Advice on releasing a rose

I have filled my parents yard with seedlings these last few years and from all my crosses have chosen two, two year old rose seedlings (from the same cross) that are as good as or better than any other rose that I’m growing (vigorous, disease free landscape types). I would like to protect my interests and release these roses and need advice on how to go about doing so.

I haven’t done so, but my intentions are to register names for them this year. I believe the place to do so is here:

Is there a database to cross reference names to see if they have already been taken?

I already have three plants of one but haven’t propagated the other yet.

I’m leary of giving out cuttings to friends or family because I’m afraid that without a plant patent these will get out without any recognition to the hybridizer/me. Next year I would like to have enough plants to send out to test gardens. How would I go about doing this and which test gardens do I send them to?


First, I would not register their names yet if you plan on patenting. THere is a one year disclosure policy in that if the plant is “disclosed” you have a year to apply for the patent. At one time I think it was more from beginning of sale of the plant the year started, but it sounds like things are tighter now.

It is difficult to get a rose to the market, even if it is a very good rose. You need to develop connections in the industry. They have streamlined connections already with breeders- in house or not.

Independant trials are always nice to get your rose recognition. There is the American Rose Society’s ARC trial and there is also the Award of Excellence for minis. Those are reasonable for us to enter. I’ve entered roses in each before. The AOE needs more plants, but just a few dozen. The AARS needs a sponsoring nursery that is a member enter it if I understand right and you will need to go through one that is. Ashdown Roses started a nice trial too.

Don’t be disappointed if things take awhile or if some roses need to go through some smaller nurseries and be sold in limited number and without patent as you develop connections and hopefully better and better roses. Conard Pyle and Weeks especially have reputations of working well with individual breeders. Others that especially have their own breeding programs aren’t really interested in releasing others roses even if they are good. Some are crooks as I’ve been told and have avoided them.

My first rose on the market in a significant way came out this year through Spring Meadow Nursery. They sell rooted liners wholesale to nurseries that grow on the plants. THeir focus is landscape woody plants and they are looking for very disease resistant roses. It’s really fun to be at this point now. Over the years and being disappointed with nurseries and realizing that some I worked with really had a conflict of interests with my roses because they have their own breeding program I was discouraged. I came to the point that I LOVE breeding roses and it was worth it if I never had a cultivar on the market. I no longer felt in awe of nurseries and their judgements on what they felt was worthy of introduction. There are many that employ people that don’t even really like plants and are business people with a limited perspective of what they are even selling. THere are some good people and nurseries out there of course. People are what make things happen and some have people that love plants, consistency in their vision, and are creative.

Good Luck!



Help-Me-Find is a convenient (free) place to check for names already utilized. I do not know if it is considered a “legal” place to search.

A danger of not at least having your rose growing in another location (with a trusted relative) is losing it due to a local disaster (I am speaking from experience).


These are just my opinions, so take em or leave em. :slight_smile:

  1. Any rose needs more than 2 years evaluation before registering a name. It should also be tested in more than one garden before naming it.

  2. Release candidates should prove themselves capable of reasonably easy propagation before they are considered ready for naming. No point in naming a variety that is reluctant to propagate.

  3. You have to find a few friends/organizations you can trust with test varieties, and give those people samples of release candidates to test for a year or two at least before you name the variety. You can send out a “release form” with the test plants that the recipient must acknowledge and/or sign. The form states in no uncertain terms that the intellectual property you have entrusted to them is YOURS and not to be distributed in any way, shape or form without your prior consent.

  4. This is the URL for registering a rose name with the correct authority: is for sale | HugeDomains

  5. Make your list of names and check against HMF to see if they are already taken or not: Rose Search

  6. You may or may not want to patent your roses. Patents are going to cost you upwards of $2000 USD to file. Most of us will never make that investment back unless we distribute through one of the BIG growers, like Weeks and J&P. If you want to go Big Time with your roses, submit test plants to Weeks (Or grower of your choice) and they will test the plant for you. If they like it, they will negotiate a deal with you to distribute it, and they will file the patent for you.

  7. I believe the ARS has a list of potential test gardens you can submit to for evaluation. Other RHA members will likely have other suggestions as well.

Best of luck!

Paul Barden

One more thing: I can put you in contact with one or two smaller “boutique” nurseries that have an excellent reputation and are willing to test and distribute amateur breeders work.


Patenting is highly expensive, and sometimes without payoff.

Trademarking is cheaper, but it can also be gone around by companies, too.

David Zlesak: Enjoyed your comments, especially about people at rose nurseries. My daughter Adair and I must be particularly lucky, because everyone at the many nurseries we have been dealing with this spring in setting up instant rose gardens have gone so far out of their way to be helpful in ways that were very time consuming just for the love of what they do that I don’t see how they make any money on small orders like mine.

You mentioned having new roses in more than one location kind of like off-site computer backup in case of disaster – was it Katrina you were referring to? Regards, Bob

Henry Kuska: Correction to previous message addressed to David Zlesak.

Question referring to Katrina should have been directed to Henry Kuska. Sorry. Bob Williams - zone 9 New Orleans

Bob, no it was not Katrina. I live in zone 5 northern Ohio.

My “best” seedling (at the time) was killed by house painters. They broke it off at ground level and never told me. If they had told me I could of tried budding it or doing an approach graft.

Another time, a row of my seedlings planted near the property line were killed after the neighbor’s herbicide spray drifted over them.

Another time I ordered local bulk “wood” mulch. The next morning most of the seedlings mulched with the new mulch were dying. I now only buy commercial bagged cyprus mulch.