Good Hardy Miniature Breeders

This is my fourth year of breeding roses. I am slowly building up a few good roses to work with. Last years’ purchase was Lynnie. She came through the winter with flying colors and is in bud now. However, just today I was thinking, “I could have far more roses in the same space with miniature roses.” I think the next rose I buy will be a miniature. Here are some the things I am looking for:

  1. Preferably sets fertile hips
  2. Reasonably hardy, since I live in US zone 5, but this past winter was more of a zone 4 winter. Thankfully, they don’t come often, but I need to plan for those kinds of winters from time to time.
  3. Something that has a tendency to pass the miniature trait on to its progeny.

Does anyone have any suggestions.
Tom Dewlen

The two hardiest miniatures that I have are Petit Pink and Roxy. Petit Pink is one of David Zlezak’s roses and he says it’s practically sterile but I have grown OP seeds of it. It is snow line hardy here. I buried the rest of my miniatures and Roxy came thru the best. I just got both of them last year and they both sets hips so i plan to do some crosses with them this year.

Thanks, I will look into those two.

Minis always pass on the mini trait fairly well. It is rather dominant so if the parent has multiple copies of the gene many offspring will too. Of course eventually you dilute it away so to speak. If your mini has only one copy, only 1/4 offspring will get it.

Size of bush is only one factor. Reproductive intensity is a better measure. Miniature R multiflora types will have multitude of flowers but each has only a few stigmas, and rather small parts to handle. Carefree Beauty has only 15-20 stamens in my back yard, so some HT that has over 100 will in principle get the same number of seeds per area with 1/5 the flowers. A good compact floribunda (short internodes) with fairly double flowers will have more than 50 stigmas per flower and 50 flowers per flush. So you could imagine 2500 potential seeds in a few sq ft. Growing out the seedlings for selection is the limiting factor next.

I do not exaggerate. Last November I harvested over 1000 seeds from one such unknown yellow growing along a highway next to some KO bushes. It is not even 2 ft diameter x 3-4 ft tall., relatively infertile in several previous years. I’m getting better than 50 % germination from the packets that I gave optimum treatments. So far I have about 5 seedlings that deviate significantly from the parent in color, about 2/100.

Hi- Hot Tamale sets a lot of hips and the seeds appear to be fertile. It’s listed as Zone 5b on HMF.

Hardiness is a tough trait to come across in minis because many originate from indoor or greenhouse breeders. Among mine only Golden Angel takes 5a/b (central CT-MA border) reliably although I shelter it anyway for greater productivity. Scarlet Moss lives through hard winters but suffers for it.

Some percentage of F1’s of more tender roses crossed with hardy roses will take the cold here. My prize at the moment is an F1 of Incantation with Cannikin which was tip hardy here over this past, very hard winter. Incantation isn’t exactly a mini but it seems to have tamed Cannikin a bit. Depending on your goals, you don’t necessarily need a fully hardy homozygous mini (rrrr) to get your desired effects.

This past winter with -10 F, Jeanne Lajoie was tip hardy. So was R multiflora nana, Pink cloud. Popcorn came close. Other minis (older only), froze back considerably but had crown hardiness.

I could recommend Purple Rain to the list. It’s from the same parentage as Roxy is. It’s listed in the patent as being hardy to zone 5 and has sets op hips for me this season. This is my second year with it and I haven’t used it as a parent yet so I can’t comment on the ability to pass on miniature trait but that is supposed to be a dominant trait. Purple Rain has shown very good disease resistance for me this season as well. It’s listed as a shrub but it could very well be classified as a minature/patio as well. I plan on using this R. Kordesii derivative heavily next season.