Best Kordesii?

What, in your opinion, is the best Kordesii to use for breeding?

I keep running into horrible disease issues in the F1, usually because the kordesiis are crossed with bright or dark disease magnets of the 40s, 50s and 60s, or I end up with once-blooming F1’s or I end up with sterility.

So far, from what I can tell, the commercial breeders seem to love using Rote Max Graf. I have seen that beast of a rose, and all I think of when I look at it is, “Wow, that thing can tear my face off!” RE: It is definitely not pretty!

So, so far, my only conclusion is to hope for better from F2’s. My main issue is, and why I like using kordesiis, is the beautiful foliage shapes combined with their hardiness. I want to retain that…without the disease lol.

The only kordesii I’ve used is… the very first one.

I’ve raised 4 seedlings from it:

R. kordesii X Basye’s Amphiploid

Livin’ Easy X R. kordesii

Jim germinated the livin easy cross and uses a red seedling in his breeding. (I’m always glad to see how he uses them.)

And Bob has one of my Basye’s seedling. I kept the other, which produces massive amounts of fertile pollen-- but seems to be largely self infertile (which is a probably a rugosa trait.) Because despite making a lot of flowers this year, there are only a few hips.

If you’re going to use a kordesii… use the first one. I think it could be used in other directions of breeding instead of cold hardy climbers and shrubs.

I am thinking persicas… crested sepals… and deep purples, with big holly-like foilage.

I used R. kordesii last season. It an easy parent both for seed and pollen.

For whatever reason I got a significantly larger number of repeaters when using it for pollen.

I was using Dortmund but seedlings were not as clean as I would like.

I still have it here if you’d like to try it Jadae.

That would be wonderful.

So far, Shadow Dancer has been the only fruitful venture of kordesii for me. However, it lacks the kordesii appeal, which is dominant in the seedlings.

Using pure kordesii would be fun because I have more than my fair share of bright and exotic colors to cross it with – except, unlike Kordes of yesteryear, mine are way healthier haha. Tatton, for example, is a workhorse as a garden plant and a breeder! And the color is just perfect (same color as cantelope).

Oh btw, here is a fun fact:

Tatton x Rosarium Utersen – finally got one that reblooms, and is bright coral pink. However, it is slightly prone to bs!!!

vs. Tatton x Tequila, and vice versa – almost all entirely healthy.

Rennaisance x Rosarium Utersen – 100% mildew and bs. I had one that did decent, but it is a once-bloomer.

And so ends my usage of Rosarium Utersen…it is a worthless breeder for sure, which is too bad because the foliage itself is really pretty. Also, the form it passes on is very romantic.

I recommend Illusion, see:

To see my comments, press the “show all” button.


Henry, are you are using ‘Illusion’ for seed? What are the percentage of climbers? Are most remontant?

Thanks, Robert

I would second Illusion. My Illusion seedlings have been remontant, VERY healthy and mostly dark reds. I have a Golden Celebration x Illusion seedling in bud that’s about to bloom. It’s a very deep, dark red which is surprising given the GC parent. I’ll be posting a pic in the near future of this one.

What about L83 as well? I have a number of L83 F1’s that are all disease free. They are in their first season and I’m waiting for blooms but the health is amazing. Maybe someone else can can give more info on L83 seedlings that have bloomed.

The Abraham Darby x amphidiploid seedling that Enrique sent me is putting out good new growth and is disease free so far.

If pictures are worth a thousand words, you may find it useful to go to:

and use your “find” command with the word Illusion to see what Illusion has done for me.

After you have looked at the above, go to:

and repeat the search with your “find” command.


Henry, you have some beauties there.

What about the transmittance of the climbing character in Illusion F1’s? Fragrance?

I’m especially fond of, (Folksinger X Illusion) X R-15.

There are some good climbers.

I do not check my seedlings for fragrance. As a retired chemist, my sense of smell is shot.

Jadae, I would suggest L83 instead of R. kordesii.

I have only used William Baffin and Dortmund enough to form an opinion.

William Baffin reliably passes on its extreme health, vigor and amazing root system. It is a frustrating rose to use, however, because its seedlings rarely bloom the first year. I used some of its F1 hybrids last year for further hybridizing, and it appears that its health passes down multiple generations (as does its pink color and lack of scent).

Dortmund does not pass on its health or vigor as easily as William Baffin. However, one thing I do love about Dortmund is that it passes on fragrance. Some of my most fragrant seedlings have been from Dortmund.

I should add that William Baffin is a difficult seed parent, so it is best used as a pollen parent. Dortmund is a fairly easy seed parent, but only produces one or two seeds per hip so it takes a lot of crosses to get a good number of seeds.

I gleaned this out of the Explorer Roses book that Svejda has recently complied. She writes, “I obtained a hardier parent from my own tetraploid seedling of ‘Max Graf’, G49. From the cross of R. kordesii x G49 I selected L83.” According to the pedigree trees, G49 was an op of G12 which was an op of ‘Max Graf’.

Champlain has R. kordesii x G12 as its seed parent (L02), again from the pedigree tree in the book.

So it looks like both Champlain and L83 and its offspring offer what are probably ‘improved’ versions of R. kordesii. George Vancouver brings together both L83 and Champlain along with another mixing of R. kordesii.

I do not have L83, but I do have 2 of its offspring, PALs Niagara and Prairie Celebration. PALs came through the winter fine and appears to be disease resistant, P. Celebration was just planted this spring. I used PALs pollen on Gemini last year and have some rather interesting looking seedlings.

I guess we may need to be a bit more careful when referring to something as a Kordesii hybrid, clearly Svejda did a bit of fine tuning of R. kordesii.

I’ve been doing my own fine tuning of R. kordesii. Of course it’s any body’s guess as to whether hardiness or disease resistance will be improved. Only time will tell.

Still, it’s fun to carry forward something different.

The absolute healthiest kordesii I have seen is my own Rock Creek…but it is highly sterile both ways, despite a lot of pollen and seed production. (seeds wont germinate, hips of other roses wont take).