I was wondering if anyone has played with ‘Altissimo’ as a seed parent? Every flower on my bush set OP hips this year, as it did last year, and the seeds seem to germinate easily and the hips are enormous (hard to get to it before it self-pollinates though). So I was wondering if it might be useful as a seed parent or if it has too many bad habits that predominate to be of much use? It’s been a stand out performer here this year too under a no-spray regime. I was wondering how useful it might be to help develop lines of more fertile miniatures… I’ve done one ‘Altissimo’ x ‘Magic Carrousel’ to see if it takes as easily as the OP hips did but won’t try it seriously till next year now (depending on what other people say…). I know first gen. will be mostly climbing miniatures… that’s OK… next gen after that will throw minis though. Is seed parent fertility a trait that passes on easily like this or is it easily lost (or as with everything else in roses is it not that easy)?


It has been used to breed several things (See HMF entry) including the Carruth climber ‘Fourth of July’. It appears most of its offspring have been climbers and most have been singles or semi-doubles. Personally, I wouldn’t use it because of its propensity to disease, but you never know.

I got about OP 150 seeds from Altissimo and started them arounf the 2nd week of January. None have germinated yet, but I’m hopeful.

Keep in mind that it has a coral-toned sport, so it may throw orange-toned seedlings if combined properly. Also, it seems to tend to produce short climbers, not tall ones – mostly pillar types, too. Due to its petal shape and cluster formation, it would seem more valuable in breeding for floribunda and climbing floribunda in mind.

I used Altissimo on Sexy Rexy 6 years ago and got a small floribunda with beautiful, dark coral blooms of about 12 petals. The seedling is a good parent but it gets both black spot and powdery mildew.

Thanks for the replies. Paul, what kind of disease are you referring to? I have seen very little on it here over the last few years though it’s in a good spot and very deeply mulched which would help reduce disease… so maybe not a fair comment.

Blackspot. It gets it badly in most gardens I have seen it in, unless sprayed of course.

Once Altissimo gets tall enough to avoid splashing from the ground, it gets less blackspot. But unless sprayed it does get a terrible lot of blackspot where I live in West Virginia. A pity, since it makes such a spectacular show when in bloom.

Hot Cocoa, its kid, is the way to go if one wants its genetics imo. HC can even produce pillar roses when mated with climbers.

I think I can get Hot Cocoa here too… will look out for it. It’s a shame it [Altissimo] gets bad BS because it sets hips like there is no tomorrow and seems well behaved in every other sense. I don’t spray it at all… haven’t done so for a few years… and it has very little BS at all. I guess it is being controlled culturally. The plant is not overly tall yet because I moved it a few years back… it’s maybe 6-7ft tall… Been very dry here though so that may have helped too.

I agree that Hot Cocoa would be a far better rose to work with Simon, if you can get it. Its not an ideal seed setter, but it works very well as a pollen parent.


“Its not an ideal seed setter”

No, but it does set viable seed. I only kept ‘Hot Cocoa’ one season but I do have a few seedlings with it as seed parent coming along now. So far vigor in the seedlings looks to be better than average.

Ah, poo. It does set seed? I always skipped it :frowning: I wanted to use Rosa virginiana on it last year, too =( I went to using hybrids as R. v. hybrids cause it seemed to work way better/easier than with R.v. as a seed parent. HC could have been a great source of orange and/or true red.


Feel free to bring pollen here to use on my ‘Hot Cocoa’ if you want. I don’t expect I will be using it as a seed setter this year. It doesn’t set seed with just ANY pollen you put on it, but you do get viable seeds if it does. My impression is that it doesn’t set seed easily enough to use it as one of my workhorse seed bearers. I prefer to work with plants that are more generous with seed set.


Paul is right. ‘Hot Cocoa’ is fine if you aren’t looking for large numbers of seedlings. I suspect like all roses that hip production improves as it becomes established.

In my case I’m not necessarily looking to create large numbers of seedlings. I couldn’t possibly evaluate them all properly if I did get large numbers.

I have no idea if HC would accept anything as exotic as R. virginiana. Of course it just takes one seedling to move things forward. That’s the kind of innovative cross that interests me right now.

Anything commercial that comes along at this stage is more or less an accident.

If you’re just looking to produce commercial looking seedlings, that’s fairly easy compared to working with species. Of course, the market is flooded with stuff that all looks the same anyway.

Breeding roses is just a form of gambling. I prefer to play the long shots. Otherwise it wouldn’t interest me.

Thanks Paul. The reason I would consider using it as a seed parent is because it is among a handful of possilities for healthier yellow or orange tones, which species usually lack. Also, it is good to know when dealing with roses that are even more female infertile. For example, I wanted to cross it with Salita last year, but Salita was new for me so I didnt know if it would set seed or not yet, so I nix’d the idea until I knew or not.I was timid to try because Salita has A LOT of petals, which makes for a lot of trouble. It seems to set some seed so far (let OP hips form), so I will give it a whirl with Hot Cocoa, Candle in the Wind and (Toprose x Candy Land).

FWIW, Salita seems extremely healthy and vigorous here. my only complaint is its odd architecture. The blooms literally glow tho. I have a feeling that it is something similar to an f2 or f3 of Sympathie. It is definitely a beautiful garden specimen with its plant size, bloom color and OGR-like bloom form coming from HT-like buds.

Well… I have ordered Hot Chocolate (aka Hot Cocoa) but in the mean time I have been throwing all kinds of pollen at ‘Altissimo’ to see what would stick. So far EVERYTHING has stuck.

I’ve put; 'Flower Carpet: ‘Amber’, ‘Bluesette’, ‘Gold Coin’, ‘Pierre de Ronsard’, ‘Nahema’, and ‘Red Cascade’ on it and they are ALL swelling and colouring up. I don’t really want the ‘Altissimo’ x ‘Pierre de Ronsard’ or x ‘Nahema’ (both of which have been exceptionally clean with no spraying)… I was thinking it might be nice to add a few more petals to the plant… but will sow them anyway to see what happens.

Oh yeah… and ‘Altissimo’ x ‘Magic Carrousel’ has also taken.

Here is a pic of my first seedling using Hot Chocolate as seed parent.


It’s quite beautiful Robert! Looks just like ‘Altissimo’ as an orange blend. What was the pollen parent?