Miniatures x gallica

Hi there,

I have a couple of miniature roses that are known to be good seed bearers, such as Rise n’ Shine, and for 2009 I would like to try using pollen from several gallicas, such as Tuscany Superb and Belle Isis.

I don’t care if the F1 generation reblooms and bloom color is not a priority either. My goal is to create a plant that looks like a miniature OGR, with miniature foliage, bloom size between 1-2 inches and plant height maybe between 18-30 inches.

What should I expect from the F1 generation. Will the miniaturizing genes show up in the F1 generation or will the growth be unruly and gangly?

I look forward to your responses,

Brian Smith

Cleveland, Ohio

Hi Brian,

My earliest work included crosses like this, where I used Tuscany Superb on a couple of Miniatures. Black Jade was often used in this early work as the seed parent. None of the offspring, as I recall, looked like Mini OGR’s. There were a few short bushes in the group which stayed under 2 feet, but they had large flowers and normal sized foliage. The majority of this group, however, were large rangy bushes that acted as semi-climbers. Most were pink, usually a darkish pink, and all were once bloomers. I expected as much from a cross such as this. Two out of about 25 were kept: one was a robust bush about 7 X 8 feet, arching and somewhat overly floppy, with 3" deep pink blooms with somewhat HT shape. I used it a few times in breeding and then dumped it when I got nothing but junk. I never got any remontant offspring from it.

The second seedling I kept was a 6 foot plant with upright, somewhat floppy canes and foliage that looked a lot like that of Black Jade. Blooms were 2" across, semi double and very dark red and burned badly in the sun. This too was a once bloomer. It got disease very badly and was never used in breeding. It was a most unattractive plant and didn’t bloom much at all.

I am picturing what you describe as your goal and immediately what comes to mind is the dwarf Centifolia Pompon de Bourgogne, which is a wonderful dwarf OGR. All of its parts are tiny and charming. It has two registered offspring (used it as a seed parent) of which at least one is dwarf. I would explore this as a parent to get what you are looking for rather than going to modern Miniatures for the dwarfism trait. Now, if your goal is to eventually get remontancy into these hybrids, perhaps go all the way back to one of the dwarf China derivatives, such as Oakington Ruby. I’ve done some work with it and found its offspring to often be quite cute and very dwarf. I think most of the modern Miniature breeders have too much HT and Floribunda in them to be very useful in this direction. You are very likely to get a lot of large unruly plants that way.

Just my opinion, of course.


I’ve been looking at this a fair bit lately and have been developing my own theories and crosses and I wanted to ask you Paul, whether you ever did something like this:

Black Velvet x Tuscany Superb → Seedling x self

I won’t go into my theory here just yet but am interested to see if you’ve done this and what happened.

I have done crosses like this where I grew selfings of a Modern X Gallica seedling to see what properties it had in it, but when I found that NONE of the progeny had any remontancy, I abandoned these as breeders. In principle, a cross like that should yield 25% remontant seedlings, but in practice, I find that rarely happens. However, I am going back to one of my early Gallica hybrids (a grandparent of ‘Siren’s Keep’) to try some new experiments with. This time I am not necessarily looking for remontancy, at least not in this generation.

In principle your idea should yield some interesting plants, but I think you will find its very easy to lose the Gallica influence in the first generation. If I were to start over again with Gallicas and do something really interesting, I would not cross them with modern Hybrid Teas or Floribundas or Miniatures, but look to other groups entirely, like the Wichuranas and Rugosas and Noisettes. I think that relying on Hybrid Teas and their kin to get remontancy into your work is likely to get you some of the same old problems (disease, lack of Winter hardiness, etc)and looking in other directions may lead you towards more unique results. There are so many ways to go about this that your options are literally limitless.

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Hi Paul,

I was in fact thinking of Pompon de Bourgogne, but did not realize it was fertile. I was going to try adding that to my small garden this spring anyway, so this might turn out better than I thought. I’ve never seen Pompon de Bourgogne until last spring when I was visiting New York City. There was a small park in Greenwich Village with some plantings where we sat down to enjoy our coffee and I looked over and saw what I am pretty sure was Pompon de Bourgogne. It had all the characteristics of an OGR, but with small miniature foliage and small blooms on a plant that was about 30 inches tall. That image has stuck in my mind this whole time.

I was also planning on using Oakington Ruby as one of my seed bearers, primarily to avoid the genetics for yellow blooms and stay closer to what might have been possible in the mid-19th century.

Thanks for writing,



The assumption that 25% of the selfed offspring from those crosses would be remontant is correct if the roses were diploid. Because Gallicas and most Moderns are tetraploid the theoretical percentage is 2.78% or 1 out of 36. That is probably why you didn

I wonder if one would have more luck by simply breeding small to small, rather than OGR to miniature.

Ive always thought that Baby Austin is cute. What is wrong with using that selection as a jump off point, and mixing in something like Dresden Doll, which is loaded with OGR’s in it’s immediate and distant background. But also, what is wrong with using David Austin’s work? Or any other work of repeating OGR-like roses. For example, the works of Sievers, Dominique Massad or Meilland.

Food for thought…


Thanks for the suggestions! Now that I look at it again, my original message was probably a little misleading. I said “My goal is to create a plant that looks like a miniature OGR.”

Instead of “looks like a miniature OGR,” I should probably have said “that IS a miniature OGR.” I know that using stock from the 20th century will automatically make the F1 generation technically NOT an OGR, but I would like to stay close to the OGR gene pool. And again remontancy is not a priority.


Hmm, Golden Zest may work. For example, Golden Zest x Baby Austin.

Jubilee Celebration is also compact and healthy. However, I have yet to test it as a female parent. It does make pollen, though. Jubilee Celebration x Dresen doll could possibly work.

The one problem I see is that the healthier ones seem to be more modern in color (yelloy and orange tones). The red-purple line of many of the OGR recreations are often plagued with disease =/ but there are some…

Sweet chariot, however, is a close OGR descendant, and possesses a red-purple line which was used in the creation of Week’s line of modern purples. So, lastly, Distant Drums x Sweet Chariot may also work. I think the possibilities are endless. There are tons of modern roses closely descended from OGRs.

Sweet Chariot would be… sweet… it features strongly in the background of Midnight Blue and Ebb Tide… and I’ve been trying to get it for AGES!!!

I wrote an article for the winter RHA newsletter about some of my experiences relating to how the miniature trait is inherited in species hybrids. The truth is that I can

In my experience some minis give full size offspring much more often than others. FWIW

Robert, thanks for the feedback! That totally makes sense. Although I have used a variety of miniatures to cross with species, I have based my comments above on only a portion of these. It

I can tell you Joycie produces an unusually large number of full size offspring. As you know the miniature trait is normally dominant. This dominance seems to break down after miniatures are used with full sized parents after a few generations, or less, which in my opinion is why we now get such larger numbers or mini-flora and floribunda size offspring in mini descendants.

I’ve also had at least one full sized offspring when using Joycie as seed parent with another mini.

I like the growth habit some minis bring to the table. I’m not specifically grow minis. They are means to an end and they certainly take up less space.

I don’t know anything about genectics and probably less than that so excuse me for even trying to explain what little I know about minis. I was under the impression that the miniature trait was a dominant one and that miniature relates to the flower size only and not the plant size. Is there a different gene which controls the plant size and could it be recessive allowing for the large plants in F-1 and then small plants in F-2? Just my thoughts on this complex subject. Thanks


That’s a great observation Patrick. I have no idea. I think the first time I saw Ralph Moore’s ‘Chickadee’ it was close 8’ tall.


If I said this before on an earlier thread, please excuse. Maybe it was in the newsleter, or only in my dreams. Anyway, from the little I have done with minis, I see that we can be getting confused by other factors easily.

First is the determinate stem growth where a flower comes after about 7 leaves, as in glasshouse roses studied in Holland? or somewhere around there. A determinate cane will necessarily be shorter than an indeterminate. So, when I crossed New Dawn by Rise N shine I got something with strong canes but topped out at 2 ft by a large cluster of double white 1.5 inch flowers, repeating all season. A mini-flora in today’s terms. But I also got a once-blooming gold semi on very long canes with small foliage and 1 inch flowers. I should measure the internode interval compared to New Dawn to see for sure but my impression is that both of the offspring have shorter internodes than ND. The one looks more mini because it stops all canes with a flower.

Tetraploidy is another confusing factor. The dominance is not complete, but more like dose-dependent (semi-dominant) A 4x rose with 4 mini genes is probably so micro it is discarded as too micro. Remember that a lot of Ralph Moore’s minis have Little Darling, a small-flowered floribunda in their parentage. So they have mini genes but also smallness genes. Selfs of a lot of minis yield a fair fraction of micros, which may be, or may look like, inbreeding depression. I’d be depressed if I were that small.

Another factor is what I consider dwarfness. Selfs of Circus are very colorful with good sized first flowers, but runty as plants. I’ve grown hundreds but never carried one beyond a year. Internode lengths are short. I may be wrong but don’t think it’s just inbreeding depression in a simple self.

Crosses of minis (having 1 or 2 copies out of 4 possible) with an enormous climber like Doubloons give everything from one size to the other. So far no climbing mini but usually I discard non-remontant plants.

I just realized I need to be counting leaves per stem and internode length for these arguments.

I have some OP seedlings of R. chinensis minima. They are very, very tiny, and have remained tiny a couple weeks after germination. The root and stem are barely threads. I have no idea what the ploidy is but it is clear from these seedlings that the dwarfing trait is a very dwarfing trait.