Best place in the world to breed roses?

Someday I plan to win the Powerball lottery, buy a small farm somewhere (other than northern Connecticut) and breed roses long into my dotage. Were would the best place in the world be for hybridizing roses?

This is a great question and I’m sure you will get a multitude of answers.

Some might say New Zealand, Texas, or CA’s San Joaquin Valley.

I will say that the answer depends on the type of roses you wish to breed for. No climate is ideal for all roses although the San Joaquin Valley likely comes close.

It’s all a trade off.

Challenges can be opportunities. I would pick a climate that suits ME best and let the roses follow suit.

A great deal can be accomplished with the aid of a lighted basement or greenhouse.

In my case I prefer a long growing season, sunshine, dry air and relatively warm Winters.

I can dress very lightly most of the year which is my preference. (Maybe that’s why I prefer smooth roses?)

If one had all the discretionary income in the world, one could have multiple locations and breed roses for different climates by having two Springs or more.

I recently had a long visit with Dr. Viru Viraraghavan and his Wife Girija. They chose their current location for breeding roses. They are at 7000 feet elevation in Kodaikanal India which has a very long mild climate ideal for breeding many types of roses.

They also keep a farm a lower elevation so they can better exploit types that require warmer temperatures.

Sam McGredy likes New Zealand (Auckland). Don’t choose Tasmania… the growing season is too short (though what we lack in growing season we make up for with day length during the growing season :slight_smile: It’s light till 9pm in summer here). Our winters are wet (I mean soaking wet and cold and we NEVER dry out - gum boots are standard issue on my little farm) and the summers are warm (hottest day last summer was 42.5 degrees celcius) and dry. Most roses grow well here because we get cold in the winter and have warm summers (I have everything from laevigata and teas to Gallica and rugosa - all growing nicely). If you breed anything good you can only grow it in Australia and maybe New Zealand… so your market is limited… unless they can get to the U.S or Europe via New Zealand or somewhere like Japan… roses from the US and Europe are slow to filter through and the ones that do are just the ones that importers think will sell (not the ones we want for their genes) and there is an growing anti-rose sentiment in Australia because of the domination of unsuitable hybrid teas and floribunda… and EVRY house has a flower carpet rose yawns… maybe one could look at this from teh glass-half-full perspective too… it’s an opportunity to provide something better and turn it around! On the plus side we have Ruston’s :wink: We don’t have to worry about deer but we do have to worry about possums, wallabies, kangaroos, and a plague of rabbits! You guys on RHA are too far away and everything you talk about here is opposite to what we are doing (so we hate you when you talk about the crosses you are making and showing pictures of your seedlings LOL). Turned you off yet?

Don, if you don’t like spraying and just want to enjoy the hobby, somewhere in S. California would probably work great. Our biggest challenge is in breeding roses that will do well in other climates and disease pressures. I literally do not have to spray even one time per year outside for bugs or diseases (unless it is a bad downy mildew year). If you have powdery mildew prone roses, however, you would have to spray in Sping and Fall to keep them clean (I just refuse to grow them).

Jim Sproul

“Sam McGredy likes New Zealand (Auckland).” His main argument other than a climate similar to his original Irish one was that he was able to travel in northern hemisphere; meet nurserymen and visit trial grounds during New Zealand’s winter.

A different point would be to choose a less than ideal climate according to one’s goals. If you want better than average performance, testing at an early stage is a necessity. I.e. desease prevalence is a must if you want to breed for desease resistance. Same for cold resistance or better adaptability to warm climates.

So many places may be considered as ideal according to one’s goals.

A place with a plentiful supply of water and low taxes, both of which exclude California.

EVERY house has a flower carpet rose yawns

I take it that’s like the Bonica’82 in Europe

and the Knockout in the US.

How funny.

yes… it’s either flower carpet or ‘Iceberg’… the real adventerous ones put in a ‘Burgubdy Iceberg’ shakes heads

Just be glad they grow roses at all! :slight_smile:


I would say the areas with the worst climate extremes simply for testing purposes. I think Dr. Buck’s roses have been successful because Iowa gets about everything; extreme cold, wet-cool springs, hot-muggy summers, etc.

If I had my choice, I would pick a place where I could hybridize outside all year. However, Pennsylvania has been good for me because we get everything in abundance. Blackspot, mildew (downy and powdery), Japanese Beetles, Rose Rosette, wet-cool springs, heat and humidity and just enough cold to know if a rose will be hardy or not. These all make rose growing very frustrating, but the conditions sure weed out poor seedlings quickly. The only thing that I don’t really see is rust.

My area would be perfect if it didnt rain during the breeding window of opportunity.

Jadae, that was my problem also this year. I can’t knock it because we had been having several years of exceptional drought. I’m starting to get a limited second flush so I hope to achieve at least a little this year. You know those people who use a greenhouse…get to do it year round.

This discussion makes me glad that half my work is done in greenhouses.

Oh yeah… another reason not to choose Tasmania is we are smack bang in the path of the ‘Roaring 40s’… how do you select for incessant gale force winds… one thing is certain… if they stay in the ground they sure develop strong root systems LOL.

This discussion makes me glad I’m building a greenhouse :wink:


About Pennsylvania and Rust…three and four years ago the big rose garden in Hershey was totally infected with Rust by fall. I felt so sorry for roses downwind of that garden who where going to get hit with something that “wasn’t” in PA.

Yes, the southeast offers many challenges.

Something I heard in a gardening talk earlier this year is sort of germaine. The speaker maintains the vegetable garden at Colonial Williamsburg and he talked about how early settlers raved about how easy some gardening was on this continent. He smiled and said “It’s not that way anymore.” And that he figured that it took about 200 years for the European diseases to catch up with the European crops.