Breeding with Alba-roses


I`m breeding with Alba-roses. Often the Albas are

very hardy and vigor.

This year I have seedlings from the cross

Scarborough Fair X Small Maiden`s Blush


Small Maiden`s Blush X Scarborough Fair.

Scarborough Fair is an Alba-Hybrid of David Austin.

Last year I had seedlings of Scarborough OP.

I think they are nice. I hope they are healthy and

will survive this winter.

Does anybody breed with Alba-roses too?

Which experience do you have?


Hoping to in next year or two :slight_smile: I have Mme Plantier cuttings that have just taken and will hopefully produce flowers over the next few years to play with. Alba’s are new to me so I am looking forward to seeing what they have to offer.

I am working with canina, which isnt overly dissimilar. I like the work of Sievers and his alba hybrids.


Do you know the Alba-Hybrids of David Austin?

They are very interesting. Shropshire Lass was the first. It is a cross between Mme Butterfly and Mme Legras de Staint Germaine.

The next generation was The Alexandra Rose, Heavenly Rosalind and Windflower.

The other engl. Alba-Hybrids are: Scarborough Fair, Ann and Cordelia.

Irene of Denmark is a cross between

Orleans Rose and Mme Plantier x Edina.

But she had many BS and is triploid.

I know the albas of sievers too.

Do you know why alba-hybrids are so unsual?

Hi Mary,

I tried using Maidens Blush pollen in 2007 but the pollen didn

Of the Albas I grow, ‘Maiden’s Blush’ always gets some degree of Blacksot every year and for this reason I have never used it. I’d go to one of the other Albas before using this one. I wonder if you’d get back the disease resistance if you crossed that with something like ‘Cuthbert Grant’, Paul? You’d pick up more pigmenting too, I imagine. Did David mention the ploidy of this seedling?


Hi, Mary,

This year I’m breeding lots of seedlings from the local Albas that grow wild (or perhaps feral) all over Boulder County. They’re doing very, very well! Nice, big, upright seedlings with dark leaves, I’m very happy with them. Won’t bloom until next year at the earliest, but they’re a lot of fun to watch grow.


Hi Paul and Paul,

THis seedling is 4x (1A80 is the seedling designation). It was nice to learn that the ploidy of this seedling is in agreement with Hurst’s 1925 report that albas have a modified meiosis with 4x eggs and 2x pollen. George Vancouver is 4x. THe ‘Alba Semi-plena’ plant I used I checked to be 6x and the pollen diameter was that expected for 2x pollen. It’s fun when things like this work out as one would expect!!



I’m curious about ‘Konigen von Danemark’…the foliage appears to be outstanding in color. Has anyone obtained seedlings from it?

That’s a good suggestion Paul. I don’t have Cuthbert Grant, but I have a couple of good substitutes. Both My Hero and Champlain have been very healthy for me and are deep pink to red.

Maidens Blush has been healthy for me, although it hasn


I have (SMALL) Maiden`s Alba. Here in Germany she never had

BS or an other disease.

Could it be there are different plants with the name

Maidens Blush? In Germany Small Maidens Blush call

sometime Duchesse de Montebello. But this is a Gallica.

I have the Maiden`s Blush of Rosenhof Schultheis/Germany.

But they have a Great Maiden`s Blush too. It is an other

alba rose.

Now I have 5 seedlings. I dont know how many ploidy the seedling have. One seedling is Maidens Blush X Scarborough, the other 4 seedlings are Scarborough X Maiden`s Blush.I think Scarborough is 4X. Is there a different with the ploidy between the two crosses?


Albas have an unbalanced meiosis because they are descended from the dog roses. They have a 4 +2 chromosome arrangement where the egg has 4 chromosomes and the pollen has 2 chromosomes. 2 of the chromosomes in the egg never pair up, are never in the pollen so are only transmitted to the offspring via the female. So it does make a difference which way you cross with an Alba. When used as the pollen parent, the pollen is 2n just like a tetraploid. It will depend on which Alba is used, but the offspring will probably be very similar to ones if you used a Centifolia as the pollen parent. When used as the seed parent, there will be the 2 extra chromosomes tagging along, so the offspring will resemble the mother much more than with reverse cross.


Hi Paul,

thanks for your information.

I think the seedlings will be very interesting.

Perhaps I should make a cross between Maiden`s Blush and Winnipeg Parks and a reverse cross. The plants are very different. Then I could see the difference between the crosses (Winnipeg X SMB and SMB X Winnipeg).


Maiden’s Blush is not resistant here too. I don’t think there is a case of confused identity, as Andrea suggested. Duchesse de Montebello is very different and is actually much more resistant in my climate. I think East US has much higher BS pressure then Germany. For example many ADR roses get a lot of BS here.

Olga, I expect you are correct, and most of North America east of the Rocky Mountains has higher BS pressure than Europe, with the SE and Gulf Coast especially bad. I also believe that there is also some evidence that differences in the strain of BS are involved. I get the impression that many breeding programs in both Europe and North America screen extensively for BS, but don


My plant of Alba Suaveolens has twice sported to a semi-double variety that strongly resembles Semi-plena. Perhaps that is the origin?


Paul, now that you mention it, I remember that some people believe that Suaveolens enters into the equation. Unfortunately, I am no old rose expert. I

Hi Paul,

I have the “Enzyklopaedie der alten Rosen” of Francois Joyaux. He wrote about Rosa x alba"Semiplena":

Syn: Rosa x alba “Suaveolens” Dieck, Rosa x alba “Nivea”,

“Rosier à Fleur Blance Semi-double” “White Rose of York”

…sometimes seedlings of rosa x alba “Semiplena” have only

a single bloom form.

I think Suaveolens and Semiplena is the same rose.

How many petals have your Suaveolens? Have your suaveolens

a single bloom form? Or do you have a Rosa x alba “Maxima”.

Maxima have more petals than Semiplena/Suaveolens but only a few hips. Suaveolens have a lot of hips and the fragance is very strong.

In Germany there is a garden with a lot of albas and found-albas. Often there are 2 or more names for the same plant or 2 and more plants for the same name!

The owner of this garden checks the different albas.

Look at this link:

and then look at “Projekt Alba Rosen”.


Andrea, I must say that is a fine site. I just wish my German were less rusty to follow all the commentary. It took several minutes to open the first page but after that it was all smooth sailing. I noticed some roses I thought were out of existence. Unfortunately we can’t get them imported to the U.S., so we just have to imagine. thanks for the link.

Hi Larry,

perhaps it is possible to order german roses.