Bonica as a parent.

I’ve expected there were many using this rose, and I haven’t played with it yet. I had also wanted to acquire the parent, Mlle Marthe Carron, since she figures into the pedigree of other strong landscape roses from Meilland, but I believe I recall Pierre saying she was not a great parent.

It would seem that Bonica would be milked for all she is worth by every hybridizer given her global reputation, but I was wondering what folks who have worked with her have observed.

I do enjoy the way her dark lustrous foliage sets off the generous blooms.

Does she allow strong non-pinks to transmit to offspring?

Does good disease-resistance come through?

Can fragrance be added if, I dunno, say for example, she is crossed with Tiffany?

And has anyone else managed to acquire/play with Mademoiselle Marthe Carron? She looks like an intriguing plant.


For what it is worth I’ve grown a couple hundred OP seeds from Bonica this winter and the vast majority are very similar to mom in bloom color and leaf color. There were a few dark pinks. Out of all of them so far I’ve found one that I may grow on. It’s completely thornless and still in bud. The bud color is a light pink and there are new buds emerging from the leaf axis on several leaves. It appears that it may be full petaled but will have to wait to confirm. Don’t know if this is of any help to you.

Phillip last year I crossed Bonica with a rose I bred called Elara

[attachment 529 elara.jpg]

This is a rose I use as a pollinator only, if I want to add some serious petal numbers to offspring. It has no perfume, but when crossed with other cultivars the perfume ranges from heavy fruity to strong myrrh. This cross Bonica X Elara will probably be a dead end as all the reproductive organs have been converted to petals and green organs. At the moment it around 10" high, the blooms I would say will produce more petals as it gets older.

[attachment 530 BONxEL.jpg]

I wonder if using Royal Bonica has any differing results?


Elara and seedling look really good. Whites are so difficult to look clean as they age so getting rid of the reproductive parts probably is one way to solve that black center. Self cleaning petals is another good solution. I noticed several crosses you have done with Elara, but what are the reasons for not using her as a finished product?

Michael I do not know if using the sport would change something, its something one would have to try and see the results.

Jackie, I saw a comment by David Austin, saying how difficult it was to get a good pure white. Elara’s pollen is very fertile and it produces a lot of it, it does not set hips.

In 2010/2011 I germinated OP seeds from 4 or 5 different triploids with Bonica having the most seeds per hip and those seeds having the best germination rate. From what I can remember those seedlings all looked quite similar to Bonica so they probably were selfs. I used two different diploid pollens on Bonica last year but few of the attempts took probably because they were too wide of crosses. But I do have one seedling from each cross (both from embryo extraction) and one has bloomed with it looking very much like Bonica, so it’s most likely a self or an OP seedling.

The color was somwhat darker than what the photo shows.

[attachment 537 BonicaOP800x600.jpg]

Pink, pink and more pink. That is what you can expect, for the most part. The rest will be white LOL! That said, I have had some seedlings show superb Blackspot (and Mildew) resistance. Fragrance does sometimes come through, depending on the other parent. I think Bonica '82 has some very good genes to explore, but don’t expect much color in that first gen.

I’m getting tons of pinks close to the color of Bonica and all have been at least semi-double. Not one single yet. Only one white so far. I have one that is completely thornless that has buds coming from several leaf axis…hopefully a good sign for a copious bloomer and several that are barely thorny. For me the nice surprise was that I have a handful of miniatures that have shown up in the group. Hopefully these that I’ll be growing on for testing will show great resistance/tolerance to disease.


Good to know Bonica is doing so well as a seed parent. I remember when it was first introduced. There was such a big hoopla for a few years and then one hardly heard about it anymore. That completely thornless with axil buds sounds wonderful as well as getting some minis.

Were these OP? By the way, when I was in Richmond, VA, Barry, who gave me many many cuttings from his garden had Bonica as well as an OP by the mother plant. It looked like Bonica but was more fully doubled so that is a possibility too!

Jim P


These were all OP seeds. The one thornless with buds at leaf axis has first bloom that looks to be more double than mother. I hope to get a picture of it to post this weekend. Unfortunately no scent. The minis are a great thing for my goals.

Many years ago, I crossed Bonica with Nur Mahal - mostly pinks, a couple darker almost ‘red’; & with a red/yellow stripe mini - 2 light/dark pink stripes, a purple/lavendar stripe & a light yellow. Most were bushy, some were ‘stickish’.



Looking forward to the pics of your smooth and mini Bonica crosses. Saw a big fat bud on my Bonica today and think I will try some crosses with it. Please keep us posted.

Jim P

This is the thornless, fully double Bonica F1 that has 2 buds on leaf axis (now one as I knocked one off…ugh…). I think it will be worth holding on to and see how it does this first season.

[attachment 583 bonicaOP.jpg]

Remaining bud at leaf axis…

[attachment 585 BonicaOP1.jpg]

Hmmm…maybe these are tell tale signs of a flower-power bloom machine!

I’m hoping so George! :slight_smile:


That is a very nice bloom and the leaves look healthy. Has lots of good qualities and the smoothness!


Cute! The ones that I’m germinating are:

Bonica x {Peppermint Pop, Yellow Brick Road, Savoy Hotel, Winter Sunset, Pretty Lady, Colorific, Remember Me, (Rosa canina x Baby Love), (Rosa canina x Royal Amethyst), Shadow Dancer, Crimson Flame}

A few of them have mildew, but whatever. Some of them have kordesii-like foliage w/ red rimming. They all look different, but no blooms yet.

Foliage w/ red rimming; I would like to see that on a mature rose. Neil