Need Advice - I'm Just Starting Out

Hello all,

I’m excited to be here. I’ve recently become interested in the genetic aspect of plants (due to the pandemic, I’ve taken up some new hobbies). As such, I’d like to try and breed some interesting hybrids. I particularly wanted advice on the following:

  1. What cultivars should I experiment with? I particularly enjoy shrub roses that are orange, purple, bluish, or pastel (brownish as well) in color ( basically, no strong pinks or reds). I am from the Appalachian region of Tennessee, so my zone is on the border of 6b and 7a. I don’t have a goal in mind at this point for what results I would like to achieve, but I would like to begin with these colors. Advice on some good parents would be much appreciated.

  2. How does polyploidy affect the viability of producing a new plant? do I need to breed a diploid with another diploid, or can they have different ploidity?

  3. Is it a good idea to try and incorporate native/species roses into my hybrids (i.e. r. carolina, r. arkansasa) ? I’d be interested in seeing how these plants affect the outcomes of the genetics.

I appreciate any advice that you all may have.

I haven’t had a lot of success with the few purple shrubs I have tried.
Twilight zone got black spot terribly. It didn’t set any hips and due to the blackspot I didn’t try using it’s pollen. Munstead Wood was better for disease but didn’t accept most of the pollen I put on it. I did get one hip from it. It’s pollen, however, was accepted by several different seed parents, no knowledge yet of what it has passed on to seedlings.
I am hoping to continue using Munstead Wood pollen but am looking to gallica and Moss roses for more purple. That is a much longer road than you may want.
With orange I have had some success with Lady of Shallot (pollen) and Lady Emma Hamilton (seed). You may wish to look in a different direction if disease resistance is one of your goals.
Above and Beyond may help in that direction if paired with oranges. It is useful for pollen and somewhat for seed. You will get few repeat bloomers in the first cross, but may want to look for them, or backcross again to gain that.
Lilian Austin can be used for seed or pollen (although not a lot of seeds or high germination rate). Paired with the right thing she can give orange.
I have seeds from Chinook Sunrise, but would recommend pairing it with more saturated color and would be better as a pollen parent.
You will probably want to see if others can recommend better seed parents for these colors, because although some of these can be used they will keep you very limited as to number of seedlings. So best considered pollen parents.

I would recommend it is (along with this forum) the most beneficial information I have found. As a member you can track a roses lineage both directions. This will let you know if there are any recorded descendants for it and whether it was seed or pollen parent.

Hi jwdykes,

  1. Don’t start out worrying about polyploids and diploids. There are some really good triploid roses that come from crossing diploids with tetraploids. Ploidy is relevant to breeding, and some problems can arise crossing ploidy, but when you’re getting started I’d say ignore ploidy and have fun crossing.

  2. Incorporating native species will kill rebloom and produce a high percentage of pinks in the first generation. It also will usually increase vigor, hardiness, and disease resistance. It takes multiple generations to recover modern rose characteristics, but it is fun if you have the patience.


I am more of a beginner than you, but you mention purple roses and I am over the moon with my purple floribunda Blue For You (Pejamblu). In the summer it produced many beautiful semi-double lilac-purple flowers, which hold themselves up well, no drooping, followed by beautiful large orange-red hips, which seem to be full of good seeds (I have just planted some, so will have to see if they germinate). Touch wood but it hasn’t had any diseases yet, no black spot or mildew and the greenfly don’t seem to like it. I am on the south coast of England, where we get mild winters that almost never dip below freezing and relatively cool summers, a maritime climate. Though we did have a week or so of intensely hot weather in August, which didn’t seem to bother this rose at all.

Blue for You has been RUDELY healthy for me in California, too. NO fungal issues what so ever. It’s a fertile triploid which appears to self pollinate early. MANY seedlings I’ve raised from it have been obvious selfs. Most are wonderfully scented, as it is. Eyes for You is an offspring from Blue for You and like it, is RUDELY healthy, though many of its offspring tend to “run rampant”. It’s related to Bull’s Eye, except Eyes has NO fungal issues while Bull’s Eye suffers mildew. Fertile triploids can lead to some rather remarkable results!

Like weeds…it’s very fertile and germinates easily. In Sydney, Australia here so climate is a bit different, but it’s the third most prolific germinator for me (after 2 species which are declared weeds in parts of Australia). But like Kim mentions it’s self pollinates early. It accepts a number of species pollen that other moderns don’t too.

To everyone who wrote back, thank you so much for the advice! I’m very excited to be getting started.

I have one more question: I have a cutting that I was able to root (I don’t know the variety). It is still very small - thus, should I put it outside in a pot, in the ground, or keep it inside under my grow lamp?

Welcome to the group of hybridizers - an excellent hobby that can keep you occupied all year. What I would recommend, if you have not already done so, is to get the two booklets from the RHA that you can order. The basic is one we have called the “blue book” for years titled Rose Hybridizing For Beginners and the follow on one titled Rose Hybridizing “The Next Step”. Both are filled with tips, etc., that will serve you well. I do wish you the best in your efforts.
John Moe

Regarding your rooted cutting, I would think much depends on your winter. Here we have long, cold winters and many young ones don’t survive. Of course much would depend on what type of rose as well. I keep young cuttings in pots under lights and get them well established before putting them out the next spring. That is all except Rugosa offspring I have that don’t seem to mind winter at all.
Perhaps others can give other thoughts based upon other climates.

I recommend getting a copy of the old newsletters.

Perhaps two interesting papers:,_2018._Vol._1(1),_45-50.pdf and Genetics and genomics of flower initiation and development in roses - PMC