Hybridizing for greenhouse/florist roses

So far, I have been focusing primarily on garden roses, but would like to take a shot at greenhouse roses for cut flowers. Does any know any good breeders for that purpose?


Shane G

Well, there is/was some florist rose breeding by J&P and Dr. Keith Zary. Otherwise, there is florist rose breeding by the large European firms. They actually make more money with this market than garden roses I heard. (Meiland, Kordes, Tantau…)

Florist rose breeding is changing now from being primarily based at these European firms to having some breeding and definately trials in the new production regions of the world (Columbia, Kenya…). Some firms may still start seedlings in their Northern greenhouses, make initial selections, and then send them to these regions for trial and test for climate adaptation. Other firms, especially the newer firms devoted to just cut roses, are doing it all in these new regions.

Perhaps Frank Benardella would be a good connection for you. Many of his exhibition minis trace back to mini and greenhouse cultivar crosses and some of his minis like ‘Jilly Jewel’ are grown as a commercial cut rose.

With the very competitive and tight cut rose market, it may be difficult for you to get your varieties into commerce unless you develop a close bond with one of these leaders.


I purchase individual florist roses for their pollen to cross with winter hardy, disease resistant Canadian type roses in order to improve the flower. I especially like to do this with the yellow florist H.T. type roses (this way I do not have to “hope” that a garden yellow H.T. will be in bloom when I need it). I do not yet have any successes to post.

Shane, as David said, florist rose breeding is very competitive and a very hard market to have good control over with many varieties being grown in South America.

I took my family with me on a medical missions trip to Ecuador almost 3 years ago. We stayed there for 6 weeks. My family treated me on my Birthday to a tour of a very large cut flower facility in the Andes Mountains. It was incredible!

Please see link below.

Jim Sproul

Link: home.earthlink.net/~rosesbydesign/EcuadorCutRoses.htm

The cut flower industry uses alot of the same varieties that rose gardeners use. primarily long stemed varieties. Mostly they use different rootstocks that will growm many of these flowers at the same time. these roostocks are typically short lived and have long periods between blooms. the big market for commercial growers would be suh a rootstock.

I actually used to work for a cut flower importer in Miami back in the 1980s which used to have farms in Colombia and Ecuador and I traveled to South America to visit the farms. As a quality control technician I would run tests on the flowers and developed a cut point chart for the workers to use as a guide when cutting. The greenhouse varieties descend from garden varieties but are selected on criteria such as the ability to produce long stems, heavy flower production, ability to open well after being cut, good shipping qualities & colors that match the tastes of the places where they are to be marketed etc. (Orange while popular in Europe was not liked by the American consumer.) Most of the cultivars that we worked with came from the house of Meiland whose commercial catalog used to give valuable information as to what rootstocks would work best with a particular variety. As I remember Canina and Mannetii were the most used. At the time Madam Delbard was the hot red rose to grow. If you look up its lineage on help me find roses .com you will see that Tropicana figures predominantly as a parent. I would suggest this resource as a good place to look up the lineage of the varieties out there as you may have some of the parents involved already growing in your garden. I am new to hybridizing but I think that there is the cut flower varieties can help give you a wider palette to work with. One thing for certain is that due to climactic differences the cut flower varieties may appear quite different when grown in the garden. I have a plant of ambiance that I plan to breed with and under my conditions it looks more like a floribunda than anything else.

This may be a rare achievement but take a look at this piece.

So… KRImony x Peace. KRImony is an obscure RB HT that has 1/4 Touch of Class in it. So the majority of this hot selling florist rose is mainly…garden roses. Of course, it is in a rare color (were talking about Leonidas here!).

Link: patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=/netahtml/srchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=PP9997.WKU.&OS=PN/PP9997&RS=PN/PP9997

Thanks everyone!

It sounds like I live in the wrong climate to be able to test these roses (I’m in Pennsylvania). A rose that does great in my greenhouse here, probably says little about its potential in a more tropical location, especially on different rootstocks. I will continue focusing on good garden roses. Who knows, one may end up in the greenhouses of South America someday.

Henry, I hope you have success crossing these roses with hardier varieties! I will be in line to buy one.

Jim, I am jealous of your trip to the commercial growers.


The areas where the roses are grown are actually at higher elevations and the temperatures there are quite cool with little variation from season to season due to the proximity to the equator. I say make lots of crosses. Who knows what you might come up with?

what type are those ecuadorian roses ? they are beautiful. im trying to grow some. im in a tropical climate. 80-90 deg F . what are the best cutflower varieties to grow?