Suckering Seedling

My best seedling of 2006 is a Henry Kelsey op. It germiniated in April, flowered all summer and is now sending up a new shoot from it’s roots about 3 inches away from the main plant. I’m thrilled because I’m hybridizing for hardy large climbers/shrubs for large landscapes and would welcome a spreading habit. I would imagine that this would be a negative trait in the rose hybridizing world. I was wondering if any one has had spreading seedlings, how this is looked upon as a trait and any thoughts or comments.

Also with this new growth forming should I bring it inside and let it develop or let it go into winter dormancy. This area has already experienced several frosts, though this seedling is still green and growing. Thanks for any advice.

I would cover both shoots with separate clear plastic gallon milk containers with the bottom cut out and the top left off. I probably would also add some perlite in the containers. I would hold the containers in place with wire “stakes” - “hooks” obtained from metal coat hangers or other stiff wire and by pileing dirt around the outside base of the containers.

Concerning suckering/spreading habit:

Others may consider it an undesirable trait, but I’ve always had an appreciation for suckering roses. It makes for a little more work in keeping them from growing out of bounds, but it makes propagation a no-brainer and it adds to the “survivability” (is that even a word) of the rose. Besides, anytime someone wants a non-spreading version, they could use a grafted version of the spreader.

And while we’re on the subject, I thought I’d share a funny [to me] story about suckering types. Over the weekend, I finally found time to plant some year-old rose seedlings that I had growing in pots. Several of these were from crosses between various native North American tetraploids (for example: Rosa arkansana X virgininiana, Rosa arkansana X carolina, etc.). So… when I picked up the pots, I had to yank on them because roots had grown, through the holes, into the soil. But… I discovered that it wasn’t just roots… some of them had actually sent runners/stolons out into the soil. They weren’t gonna wait any longer for me to plant them in the ground – they decided to go ahead and plant themselves. Now that’s the epitome of self-sufficiency in a rose ;0).


From another point of view, suckering may make for a better choice for folks dealing with roses in areas where Rose Rosette Disease is endemic. When one sucker gets sick, and gets removed, you would still have healthy roses, IF you catch the disease fast enough.

Basye’s Legacy has a tendency to produce offspring that sucker and spread underground. A few of my seedlings using this line of breeding look like they will have a propensity for forming thickets.

Noteably “Lyn Griffith” is one. It also descends from R. acicularis via, ‘Dornroschen’. It is more of less smooth much of the time.

So far it’s an easy seed parent.


Rosa aricularis x R-15 is sending out suckers already.

Wow, that one sounds fun. Will you try to breed repeat back into it?

It’s from Henry’s seeds. I am going to cross it with (New Year x Baby Love) and International Herald Tribune when it finally blooms.

International Herald Tribune is having a beautiful Fall flush here right now. It occasionally sets hips for me so I’m using it a bit. I’ll definitely move some pollen.

I think these R-15 descendants are interesting. The Rugelda x R-15 from buds that Henry sent me are growing like weeds. They are amazingly prickled. Perhaps this come from rugosa?

The prickles remind me of ‘Conrad Ferdinand Meyer’.

The prickles come from Hazeldean, I think. R15 has lots of prickles, nearly all thin, in the spinosissima fashion.

Theyre “fuzzy” on mine. A lot of them stems are smooth or have the multitude of soft, tiny prickles that feel “fuzzy.”

I have an odd suckering story to tell.

Last year I planted a Touch of Class hybrid tea on Dr. Huey rootstock. Early this year I had an odd cane come up directly between this Touch of Class and it’s neighbor 3’ away, a John Sheldon’s Orilla hybrid tea. Curiosity got the better of me so I left it alone and very soon it bloomed and turned out to be a Touch of Class sucker. I used my spade shovel and cut down halfway between the sucker cane and the TOC mother plant and I ended up with another TOC plant that I promptly planted and low and behold it grew into another TOC own-root bush. This process repeated itself FOUR times this year so I ended up with four new TOC own root bushes. I ended up giving two of them to friends as I don’t need them. I lost one due to my negligence. I still have one that I am continuing to grow the one I have left. Two of the suckers started out with two canes–the ones I gave away. IS this odd or what???

Cool story, huh??

John Moody