etc., for winter use.

The process is very easy and similar to air drying flowers, follow these directions:

  • Sort out the imperfect ones and rinse the batch. Carefully pat dry.
  • Line a cookie sheet with a screen, or a sheet of cardboard, or parchment or wax paper and spread them across in a single layer.
  • Leave in a dark, well ventilated area for a few weeks, they’ll be ready when they are hard, wrinkly and darker in color.
  • You can also do this in the oven on the lowest setting or use a dehydrator.

You can dry them whole or you can cut and seed first (directions below). If mainly using for teas, leaving whole is fine.

Storage: Seal in airtight containers or glass jars, store away from direct light.

How To Remove Hairs & Seeds:

It is desirable that the hairs and seeds be removed before consuming. The fine hairs associated with the seeds are unpleasant in the mouth and have an irritating action. A few different methods are used, try one of the following:

  • Cut in half and shake out seeds, this takes the longest time;
  • Cover with water and simmer, then rub through a sieve using the puree;
  • Simmer whole Rose Hips in more than enough water to cover, then merely strain. Bottle the juice. Add sugar if desired and process 45 mins. This juice contains Vitamin C and may be added to sauces, soups (not cream soup), puddings, beverages and many other foods.

Did You Know: Women and children were encouraged to gather them during World War II when food supplies were low, the Vitamin C they provided were a much needed source of nutrition and was highly valued over the winter months.’

Happy Picking and enjoy all the benefits that this plant has to offer from the Wild 🙂

Rose Hip Information – Learn When And How To Harvest Rose Hips

What are rose hips? Rose hips are sometimes called the fruit of the rose. They are precious fruit as well as containers for rose seeds that some rose bushes produce; however, most modern roses do not produce rose hips. So what can rose hips be used for? Keep reading for more rose hip information and learn how to harvest rose hips and take advantage of all they have to offer.

Rose Hip Information

Rugosa roses are known to produce an abundance of rose hips, these wonderful roses can be grown for the multi-purpose of enjoying their beautiful blooms set against their wonderful foliage as well as using the hips they produce. The old-fashioned shrub roses also produce wonderful rose hips and offer the same enjoyment.

If the rose hips are left on the bush and never harvested, the birds will find them and peck out the seeds, eating these fine fruits as a great source of nourishment in the winter months and beyond. Bears and other animals love to find patches of wild roses and harvest the rose hips too, especially after just coming out of hibernation.

What Can Rose Hips Be Used For?

Wildlife aren’t the only ones benefiting from rose hips, as they are a great source of vitamin C for us too. In fact, it is said that three ripe rose hips have more vitamin C than one orange. Because of this, they are often used in recipes. Rose hips have a sweet, yet tangy, flavor and can be used dried, fresh or preserved for future use. Steeping them to make rose hip tea is a common way that rose hips are used, making not only a nicely flavored tea but also one with good vitamin C content. Some folks use rose hips to make jams, jellies, syrups and sauces. The sauces can be used for flavoring in other recipes or on their own.

If using rose hips for food, be very careful to use rose hips from roses that have not been treated with any form of pesticides that are not specifically labeled as okay for food producing crops. Even though the pesticide may be labeled as safe for food producing crops, it is highly recommended to find organically grown rose hips with no such chemical treatments.

Rose hips have been used to treat influenza, colds and other illnesses as a stomach tonic. They have also been used to make medicinal concoctions to help strengthen the heart and take away the shaking and trembling such conditions bring. It is not known of the success these old concoctions actually performed; however, they must have had some success at the time. For those of us whom have arthritis, it appears that rose hips may also have value in helping us with the pain it brings. The Arthritis Foundation had the following information posted on their website:

“Recent animal and in vitro studies have shown that rose hips have anti-inflammatory, disease-modifying and antioxidant properties, but results of human trials are preliminary. A 2008 meta-analysis of three clinical trials showed rose hips powder reduced hip, knee and wrist pain by about one-third in nearly 300 osteoarthritis patients and a 2013 trial found that conventional rose hips powder relieved joint pain almost as effectively as an enhanced version. In a 2010 trial of 89 patients, rose hips improved rheumatoid arthritis symptoms better than a placebo.”

Harvesting Rose Hips

When harvesting rose hips for the various uses, they are typically left on the bush until after the first frost, which causes them to turn a nice bright red and also makes them somewhat soft. Any remaining bloom is then trimmed off and the rose hip is pruned off the bush as closely as possible to the base of the swollen bulb-shaped hips.

The rose hips can be harvested when ripe for their seeds and placed in the refrigerator or other cold place to go through a cold moist period, called stratification. Once they have gone through this process, the seeds can be prepped and planted to hopefully grow a new rose bush. The rose that comes from the seeds may be too weak to survive or may be a nice specimen.

For use in making food items, the rose hips are cut in half with a sharp knife. The tiny hairs and seeds are removed, then rinsed under cold water. It is said that one should not use any aluminum pans or utensils on the rose hips during this preparation process, as the aluminum tends to destroy the vitamin C. The rose hips can then be dried by spreading out the prepared halves on a tray in single layers so that they dry well, or they may be placed in a dehydrator or oven on the lowest setting. To store the halves after this drying process, place them in a glass jar and keep them in a dark, cool place.

The possibility that nature holds the keys to helping us should come as no surprise, as there are many other published cases. Rose hips are truly a wonderful gift from the rose and Mother Nature.

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