Best roses for breeding...

I want to try to create roses that are very winter hardy and have these characteristics and want to know which species rose is the best to mix in to get these:

strong Damask fragrance

continuous bloom

not huge thorns

fully double blooms or classic rose shape blooms

any color range is fine

good cut flower

I was thinking of trying Mme. Hardy as one of the parents and for the other side have one like Ispahan (spelling??) so I would get the damask fragrance on both sides of the cross but the other 2 I am not sure of…

Any ideas appreciated and pointers to good books to buy on this subject will be extremely helpful!!


(Marial34 on Garden web)

Good luck with ‘Mme. Hardy’-- It gives no pollen because it has no anthers, and it doesn’t have stamens, just a cute green little eye. However I’ve heard that people may have luck at getting a hip or so if you try very hard, although I cannot see how with this beautiful but “dead-end” rose. I’ve read that ‘Colonial White’ is a cross between her and ‘New Dawn’-- but the identity of ‘Colonial White’ has been mixed up with climbing ‘Sombreuil’. I think damasks are top notch roses in everything and I think it would be great if you breed with them. I cannot see why ‘Ispahan’ should give you problems; dive in! But Damasks are very thorny as a group, which maybe a problem. May I suggest working with an alba rose aswell? I’m working with ‘Kazanlik’ right now and have used it this season mostly with ‘Secret’. I did some work with a rose that I bought as ‘Semi-plena’, but I believe the proper identification is ‘Shropshire Lass’ because I had a few repeat-blooming seedlings in the first generation.

I can’t think of a single species rose with all those requirements, but there are several hybrids that can get most of your requirements. I think you should indulge yourself with rose catalogs, books, and other rose philia so you can more or less choose your stud roses. Catalogs from “Heirloom Roses”, “Vintage Gardens”, and “Sequioa” are great temptations.


‘Mme Hardy’ will not set seed, nor will it produce viable pollen. A better choice for breeding would be ‘Comte de Chambord’, which does have very fertile pollen, and it has the bonus of being remontant.



You may want to look at some of the Buck roses or the Canadian roses for a starting point for your seed parents.

Welcome to rose Hybridizing

Good Luck


There is a good beginners article on hybridizing by Roy Sheppard at the link below.




I have about six large pods on Mme Hardy at present, the rest have shrivelled up. It could be that the Mme is more fertile in a colder climate. Not all the flowers have green centers. I’ve discovered that some OGRs which don’t normally set op hips or have empty hips, will produce some hips with seeds when hand pollinated. Its trial and error and every year is different.

The gallica “Belle de Crecy” sets hips well with reasonable germination.

Poulsen’s “White Nights”, while not a species, is hardy in my zone (Cdn 5). It holds its flowers in clusters, and has good HT form which it passes on it to its offspring. The colour is a peachy mother of pearl rather than a white. It produces large hips and the germination rate is good. About half of the seedlings bloom at five or six weeks and the foliage is exceptionally healthy.

Once you get the basics you can pick up a lot of info from the posts here and on the Rose Forums.

Oh, what a shame about mme Hardy. I have only seen it in pictures but fell in love with it.

I am trying to find 2 damask roses and a couple of others and get them established in my garden before attemtping breeding them.

I will get her anyway and hope my climate is good for her. I do have the heirloom roses catalog and a lot on order so will spend a lot of the winter dreaing of posible roses.

I have a rugosa that looks like Roserie de l’hay to me but dont think it is exactly that one. I will use that on breeding with the seedlings of the ones I cross with the damask roses. I hope that will give me the cold hardiness I need.

Dont you need a species rose to know for sure what the parent is? I thought with hybrids you could get their parents instead of the one you think you are breeding.

I definately need to get books on this. It is so interesting.

I am also going to get Rosa sema plena (I think that is its name) which is supposed to give good hips. I think that is an alba. I was thinking crossing it with mme hardy and using good seedlings from those. I think that should give me a good white rose, hopefully with the damask scent, to use as my “breeder” on one side and cross that with anyone that catches my fancy.

For Ispahan I am looking for a good rose that repeats for my “breeder”.

I am making notes of these suggestions and will around to see if I think they will do good up here.

thanks a lot!!


Rugosa roses are notoriously difficult to breed with non-rugosa roses. Although there are a few good rugosa hybrids that seem to breed well with non rugosa roses. I know David Austin used ‘Conrad F. Meyer’ to produce some of his best roses. If you email me, I’ll send you some newly harvested seeds of ‘Livin’ Easy’ x ‘R. kordesii’-- which has a very little bit of rugosa in it via kordesii genes. I have other seeds which I’m willing to give as long they have a good home with room to grow. Email me at, and please cut and paste this onto the subject line: “ROSE SEEDS”. I frequently get spam, and I sometimes delete by mistake non-spam messages.

Robert is right, Buck roses set great hips. They take very well and often have a 50% or higher seed germination rate. One many miss out on is Aunt Honey. If you want seeds to play with, I will be happy to share. About 90% of all my crosses have Buck in them. I know as a native Iowan like Buck, if they can not take heat and cold they will not be in my breeding program.

PS Take a good look at the Canadian genetics as well. Morden Centinal and Morden Blush set fantastic hips.

Your Bud


aka Roseman

Aunt Honey is one I am ordering for the damask scent and cold hardiness already!

Apple Jack gets the height I like but it isnt double or classic shape so I wasnt sure about that one. Prarie Star is another one I am thinking about but it doesnt grow very tall it says. I would like them all to grow about 5-7 feet if possible.

Roseman: I would love to try some of them. My email is

I havent heard of Morden Centinal or Morden Blush but will look them up, thanks for mentioning them!

My back yard is very big and I plan on turning part of it on the western side into my ‘breeding area’ since it gets good morning sun and good sun after noon too. I am just not sure if it is better to do raised beds or just use wood to block off that area and leave it at that.

I am still learning and planning and have all winter to learn.

thanks for your help!


Hi,I’m interested in breeding the following characteristics and would like to know which which roses would be best. Ok, the charateristics are : Enlish rose shaped blooms, profusion of blooms like a grandaflora, winter hardy, good disease resistance, rounded shaped growth, and color in the red or mauve range. Was thinking of using "Meladie Parfume (spelling??) as one parent. Any suggestions are appreciated.

A nice red Buck rose is one called Countryman but I dont have it myself yet, only seen it in catalogs. It didnt say much about its scent so I am suspecting it is slight maybe…

One rose I am wanting to try is called “Wise Portia”, a very pretty shade of mauve, an Austin rose but not really winter hardy…

Hope that helps but I am sure others have better suggestions…


The old Kordes floribunda Magenta is a very fertile seed parent. Its flowers are lavender/mauve with strong fragrance and old-fashioned form. I don’t know how cold hardy it is, but its disease resistance is good in my area.

I have heard very frequently that ‘Golden Angel’, ‘Queen Elizabeth’, ‘Little Darling’, ‘Orangeade’ and a few other roses I cannot remember now, are not only especially good fertile parents, they accept or pass many intresting traits.

I remembered the name of the other rose I was thinking of using as one of the parents, it was Noble Anthony. Is this a good rose to use for hybridizing?


You should try whatever is working for you and don’t be afraid to mix things up a bit. You may find that you will be happier using an intermediate seedling that will get you closer to your goals. I have a seedling of ‘Orangeade’ X ‘Abraham Darby’, that I really like as a seed parent. But, I doubt if it is very cold hardy. Though I wouldn’t let that stop me from using whatever roses you enjoy. The trick is in selecting good seed parents first and then doing wide crosses with other roses as pollen parents that approximate some of your goals.

You will have to then subject your best seedlings to winter temps. to see what survives.

Good luck!


Thanks. Because I couldn’t wait for next summer I tried putting tinfoil over two blooms that had dropped their petals to see if either would produce a hip. One of them hasn’t done a thing, but the other ,“Noble Anthony”, actually has a hip forming on it. That’s so cool. Now if only it ripens before the first frost I might be able to grow whatever seeds are produced.

The red climber Illusion has given me many nice double red flowered, disease resistant, winter hardy (zone 5) seedlings.