Tactical question

A few years ago I germinated some open pollinated seeds from Harlikan. I kept 5 seedlings and all showed similar traits. Thick, small, deep green oil-slick shiny foliage, very disease resistant, long stems that exhibit either lateral growth or clusters on the ends. Mainly, pretty two-toned blooms, repeat flowering.

I’d like to get this foliage and vigorous health into a more shrubby type bush with larger blooms. Given that climbing is a dominant trait, how would you proceed? Or would you give up on this line?

I would think you wouldn’t want to give up as VDR isn’t that common. If the climbing trait is dominant likely one of the plants you mentioned only has one climbing gene. So 50% of progency crossed with a shrub type should be ‘shrubby’. If all the progency of a cross like this is climbing you now know that all that progency has 1/2 ‘shrubby’ genes. So if a F1 generation is all climbing, but still with the health and foliage you want, another cross with ‘shrubby’ should get you 50% shrubby. As to parent, I can’t tell you what to pick. I’d say something close to the other traits you’re looking to add.

So you might get to the shrubbiness you want in one generation or it might take two. The complexity comes in whether you’re keeping the VDR and foliage you want. If that starts to disappear, you have two options. One is a backcross to the parent (which may reintroduce the climbing you don’t want, you’d have to select against it), or by sibling crosses. The strongest reinforcement would be from the parent.

Take care (sounds interesting!!!)

Chris Mauchline

SE PA, zone 6

I agree with Chris, but would add the warning that if you backcross or make sibling crosses you might see a decline in vigor and health due to inbreeding depression. Which is not a huge issue, because inbreeding depression can be reversed by simply crossing the plant with any unrelated plant, but something to be aware of anyway.



Inbreeding is a helpful thing too. Inbreeding could really help capture the wanted traits, and infact, many of the Meiland roses out there are crosses of self seedlings. Made up example… (Zambra x Zambra) x (Gold Bunny x Gold Bunny)…

Inbreeding does not equate sick and weak… only if such geans from those traits are passed on. Otherwise if you select out those bad genes, a rose may perhaps be selved for many generations without any problem.

I have an example of inbreeding in the human population for the things I have said above.

In the Amish communities in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana, there are several members with a rare anemia that is a recessive gene. Along with it, there is also a high frequency of dwarfism, having 6 fingers per hand, hemophilia, etc.

And yet… we have the ancient Egyption royal family where brother and sisters were obligated to marry and have children, and yet there is no indication of the bad genetic things going on.

You see, if the genes for bad traits are present and are not selectively eliminated, then those genes will be present in offspring.

But if one self-seedlings and selectively remove those bad genes, then they will not be present.

So yeah, maybe it is easier to breed two different roses and get something healthy. But yet, there will be recessive genes. Perhaps the next step in breeding roses is to selectively eliminate bad genes for several generations until we have a seedling that has no recessive genes for bad traits. And then cross those seedlings with each other.

Inbreeding worries me less in plants than in animals. It’s easy to cull a plant because it picked up bad recessive traits. Not so easy in animals (including humans).

You might even try crossing it with some of the minis. I have had some good shiny foliaged shrubs coming out of ‘Tobo’. It is true that sometimes you have to go to the 2nd generation with climbers to get rid of the climbing habit. I would also try floribundas. Although ‘Angel Face’ has its problems with disease, it tends to bring down the size of the plant, while still giving nicely shaped larger foliage. I also love using ‘Livin’ Easy’ - clean shiny foliage too.

Just my 2 cents worth.

Jim Sproul

Yes… Livin Easy is a wonderful plant. I got some good slightly mossy seedlings from it with Gold Moss’ pollen.

And there is the red englishy Livin Easy x R. kordesii seedling that Jim is growing. It is very pretty. I’ll load the picture Jim sent to me, but I don’t have a webpage, and most of the image hosting sites won’t allow outside linking.

Jim, do you know if it is a climber or a shrub yet? Does the red fade? Last week I was thinking about it. I am going to make the same cross again this coming year.

Thanks for the advice. I hadn’t thought of mini’s, but given the small foliage that makes sense. It also would be nice to get an Angel Face bloom with disease resistant foliage. I had to laugh, Jim, when I read your comment about AF bringing down the size. The one AF seedling I have kept from last year has a gorgeous bloom but does’t look like it wants to get bigger than 6".

Good ideas!