preferred recurrent roses for foliage

I don’t know how consistently a parent yields a particular type of foliage – when I research lineages, I frequently wonder where a particular cultivar gets its foliar traits – but wondered if folks had any strong parents (recurrent and resistant being higher priorities) for:

-Dark cooler colored (bluish?) foliage

-bronze foliage

-lighter grey foliage

-deep apple green…

-Also, various foliage textures/leaf size

For me, it isn’t necessarily a cultivar’s flower color that looks great, so much as the juxtaposition with the foliage…

I want to known where Dortmund gets its foliage that looks like Holly. I have even seen non-rose folk comment oh how cool it looks. The other kordesiis’ foliage doesnt come close to how they seem to impact the viewer.

Philip, foliage is a great topic! As you may have experienced (at least I did), when first starting with rose breeding, it was everything about the bloom that was noticed - color, number of petals, form, fragrance, number of blooms, bloom cycles, etc., etc. Further along in the hobby, it becomes apparent that there are so many more characteristics to look at - plant architecture, prickles, disease resistance, cold tolerance, drought resistance and FOLIAGE!

Foliage appearance is the first thing that you get to see as the roses break winter dormancy. And, beautiful foliage is so much more hopeful than ugly foliage.

As for what to use for breeding for specific foliage goals, I don’t know what to say. I have had very different sister seedlings showing up from the same cross. One will produce a second generation of seedlings with great foliage, while the other consistently produces second generation seedlings of poorer appearing foliage. Roses that have worked well for me as far as appealing foliage is concerned are ‘Livin’ Easy’, ‘Baby Love’, ‘Abraham Darby’, ‘Stainless Steel’, ‘Marmalade Skies’, ‘Julia Child’, ‘Halo Today’, and ‘First Impression’.

Now that I am mainly using my own specific seedlings as seed parents, it is easy to spot the “families” in the greenhouse even before they bloom. Some groups have very dark foliage, others with a bluish tint, and some with bright green. I have a couple of sister seedlings that I now use as seed parents and while their own seedlings resemble their respective family, the second generation families are very different from one another.

Jim Sproul

I tend to think of foliage as being a little more steadfast in a line than say flower color or even form, but am surprised by the variety of outcomes in more complex hybrids.

I know foliage IS the reason I mess with knockout. There’s just something about it.

This one I will take further hopefully soon. I have a bloom of fragrant cloud about to open… it’s going to go on it for now.


All those above were with KO as seed parent. Here’s a two year old with KO as pollen parent.

(sorry for the inundation of pics)

Nice, I wish KO looked like that in California.

KO is a different rose out here when pressured by powdery mildew, but an absolutely very successful rose where black spot is concerned.

Jim Sproul

I have some presence of PM here in Tennessee. I’ve noticed my crape myrtles seem to be strongly susceptible to it. It’s affecting maybe a quarter of my Carefree Beauty seedlings this year. There’s a little on my two other Graham Thomas seedlings. Perhaps a little on the thinner foliaged species (like palustris). It’s definitely not my main problem though… that would be sawflies.

Jon, a great deal of work has been done with Crape Myrtles in terms of disease resistance. Look for those with American Indian names.