Rosa Bracteata

In order for Ralph Moore to be using Rosa Bracteata and its hybrids, there must be something special about it but I cannot seem to put my finger on it. It is supposed to be disease resistant, but it seems like there are hardier roses that could be used. Can anyone fill me in what is special about this rose? Are there any hybrids worth using?


Shane Greenburg

"Are there any hybrids worth using? "

If you are happy with roses the way they are, the answer would be, no.

If you are interested in breeding only the most cold hardy roses you would have no interest in bracteata.

Disease/insect resistance and vigor are more important to me than hardiness.

You answered your own question.

Speaking of the species:

Rosa bracteata has several things going for it here in zone 6b. (Where black spot, japanese beetles, and other things are rose problems.)

Bracteata is an evergreen rose. The leaves are not only totally resistant to Black Spot, Cercospora and Anthracnose, but they look good their whole life span.

It repeat blooms without much care (and requires nothing of the pampering that ‘modern’ roses demand and require).

Even though I’m supposed to be out of its zone, it is a good grower here and consistant bloomer. Mine survived the Easter Freeze with no lasting damage; they lost some flower buds but no stems.

(For neighborhoods where a thorny pest deterrant might be needed, it’s got thorns that are sharp enough to get the attention of the least wonderful pests, two legged and otherwise.)

Yes, a wonderful rose where one has the SPACE to let it grow naturally. I’ve been trying to kill my original specimen for two years as it got too big and I want to concentrate on the Moore hybrids. Bracteata is a very tough rose.

I’ve had success with ‘Precious Dream’ and ‘Star Dust’ as pollen parents. ‘Precious Dream’ will set viable seed some seasons in my climate.

I’ve seen it treated quite handsomely by training and pruning along a low (c. 3 feet high) fence. The glittering foliage and crystalline white flowers are stunning and look impossibly cool despite searing sun and heat. It still manages to repeat all summer that way, unlike many of its more water-demanding companions. But, ouch, those thorns!

One point on the disease resistace. I love the Ralph Moore roses and will always have some of his bracteata (Especially Tangerine Jewel with I love for some reason). I have not found the ones that I have owned to be overly disease resistant. At least not when I lived in Nebraska. This list would include Tangerine Jewel, Out of Yesteryear, Pink Powderpuff (I really like this one) and Precious Dream (never did well for me in NE).

By the way, I just read that Sequoia is closing when I went to verify that Pink Powderpuff was a brachteata. Didnt know that. Will have to make one final order. Its been a yearly tradition for me over years.

In some climates, some of the Bracteata hybrids from Sequoia are quite Blackspot resistant. ‘Precious Dream’ is totally disease free in my garden, as is ‘Star Dust’. Are they useful for breeding purposes? That depends what you want to achieve, and what you plan to pair them with. If you cross any of these with modern HT’s and Floribundas, they wont do much for you that any other hybrid would.

If you haven’t already, read the article linked below.



Shane wrote: “Disease/insect resistance and vigor are more important to me than hardiness.” and Robert wrote: “If you are interested in breeding only the most cold hardy roses you would have no interest in bracteata.”

I agree with Robert about avoiding bracteata if you want to breed only the most cold hardy roses. But I think you can still get a decent degree of cold-hardiness in bracteata hybrids, by combining with certain other cold hardy roses.

For example, although bracteata itself will make it through the occassional mild winter here [in Maryland], most winters will freeze it back severely (very often to death). But I’ve got hybrids now, bracteata X (rugosa x palustris), that have grown canes to 8 or 9 feet with not even the tips freezing back. I’m sure that even more cold-hardiness would be possible in future generations, especially if these half-bracteatas were crossed to other especially cold hardy roses.

So I certainly wouldn’t completely give up on the idea of incorporating some of the great bracteata attributes into relatively cold hardy roses. And bracteata is a very unique rose – it’s definitely worthy of a hybridizer’s consideration.

Tom, have you gotten any fertility using bracteata X (rugosa x palustris)yet?

That’s a wonderful hybrid.

Thanks Robert. It’s one that I think has a lot of potential, because… these seedlings DO set open-pollinated hips.

I haven’t done a whole lot yet with these guys… the first year of bloom I tried using rugosa pollen on the few flowers, but all of them aborted. I had figured that meant they were relatively sterile. So imagine my surprise when they set a scattering of hips on their own, the next season. They’ve continued to do this for two more years. So I feel pretty safe in saying that they have a consistent (but low) level of fertility. The hips, although typical in size (for what you’d expect from a blend of bracteata rugosa and palustris), usually only have anywhere from 1-7 developed seeds. I have to admit that I’ve been neglectful in trying to grow these seeds. Letting all of them die so far. Although, I had one that was almost a foot tall in its pot before I forgot to water it. Maybe this year I’ll do better.

I’ll post a link below that shows one of these bracteata hybrids. I had a nice detailed page set up [with lots of pictures] on a different web host, but it has had such poor service that it’s essentially unavailable. So my description will have to do for now. Most of them are white-flowered (the one at the link is the only pink one). The foliage varies greatly depending on how much rugosa influence or swamp rose influence they’ve received. They haven’t really rebloomed, although one of them did have a few scattered blooms this season, so who knows…

All have an agressive growth habit, with long arching thorny canes. Which reminds me… I plan on cutting them back severely and moving them this Spring to their permanent home, since they’ve been wearing out their welcome at my parents house all of these years. From your comments about trying to kill your bracteata for two years, I’m sure you understand that they’re not exactly well-suited to a small yard ;0)

I can’t wait to see what they do with a little more elbow room.


Wow, that’s a beauty Tom. I hope you can take these further.


Thanks again Robert!

By the way, you can probably see from the picture that this one happens to be one that leans more toward its rugosa grandparent (rather than the swamp rose) in its foliage appearance. It also got the rugosa prickly-ness.

My current thought is that I should try matching these guys with a Miniature to reduce stature and maybe get some rebloom.

I’ve reserved/ordered two plants of Ralph Moores ‘Joycie’ from Sequoia Nursery (after reading of their coming closure) and hopefully these’ll do the trick. In the meantime, I’m in the process of shelling out the open-pollinated hips [using needle-nose pliers and a steak knife, since they’re so wickedly spiny too] and planning on taking a little better care of any germinants this time.

Thanks for your interest and encouragement, Tom

Great minds Tom! I already have bracteata and banksia descendants out of ‘Joycie’. If you can’t get a hybrid out of Joycie, it’s not likely to happen.

She’s that fertile. Of course your stuff is going to be totally unique. I can’t wait to see what you get.

I second what Robert says. If ‘Joycie’ won’t produce offspring, nothing will. She’s a ho! The seeds are large and easy to handle, and nearly every one germinates. The only other rose equally as willing to produce volumes of seed is ‘Sequoia Ruby’, a ‘Floradora’ hybrid. The ‘Floradora’ breeding line may be noteworthy. :wink:

I grew bracteata. I thought the flower buds were cool. I liked the way it would bloom fine on hot days, too. But I was not impressed with the nasty thorns, ravenous growth patterns and random blackspot. Messing with it as a gardener was not my idea of a picnic. It reminded me of trying to deal with The Fairy --a dense mess of ow.

My bracteata hybrids definitely got the “nasty thorns” and “ravenous growth patterns”. As for the “random blackspot”, I can’t remember seeing any of that on bracteata or its babies. Your local race of blackspot is probably different than what we typically get here.

As for the “dense mess of ow”, you’re right on the money… I’m already gettin’ scared of the job I’ve got ahead of me.

And thanks for the information about ‘Joycie’, Robert and Paul.

Ho, Ha, Ha, Ha! LOL LOL

Sounds like my kind of rose!

I’ll be looking forward to trying some other difficult crosses on ‘Joycie’ too.

Oh, I almost forgot to ask, does ‘Joycie’ work well as pollen parent too?

Best wishes, Tom

I really appreciate all of the responses from everyone.

I think I now understand the interest in the rose. I knew that it was disease resistant to blackspot but not to cercospora and anthracnose (which is a major problem in my area). I did not know it was a repeat bloomer. I also did not know it could be grown in zone 6b (my zone). Most importantly, it sounds like it can pass on its good traits to its offspring.

Paul, thanks for posting (and writing it) that article. It is extremely interesting.

Thanks again,


Oregon is notorious for any fungal disease, lol, but specifically blackspot.