hybridizing roses with fully double blooms

My appetite was whetted for hybridizing when I had a chance seedling grow and bloom this month. The first bloom is a single with 6-8 petals, light yellow, has some fragrance. I’m anxious to see if a second bloom will be any different. The foliage is very nice and seems like it might be vigorous, possibly a self pollinated seedling of Autumn Sunset. As this is my first ‘baby,’ I’ll keep it and plant it outside this year. (It probably isn’t one that a more experienced hybridizer would keep.) I have a second seedling that hasn’t bloomed yet, so I’m waiting with anticipation to see the color of the bloom.

I’d like to try my hand at growing a few seedlings next year. I’d love to get one with fully double blooms. Any suggestions for seed and pollen parents? In addition to Autumn Sunset, I have Westerland, Polka, New Dawn, John Cabot, Henry Nevard, Mme. Isaac Periere, Mrs. John Laing, General Jacqueminot, Louise Odier, Marchioness of Londonderry, Marchesa Boccella, Rose de Rescht, Tradescant, Fair Bianca, Heritage, Brother Cadfael, Abraham Darby, Prairie Sunrise, Wild Ginger, and a few others. I’ve also ordered for spring Iceberg, Buff Beauty, Belinda’s Dream, Rosarium Uetersen, Aloha, Jude the Obscure, Tamora, and Sharifa Asma. I’d appreciate advice on crosses to try to get a double bloom seedling. Which ones of the above would make the best seed parents–I know that MIP, Henry Nevard, Heritage, AD, AS & Westerland all set hips, although I don’t know the fertility of their seeds. Likewise, what are good, fertile pollen parents?

Thanks for sharing your experience and advice.

Hello Marcia,

In my experience, both Abraham Darby and Heritage have had very good germination rates and a good number of seeds are usually contained in their hips. Heritage has tended to produce semi-double seedlings. Abraham Darby, on the other hand, usually produces quite double offspring.

Jude the Obscure has been very difficult as a mother parent. Germination was very low although it does set hips. I will try it again.

Sharifa Asma is no good as a seed parent - the seedlings are all very weak and prone to disease. Perhaps you may want to try it as a pollen parent.

Good luck and have fun!


Thank you for the tips, Mike. Perhaps I’ll start with Abe as the seed parent and try various pollen parents. Any other thoughts for the uninitiated amateur hybridizer will be greatly appreciated. I understand from reading previous posts here that many seedlings are discarded for each one that is kept, so I won’t be too disillusioned if my attempts are unsuccessful.

Heritage and Westerland are both good seed parents. However, I was disapointed in the color of many of the Heritage OP seedlings I grew. They were lovely pastel colors in the morning, but by afternoon our hot desert sun had bleached many them to off-white.


‘Heritage’ is a poor doer in the high heat here in So. CA. It can be lovely in Winter for me. I understand Joan M has quite a lovely seedling from ‘Heritage’ x ‘Westerland’. Congratulations! It sounds really lovely. Any pics or links for that one yet? btw, Abe only sets seeds in the Winter and early Spring here. The pollen is viable over a much greater range of temperatures for me. Thanks, Robert

I use ‘Abraham Darby’ almost exclusively as a pollen parent, since I can get a lot more milage out of it that way. However, my plant will set hips about 50% of the time. I believe the trick is to prune it VERY lightly when you do your pruning, as this tends to make it more inclined to set seed.

I thoroughly encourage you work with ‘Abe’ as a parent, as I have seen some excellent results with it.



This is from a cross of ‘Bonica’ X ‘Abraham Darby’

Link: www.rdrop.com/~paul/modern/bonXabe.one.html

Thanks for the tips, Joan and Robert. I’ll keep your experiences in mind. Paul, that is a beautiful rose.

Thanks for the tip about using Abe. I’ll make a note of that and start keeping a list of what I have and what often does well as a parent.

You can see my first bloom at the link below. It appears the second seedling will also have a yellow bloom, although the bud hasn’t opened yet. I believe the seedlings came from the same hip.


Link: www.people.iup.edu/mmccarty/seedlings/

Robert, there are actually two nice seedlings from the Heritage x Westerland cross, one dark pink and the other apricot. I’ve even got pictures of both of them that several friends with digital cameras have taken. If anyone can tell me how to post a picture (that’s not posted on the internet) I’ll try to show more.


Joan, and any other RHA member who has seedling photos they’d like to place on the RHA web site, please email your photos and brief descriptions to me, and I’ll put them in the RHA Showcase.

Link: www.rosehybridizers.org/showcase.html