Looking at the F2 generation

A hybridizer just starting out may get the impression that if a seedling does not have a world beater flower that it should be discarded. Unfortunately, that type of thinking has been a major contributer to the situation where we now need to spray, winter protect, fertilize heavily, bud on to a different rootstock, etc. (i.e. treat roses as very weak plants).

I suggest that you plant out all of the F1 crosses (if possible) and look for ability to rebloom (even if the flower is ugly), disease resistance, fertility, and vigour. Then cross these selected F1 plants (using both specific and mixed pollen) and also let some open pollinate to determine what potential there is in the F2 generation.

Another way of stating this is to suggest that you attempt to develop your own breeding lines. This will add another dimension to your hybridizing.


I believe my plans include a modified form of this:

If the rose due to bloom or other characteristic is a “keeper” I plan to spray it with a modified Cornell Spray (Link is What is an organic disease control program that has been scientifical)

If my rose won’t thrive under this regime, it’s too weak for me (I may do something organic for insects re: Japanese beetles mid-year for insects.)

If the rose isn’t a “keeper” I still plan to plant it out with absolutely no spray and minimal fertilizer (perhaps something for insects at the height of the season). If the rose survives and thrives under this regimen, I’ll test it for fertility to see if I can capture those ‘health’ genes.


Chris Mauchline

SE PA, zone 6

Link: faq.gardenweb.com/faq/lists/rosesorg/2002060555024255.html


I have found over the past ten years work with roses that often a mediocre seedling will improve significantly in its vigor and disease resistance in its second and third year. It pays to not be overly hasty in culling out potentially decent seedlings. Try not to pass final judgement until you have seen their behaviour in year 2.


But the problem with that, or at least for a few hybridizers, is room. I’ve only kept 6 seedlings of my breeding, although I’ve done a lot of crosses. If I had lots of land, then I would probably fill it up with seedlings of my breeding program… Most of my seedlings are under 2 years, my oldest is about 4 and pretty nice. It’s a cross of Ole and Queen Elizabeth and one of my firsts although not as nice as other ones I’ve created.

I am pleased with Henry’s comment about the value of developing breeding lines. While most breeders are anxious to get relatively quick results by only crossing cultivars, if one can be patient there is much more potential to develop high quality roses if an exceptional breeding line can be developed. The focus should also include developing new types of rose, since that is the ultimate in rose breeding accomplishments. New types of roses, of course, are usually developed through breeding lines.