Gather Ye Rose Hips While Ye May…

“Gather Ye Rose Hips While Ye May…”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


The other day while strolling around the garden and neighborhood, I noticed the all the rose hips that had started to ripen.  I usually don’t pay much attention to them because they are mostly green and get snipped off so that more flowers will develop, but now that winter is coming many are starting to stand out.


The ones which caused me to notice the rose hips in the first place were the Cherokee rose’s hips.  These were so large they could not be ignored.  This rose is a huge rambling one, and, across the street, they have been allowed to grow wild at the back of the neighbors’ properties.  In springtime, it is a gorgeous sight with the white single roses clambering over everything.  But, now that cold weather is here, the rose hips are a standout.  This is the first time I have walked back there at this time of year and noticed them, but it is hard to believe that I never did notice such huge rose hips before this.  They are at least two inches long and about 5/8 of an inch wide.  There are so many on a branch that I am considering gathering some for holiday decorations.  They would look nice either natural or spray painted.  This is one time “big hips” would not be a negative.





After seeing the Cherokee rose hips, I started to look for others.  This one is a tiny ripe one on a pink climbing rose bush.  I don’t know the name of the rose because I received it as a rooted cutting from my mother who got hers from a friend, but it is fairly common as I see it growing in all the older neighborhoods.  This bright little jewel is a perfect example of what I think a rose hip is supposed to look like.




Lastly, I found several rose hips on all of the Knockout roses, but they are still green.  I think I will leave them on to see if they will also change color.





Some roses did not have any hips at all.  Iceberg is one that had none which I found a little surprising.  The Fairy, also, was “hipless”.


I knew that rose hips contain the rose seeds, are a great source of vitamin C, and that the birds love them, but there were unusual several facts that I learned from just a little research.  Did you know that rose hips are popular treats for pet chinchillas?  It seems that chinchillas can’t produce vitamin C and do not have the internal organs to digest a variety of foods, but rose hips are a safe way to increase their vitamin C.  Rose hips fed to horses help condition  their coats and new hoof growth.    Lastly, the fine hairs inside rose hips can be used as an itching powder.  Now, you have some wonderful new facts to throw around and surely impress the other guests at all the upcoming  holiday parties.


  1. Stuart said,

    December 5, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    They have such a beauty all their own, don’t they? I love to leave these on my bushes through winter because they just add another dimension to the garden. Great post and photos.

  2. Jan said,

    December 5, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    Thanks, Stuart. I usually cut off spent roses, but this year I have been extra busy and so the garden has been left alone lately. I am going to leave the hips on this year to see what develops. I think you are right they do add a little something extra to the winter garden.

  3. mothernaturesgarden said,

    December 5, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    I love plants with winter interest.

  4. December 6, 2008 at 8:59 am

    I think rosehips are one last piece of beauty roses give us. Thanks for sharing yours. I’ll go out today and see what I have.~~Dee

  5. Brenda Kula said,

    December 6, 2008 at 9:22 am

    Wow, wish I had had that itching powder a month ago with the poison ivy. Okay, I keep hearing about rose hips. But I am unfamiliar with them. Yes, I’ve heard of them forever. But do certain roses have rose hips? Hate to sound like an ignorant gardener here. But thought I’d just bite the proverbial bullet and finally ask someone!

  6. tina said,

    December 6, 2008 at 9:23 am

    I love rose hips. I’d much rather them than my hips (which are like the Cherokee’s hips-big). lol

  7. Racquel said,

    December 6, 2008 at 11:43 am

    They really do extend the season of interest for roses! I love the deep red of that Pink climber in your second photo. I am letting my knockouts produce hips this winter for the birds!

  8. Jan said,

    December 6, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    Mothernaturesgarden, every little bit helps in the winter.

    Dee, I usually don’t pay attention to the rose hips or I cut them off, but I am glad I found these this year.

    Brenda, I think if the rose flower is fertilized it will make a hip. Some roses have bigger hips, and they will turn colors when ripe. I think most gardeners tend to dead head roses so the hips never form, and that is why we don’t see them as much.

    Tina, you are right. I, too would rather have big hips on my roses than on me. LOL.

    Racquel, that little red rose hip seems almost translucent and is a beautiful red. I am surprised some little bird hasn’t already eaten it up.

  9. December 7, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    Now this bit of info. is very interesting. I did not know this about roses, or rose hips. I have several carpet and knockout rose bushes (those are the only ones I can grow) and this fall they produced those rosehips…but at the time I had no idea what they were called! I usually cut them down for the winter because the grow like crazy in the spring but this year I didn’t get around to cutting them. That’s apparently good, according to your info! Now the birdies will have some vitamin C and a treat, and I’ll have some winter interest:)

  10. Jan said,

    December 8, 2008 at 5:38 am

    Jan, I am glad you found a useful bit of info here. Let me know how your rose hips turn out.

  11. monica molzahn said,

    May 8, 2009 at 9:48 am

    I have knockout roses and I was wondering if their rose hips are also a good source of vitamin c for human consumption in teas and soups etc. I understand some variety of roses are good for this but I didn’t know if it included this variety. Also when is the best time to remove the hips or can you do it anytime?? Thanks

    • Jan said,

      May 8, 2009 at 4:00 pm

      Monica, I am not sure about the knockout rose hips. Mine usually doesn’t make many hips. I would think that they would be just about like any other rose hip though. I would think if you are not using any kind of systematic pest control or any sprays, they would be okay to use. Sorry, I don’t have any more info on this. Have you tried searching the internet for answers?

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