Experience with prospective parents?

I haven’t had a whole lot of takes with the crosses I’ve undertaken the last couple years, but in view of my best seedlings of late, I have been snatching up the more highly-rated Kordes roses when they hit clearance racks, as well as newer introductions from other houses.

The bees do a pretty good job of showing my general incompetence with pollinating as they have created 100% takes on hips on some of my single flowers where I have some failures. But they don’t seem to be as industrious where fully double blooms require a little more digging/effort. The only hips I’ve had on e.g. Soul Sister were planned crosses, so I cannot rely on bee-success as a measure of fertility on my more double blooms.

Near foolproof female parents appear to be Lemon Fizz, Carefree Beauty, Sunsprite, and Alfred Sisley. CB does not seem to permit high saturation in F1, but does permit colors other than pink to come through, in my experience. Have others gotten high saturation in offspring?

Single flowers: MOTH, Fire Opal, and Yellow Butterfly likewise appear quite female fertile (thank you, bees) though I haven’t yet germinated anything from them. Rainbow K.O. is ridiculously fertile, but I’m on the fence as to how much merit it might have as a parent. (I’m variably moderately impressed and moderately disgusted with this one.)

Dark Desire appears to potentially have some takes this year, and as I said above, in the past I have gotten some strong seedlings from Soul Sister.

Kardinal Kolorscape appears hopelessly sterile, and I’ve had no luck with Carefree Sunshine as a female parent, nor with Limoncello to date (though it’s not in the ground and in a moderately shady holding location at the moment). In my prior garden, Limoncello was my bloomingest fool of a flower. (Haven’t done a side-by-side with CS to compare relative merits yet).

Among the more double flowers, the jury is still out, but I’ve had no takes from any of my planned crosses on: Plum Perfect, Earth Angel, Lavender Crush and Celestial Night. I have yet to try working with Florentina, nor Sunny Sky (for which I have high hopes – Kordes used it for Orangerie).

Would love to hear of other’s experiences results with any of the above. I’ll give my impression of a few of the less common roses below:

-Kardinal K was one I had liked, as a deeper, very healthy, velvety red with beautiful lush dark foliage having every bit as much health as K.O. for me, only “better-dressed”. It does seem susceptible to flower thrips as blooms seem to be burning and shriveling pretty quickly now. I’m considering eliminating this cultivar from my garden. I have not had the opportunity to really compare to MOTH, still in a pot in the holding area.
-Yellow Butterfly isn’t quite as healthy as I hoped having a bit more BS than I would like to see in my no-spray garden, but it does have good flower power. The depth of color in both bloom and foliage is a little insipid for me, however. I am hoping to find that crossing with some healthier, deeper colored cultivars might nonetheless yield something of merit.

  • Rainbow K.O.: Like several Radler cultivars, there is something a little bit ratty looking about this one. The foliage lacks a certain refinement, and it was not immune to PM when I first got it. (Possibly due more to stress, however, as it was still in its pot.) I’ve wondered if its parent, rebranded as “Coral K.O.” might be a better prospect, but I’ve never seen it in person.
  • Celestial Night is a decent plant so far, but she ain’t in no hurry to rebloom. Moderate resistance to disease and no fragrance. I haven’t noticed hips on her yet.
  • Lavender Crush is a real dog in my no-spray garden. By April, the bottom 2/3’s are naked, and half of what remains is spotted. The blooms are browning for me well before opening. (Thrips, I assume. I have seen it look quite nice in photos in other’s gardens.) It is pretty vigorous, and relatively quick to rebloom. (re-blech) It might get SP’ed eventually, even if it is a unique plant that is something I really wanted to work out for me. No successful takes on it.
  • I started out pretty underwhelmed with my grafted Julia Child, but now with her feet well established beneath her, she has stopped growing backwards, and is starting to perform. I think I have some takes on her as well.

Anybody have any new favorites? I know I’m hearing a lot about Italian Ice (no personal experience) as it sets lots of big, healthy seeds, but I don’t know much about the actual seedlings that result.

I’ve been using Oso Easy Italian Ice for two years now. It generously produces a decent percentage of doubles, disproportionately white/pink/yellow blends but some more saturated ones, of good form and health on a compact (1 to 2 foot) plant. I’ve crossed it with small minis (I mix the pollen), especially red pot plants (an alas unnamed PorLaMar velvety red with 30 petals and good form that does get blackspot when the conditions are right.) I’ve also used Red Sunblaze pollen and this year am adding Rainbow’s End as well as my best two Italian Ice seedlings to the pollen mix.) This year’s seedlings are quite healthy so far. Most are very compact, a reasonable percentage is bushy, and with 20-ish petals, some with good to great HT form, often some attractive blend of pink, yellow, and white, like Italian Ice. Most seem to even be standing up to the heat wave we’re now experiencing in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Started a redundant query on the Kordes cultivars I have not yet used, but will just bump this one instead to see if there is more feedback…
Specifically curious about:

Earth Angel
Dark Desire
Plum Perfect
Soul Sister
All of the above are pretty admirable plants in these parts once they are established, but I don’t know if they can make for effective parents.

Good to hear you might have takes on Dark Desire. Sad to hear you got none on Earth Angel, I was hoping to try it instead of Cinderella Fairy Tale. On Cinderella, all the crosses failed, except for one that started to set a hip, only to drop later. I’m thinking Kordes newer ones may prove better as pollen parents. Good to hear about soul Sister!

I should add that some of Austin’s newer (more disease resistant ones) seem to not be as good as seed parents either. Claire Austin seems to be an exception, at least as far as accepting pollen and developing nice fat hips. I’ll have to wait and see what seedlings are like.

I’ll give Dark Desire a slightly mixed review based on a very limited and flawed test; your results would probably be better. I happened to throw some pollen at it last year just to see what would happen (it was not a serious effort; the pollen parent was an ‘Oklahoma’ on its deathbed). Hips did set with modest numbers of fairly large seeds inside. A few of those germinated and they seemed feeble and a bit abnormal overall, but at least one did flower, a single with very dark reddish black petals–they burned when they got too close to the fluorescent lighting–and a bit of fragrance. It was, of course, total black spot fodder outdoors. I will say that Dark Desire itself had started out extremely strong here with little to no black spot in its first few years, but has grown increasingly bare from the bottom up, so it seems that the strains might be catching up to it. At least it had some decent scent on its incredibly beautiful blooms for a short time this spring. Otherwise, it had been pretty scentless. I’m not sure what direction I would want to take it in if I tried using that one again, but at least it seems to produce viable seed.


Plum Perfect hasn’t been a willing seed parent for me, sometimes but not reliably…nothing of particular interest from it’s seedlings.

Quicksilver only came out so can’t comment on fertility, it is a lot pinker than a lot of the marketing pictures indicate which rubs me the wrong way.

Another newish Kordes which has been an ok seed parent and ok germination rate is Madame Anisette, not amazing numbers but workable, no obvious duds for health or vigour offsets the ok-ness. It seems reluctant to set OP hips.

Bumping this back to top…
I note that Robert Rippetoe and Ping Lim have gotten progeny off Carefree Sunshine. For all the blooming this single flower does, and for all the bees visiting it, I have never so much as seen a single OP hip… Any experiences with pollen fertility? What about with any other of my “problem children”:

-Kardinal Kolorscape does provide an errant hip or two in odd years I’m thinking it is a triploid that occasionally gets a freak oocyte to accept a pollen. (I’ve decided I am keeping it if only because it is one of my “best dressed” shrubs, with very good drought tolerance.) Wondering if it is more promising as a pollen parent too.
-Dark Desire faded away and died, and I am ambivalent about that. It exhibited poor Kordes architecture, and might have been better served as a larger plant that could have passed for a climber. -Earth Angel continues to frustrate me. Anybody ever get seeds from its pollen?
-I have Perfume Delight in the ground now, and though an impressive bloomer, I am presuming sterility might be part of the reason there too.

Additional good hip setters for me include Miracle on the Hudson, Lemon Fizz, Sunny Sky, Campfire, Grape Jelly, and Yellow Butterfly.

My hybrid teas and floribundas (of which I have a few, having found them at give-away prices as bare-root junk at stores) have been my best hip-setters. I suppose in pursuing my low-maintenance “landscape shrub” goals, I have self-selected for sterile or self-cleaning plants. The HT’s historically required dead-heading to “perform”.

Hi Philip!

Kardinal KolorscapeTM is triploid and I’ve struggled too. I have a diploid single dark red op of it that is more fertile I’ve been trying to use instead. This seedling may be a hybrid as it is much hardier than KK and doesn’t rebloom very well. Miracle on the HudsonTM is triploid from my counts too, but much more fertile. Many of the hips seem a bit sparse with seeds, but with some crosses the hips were surprisingly pretty full. MOTH x Champlain really surprised me. 14 hips gave over 200 plump looking seeds!! Lemon Fizz and Campfire are also triploid and I’ve struggled with them. Even though LF sets op hips I’ve struggled with getting seed from controlled crosses from it. It has been a better male for me. I struggle getting even op hips from Campfire here.

I love learning about prospective parents and others experiences. Thank you for sharing Philip.

I actually have nearly a half dozen seeds this winter. Wish me luck! Have you tried its pollen?

So the bees are actually awesome! For me they are the best way to find good moms. The varieties I’ve found to be the strongest mothers are:
-Fourth of July
-Ebb Tide
-Wollerton Old Hall
-Any species rose

So far the cold hardy plant that has proved the best as a seed parent is Henry Kelsey.
I went back to it after Ramblin Red seedlings struggled with mildew (many of them). Growth of the plant will be an issue with both, but who I cross it with seems to help, as long as there are enough numbers for selecting the best.
The others (Quadra, Cape Diamond, John Davis, Victorian Memory, Champagne Arches) so far will not set hips, perhaps they need more time. I did forget Morden Blush sets hips, but nothing from the seedlings so far of note.
Good to note that Wollerton Old Hall works as a seed parent, as I’m fairly sure that is the rose I received, instead of what I’d ordered.
Thanks for this thread Philip!