How hardy is the fairy?

I have found some references that list

For many years this one has wintered successfully in my zone 3 … and that’s without any additional protection. Sure it dies down close to the ground, though comes back vigorously.


I have sown OP hips of The Fairy which germinate very easily. It is purportedly another fertile triploid. Hips set is not reliable enough in my climate to consider using it as seed parent. Resultant OP seedlings grew well but were undistinguished and didn’t show a tendency to set hips so I abandoned my efforts at that point.

I confirmed that ‘The Fairy’ is diploid. It has relatively low fertility I think because it has a diverse genetic background and probably chromosome recognition and pairing is hindered. It seldom produces much pollen. I wonder Robert if maybe the seedlings had a common tetraploid parent nearby leading them to be similar and possibly the seedlings are 3x and poor seed setters due in part to that? There are a lot of 3x offspring (directly or indirectly) from ‘The Fairy’. There is ‘Mystic Fairy’, ‘Flower Carpet Pink’ just to name some. There are some 2x polyanthas that I know will be released in a couple years that have ‘The Fairy’ as a grandparent and the breeder stayed at the 2x level. These hybrids set hips well.

As a rose itself I have found too Terry that it comes back strongly from the base where I am at in zone 4. When I lived in Northern WI (z3) it would die out sometimes.

What a great rose from so many decades ago and it has contributed so much to our modern groundcover/landscape roses through its genes.



P.S. Joan Moneith has a great article on breeding groundcover roses from ‘The Fairy’ in a recent RHA newsletter.

I used to have pictures of three open pollinated The Fairy seedlings on my web page (all three were pictured side by side at the same link). They were all small flowered, very double; one was white, one was pink, and one was red.

I ran out of space on my web page. In order to add new pictures I had to remove old ones. Since I had stopped using the Fairy in my hybridizing program, I decided to remove those pictures.

Most/(all?) of the Thr Fairt seedlings were ground cover type. I still have some of them.

In zone 5 northern Ohio neither the parent nor the seedlings exhibit any winter diback or disease (I do not spray).

Yes, David, it’s quite likely my op seedlings were the result of pollination by nearby tetraploids. This makes sense and explains the lack of fertility in the seedlings. It do wonder why ‘The Fairy’ itself isn’t more seed fertile but we are warmer thorough our hybridization season than most climates which could help account for this. Thanks for identifying it as a diploid. I find this very interesting.

Carefree Marvel, a close descendant of The Fairy is accepting tetraploid pollen so far. It also has far superior foliage and disease resistance. I used Shadow Dancer, Firefighter and something else (I forgot) on it. I also crossed it to Kanegem. Of all the crosses (Im guessing 30hips total), only 4 hips fell off about a month ago.

The Fairy is pretty neat but I think that some of it’s descendants are probably better because mildew and thorniness are less prominent. I do know that Flower Carpet is quite hardy in Black Hills, South Dakota. I see it there all the time when I visit relatives.

Thanks for all the feedback everyone.

It seems the consensus is that