Crossing David Austin roses with modern hybrid tea/grandiflora

What kind of flower form should I expect by crossing typical David Austin English roses with modern hybrid tea/grandiflora roses with typical high center form?? I haven’t tried it yet, but am considering using Graham Thomas as a seed parent and crossing it with some of my hybrid teas. I am not doing this helter skelter as I have a plan in mind, this is just the first step.

Are there any adverse things to watch for such as the resulting offspring being sterile or just poor breeding plants??

Another question is about the bush/foliage itself?? Will the resulting offspring be more shrubby like the Austins? Upright like the HT’s?? Climbing tendencies??

How about hardiness and vigor traits in the offspring??

Any information that saves me generations of breeding mistakes is certainly welcome.



Check out some of the Romantica roses. The end products can be really stunning, in my opinion.

It works great.


I made crosses between floribundas and Austins last year. I have the following thoughts about this:

  • Both Austins and floribundas as a group are known for blackspot problems. I use disease resistant Kordes floribundas (and shrubs) and try also to use disease resistant Austins.

  • As far as I know, the upright growth habit is dominant. So if I want to get a shrubby seedling, I try to cross the shrubby Austin with a shrubby floribunda. Graham Thomas is relatively upright, so if you cross it with an uprigth HT I guess you would get many upright growing seedlings. Some Austins are also known to become an ‘octopus’ in warmer climates. I would avoid these if you are in such regions (at least if you want to breed a compact shrub instead of a climber).

I just started making crosses like this last year, so my thoughts are still rather theoretical. We’ll see how my seedlings will be this year. I have some seedlings with Aprikola x Abraham Darby, Aprikola x Golden Celebration and Graham Thomas x Baby Love. The Austins were not really a deliberate choice, it’s more because I had them around.


Jude the Obscure is super healthy here. It set hips for me last year. No germination yet…but they were only a 2 hip trial.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts.

I want to try crossing my Graham Thomas with the A/B DayBreaker floribunda this year as well. DayBreaker is my favorite of all roses and I have six bushes of it. I think it could be a nice cross.

Another floribunda I like and want to try with GT is the orange blend Chihuly. I really like mine and like the color possiblities here as well. Chihuly set hips quite easily for me last year.

I do want to try the pink HT Savoy Hotel cross with Graham Thomas to see how far I can go with this winter hardiness business I am pleasantly having with SH. I think my SH could easily survive a zone 4 winter as tough as it has been for me. Colors could be interesting I think.


Austins are already a cross of old and modern roses.

I have 5 seedlings from Austin roses:

2 Cologne X Constance Spry

1 Prospero X Goldmoss

1 Pacific Serenade X The Pilgrim

1 Abraham Darby X Basye’s Probable Amphidiploid

The first pair has a myrrh scent, but it has lost some of the old garden rose form. One is light lavender, a color that’s not present in the Austins.

The prospero seedling is quite modern looking. A bicolor that’s similar to Christopher Marlow but without the OGR form. This seedling is very muddled. Yesterday, I collected some of its pollen.

The Pilgrim seedling is my greatest joy-- The Pilgrim doesn’t set hips and the pollen is rare. Last year, this seedling bloomed but I was in Mexico. I came backk and only saw the old blooms. It looks like it will have an old garden bloom form but with no fragrance.

The Abe Darby seedling is very highly fragrant. Musky and clove. The color is light yellow shaded with rugosa-pink.

Have fun with the Austins.

Graham Thomas makes a good parent, many people are using it.

A couple of Graham Thomas X Daybreaker seedlings have germinated; no blooms yet.

The “English rose” bloom form can show up in any of the offspring, regardless of the bloom style of the other parent.



PS: anything you can bring into the Austin breeding line that will increase bloom production/frequency will be an excellent goal. Too many of the Austin’s are less than generous with bloom.


Oh oh oh! You guys gave me an idea. I bought Rosy Future last year from Hortico because they had trouble with one of my selections, so I needed a replacement and picked Rosy Future at whim. At any rate, I could never figure out what to do with it! It has potential… but with what? All I could think of was Autumn Sunset x Rosy Future. But what about Austins x Rosy Future? :slight_smile: I wouldnt want to waste that Rodox Bouquet lineage on scentless roses.

Paul stated what I was about to contribute. Many Austins do share some lineage, but the form can come from other sources. Austin is perhaps best known because he was one of the first to not cull the low-centered roses in the second half of the 20th century when conventional wisdom said there was no market for low-centered roses. There are of course exceptions. Geranium Red and Moonsprite could almost be reintroduced today as “English”.

Aloha and Caroline Testout contribute a lot to the English lines, but you might also look at the Romanticas like Eden, Collette, Traviata, Polka, etc, to get a sense of other seedlings which made it market after Austin broke the mold. Poulsen subsequently offered their Renaissance collection, and Guillot has his New Generation roses as well, several of which are “English” in style.


I forgot to mention. A lot of the romanticas are descendants of Golden Wave. So hardiness varies in each cultivar. One of the Romanticas I have is Betty White. It gets tip dieback in zone 8b …

One of the unique things about Austin roses is that he created a whole diverse line of yellows, which I think is a nice addition to breeding.

I agree with Paul that the “English rose” bloom form can show up in any of the offspring, regardless of the bloom style of the other parent. I’ve even had OGR/English style blooms on seedlings where neither of the immediate parents were OGR or English varieties.

One is light lavender, a color that’s not present in the Austins.

Now that sounds nice. I’ve always favored lavender and coffee colored roses. A disease resistant lavender colored rose with an OGR form that blooms generously would be right up there as a perfect rose to me.

That was what I was attempting with Jude the Obscure x Purple Heart, Amber. But theyre apparently not wanting to germinate yet…

I would also like to see an English with striping that looks aesthetic and not harsh.