Florist roses...

Often when handling a bouquet of attractive florists roses I am tempted to try the pollen in a cross. I have resisted the urge, assuming as I do that florist’s roses are the bread and butter of the chemical industries : that aside from prodigious flowers on long stems with exotic colors, they have only high-maintenance, non-fragrant blooms (which would never self-clean) shooting up from wicked ugly shrubs to offer their progeny.

Has anyone used such and been pleasantly surprised at the results? Am I too quick to assume?

I aim for hardy landscape shrubs, but a couple years ago got to go to the local rose growers fascilities and collect pollen off of more open non-salable flowers from shorter weaker stems. The pollen was probably in better condition because the flowers were not in the cooler for ? long. Anyway, I got some pretty and very fragrant seedlings with ‘Orlando’. Mostly I didn’t get much worth keeping, but that’s probably due to wide crosses with hardy species hybrids and hardy shrubs and what I select for. I typically do not use garden hybrid teas anymore either. I think there is a lot of potential with the right florist rose parents and an amenable objective. They have been selected for fast rebloom and high bloom production and long lasting flowers- both very good traits. Frank B., the very successful mini rose breeder, has crossed minis with florist roses and most all of his hybrids trace back to florist roses in some way. Perhaps selecting florist roses you like and somehow accessing and growing plants of them yourself so you can have more control over them as parents would be useful. You can also screen through cultivars and select those with the growth traits you are looking for. I have grown a few of them. Most have made poor garden plants, but some have been fine. For instance, ‘Lavande’ was weak, ‘Osiana’ was okay, ‘Grand Gala’ was okay, and ‘Kardinal’ was okay. Sincerely, David

I have used pollen from florists roses when I did not have the “right” pollen available from my own plants (particularly yellow). Often the hips did not form or contained very few seeds or did not germinate.

There are several examples in this list:

I will probably continue to use them especially with mothers that are very hardy but need better flower form.


I’ve never grown any of Frank Benardella’s roses. I hear wonderful things about their form, but less about their resistance.

In general, I suppose that without knowing the parents’ performance in the garden, planned crosses using florists’ roses on anything other than a whim would not be warranted for anyone with limited resources, no? I don’t suppose one gets much viable pollen out of a cut ice-box flower anyway.

But for the low-maintenance offspring, I doubt they have much place. Fact of the matter is, a rose with long lasting flowers often requires more cleaning too. I’m not passionate about rotting petals on a bush.


Ralph Moore did use Florist rose “Baccara” at least when breeding som among his earliest miniatures.

Pierre Rutten

Phillip, I have used ‘Orlando’ and found it to be fairly clean in our climate (at least to powdery mildew), but can’t comment with regard to blackspot. I have also used ‘Kardinal’. Although it gives good form and floriferousness, the blooms on the seedlings tend to be small. ‘Osiana’ also seems to be a good rose - it is quite vigorous and a sturdy rose in our climate.

Regarding cut flowers from the florist, I bought a large bouquet from Costco last Spring and used some of the blooms with good success (fertility seemed high at least in that variety). It was used on clean mini seedlings of mine. There are several newly sprouted seedlings from that rose in the greenhouse.

Jim Sproul

One of the most difficult things with florist roses is that they can look entirely different as florist roses than when used outside.

Jim, I gather you are west coast? BS is our biggie down here.

Jadae, that’s sort of what I was thinking when I described them as the bread and butter of chemical industries. My thought is that they are generally bred for potential in the controlled ideal environment, but not for survival skills. I wouldn’t necessarily expect them to perform in real-world situations. I just wondered how much of their potential might be realized in a typical garden-rose cross.

My impression too is that many minis are bread for show standards. Most of the ones I have grown aren’t exactly survivors when left to their own devices in the garden. (I suppose being low to the ground in BS heaven doesn’t help.)

Thank you all for your input.

Philip, yes I am in the California central valley where we are fortunate not to have to deal with BS! I wish that I could have some of it to at least test seedlings for resistance. We only get a bit of it sometimes in the winter or very early spring.

Jim Sproul

Another Florist Rose with garden performance is Sonia Meilland aka Sweet Promise.

Initially selected as a garden rose it has been a great success greenhouse grown for the Florists.

To succeed as Florist roses apart from well balanced and somehow new or better color or combination are needed a rather long straight upright stem, a nice bud and slow opening flower that last not less than a week in water, good performance ownroot and/or grafted at early and abundant regrowth, nice foliage and few to no spines or prickles.

A lot of quite exacting requirements, but an easily penetrated market with highest and fastest returns. So that there are more investment at breeding them than for all other roses classes.

Genetical manipulation research done for roses is all headed at them.

That is why even with a bad for gardens plant architecture, we cannot bypass them. They are like “purebred” are for horse breeders.

Pierre Rutten

Thanks Pierre. I hadn’t really considered the “own-root” and rapid regrowth aspects of the florist roses.

And, as you say, the greater investment in hybridizing warrants consideration in that more new material doubtless is found in that realm than elsewhere, even if they aren’t bred toward the same goals.

Jim, if you want BS, we got it down here. In spadefulls and in multiple senses of the initials. Just ask our politicians.


New Day, Zorina, and Garnette were varities that were used to breed florist roses.

And from what I’ve heard, they all do well in the garden. It maybe worth to cross theses with each other and Sonia.