Not wanting to go too off topic


When the “Reply to Message” block comes up, it comes with my name, address and the same subject line as immediately preceeding. I just click on the last of it, hit back space multiple times, and put in a title that’s a bit more descriptive.

Ralph recognized early on that a seedling’s ability to root easily from cuttings was of great advantage to the nurseryman, and so he selected for this trait as much as possible. Many of the easiest roses to propagate came out of his Wichurana hybrid 0-47-19, which I am also working with, many thanks to Ralph’s generosity. Most of its offspring are astonishingly easy to root from cuttings. Case in point, I am currently building up stock of 45-03-08 (a white blend cascading shrub from 0-47-19 X Crepuscule. See link below ) which roots very quickly and is ready to pot up in as little as 7 days, rarely taking more than 11 days. That is indeed a valuable trait in a rose now that skilled budders are disappearing from the industry. I expect an ostensibly own-root industry within 20 years, so I am planning accordingly.

As for ‘Midnight Blue’, it may indeed be poor on its own roots (mine is budded, direct from Weeks: I have never tried to root cuttings of it, being observant of its patent and all that) but it is superb when budded. Mine is three years old now and is about 5 feet tall and 3.5 wide. I can attest to the fact that it produces of plenty of seedlings that have excellent which perform beautifully on their own roots. I have seedlings from ‘Midnight Blue’ that are now two years old from seed and exceed 6 X 6 feet in the test garden. Some of my 2009 crop of seedlings bred from it exceed three feet tall and have had to be moved into 5 gallon cans by August 15th. Roses that don’t do well own-root can breed better own-root performers when mated with the right thing.


Simon, I agree that if you have an unusual intermediate plant that lacks some vigor, that to push it along, you may choose to bud it to a vigorous rootstock. But I also agree that the end goal in using intermediates should be to produce plants having excellent own root vigor.

In my mind, there are only three good reasons to bud roses - 1) to produce standards (tree roses); 2) to speed up propagation (one bud grafted onto a vigorous rootstock will more quickly produce lots of canes for further budding or rooting); and 3) for the exhibitors, to produce exhibition blooms that have the edge over the competition. The first and second reasons apply to my own goals.

Just like it is easy to see the difference in disease resistance in an unsprayed garden, it is easy to see the difference between great own root roses and poor ones when sticking cuttings from several different seedling varieties into the same flats. When I repot them after 2 weeks, some have a great plug of roots when pulled up, while others just pull up out of the flat with just a callus at the end of the cutting. The later should be discarded unless they have some great quality that you want to breed with that is not available in another seedling/variety.

Another minor though important point to make is that vigor on own roots and own rooting ability are not synonymous. Some puny seedlings root rather easily (producing more puny plants), while some vigorous seedlings (original un-grafted) do not (though with some coaxing will produced own root plants that will develop into vigorous plants like the original seedling).

I agree that great ability to own root is the way of the future.

Jim Sproul

Roses that don’t do well own-root can breed better own-root performers when mated with the right thing.

See… that’s what I mean and is what I meant when I said that I might do it to keep a breeding line going, or as Jim put it, to create an intermediary. ‘Midnight Blue’ was just an example I could remember and it stood out to me because it is now so popular and useful in breeding. I wonder if you would have culled it Paul if it was in your seed trays/seedling pots and it showed poor vigour on its own roots? The question then comes back… would you routinely bud those wimpy seedlings to see what they’ve got hidden up their sleeves to test whether it is the whole plant that is a dud or just the roots? Following Ann’s line a bit… if you had a seedling that was a poor performer in one potting mix would you put it in another, with a different pH, to see if it performed better… and in doing so further ratify the weak plant vs a weak root system dilema? Confirming Ann’s experiences, ‘Dr Huey’ does very poorly here because my soil has a pH around 5-6 and things budded onto it (which is standard practice for nurseries here in most cases) also fail to thrive… case in point was ‘Burgundy Iceberg’. It was budded onto ‘Dr Huey’ and did poorly… then I struck cuttings of it and it is doing much better with far better health/resistance… so easily one might wonder why it was ever budded in the first place (Jim… I’ve been playing around lately with striking tiny cuttings using some of Mr Moore’s early minis like ‘Red Cascade’, ‘Magic Carrousel’, ‘Green Ice’, and ‘Antique Rose’. I’ve been making cuttings no more than 25-30mm long that have two buds on them. The bottom one is pushed into the soil because roots appear easily from this point and the top one remains above the soil surface and so far it’s been very successful. I’ve been able to get lots and lots of propagating material from single plants. My ‘Magic Carrousel’ plant gave me more than 300 cuttings this way when I pruned it this year and pretty much all of them have taken). I imagine budding all these poor growers would be an arduous task and I could spend my time more fruitfully on other things and I would probably get to the point where I would rather bin them and move on unless it was something I really wanted… I also would like to see totally own-root roses.

I might add a fourth reason to bud Jim… to avoid suckering in the garden (though these days this doesn’t protect me from it as I now prefer to bury the graft to encourage grafted plants to become own-root over time).