Teaching hybridising?

Hi, all,

I’ve been asked by the local rose society to give a talk on hybridizing, and was wondering, other than Keep Meticulous Records, what other advice you guys think it might be important to give. I realize I’m only a hack hybridizer myself, but nobody else in the group has ever tried this before. I’m sure they’ll all want to hybridize modern roses, something I don’t do because to be honest, they just don’t do that well here.

From one hack to another :slight_smile: and as a teacher…

I’d start with how to select good parents… teach how to use HMF and where to find information on this (like here).

Then maybe gently guide them towards the importance of selecting varieties and species that are suited to an area to link the previous point to this one by developing a list of roses that do we there, what each one can pass on, and from that select a handfull of fertile examples that people might want to start with… a list of proven performers and maybe mention some of the issues that cause infertility as either a pollen parent or a seed parent and why it’s important therefore to select proven parents to start with.

Maybe link your record keeping in then to discuss the naming conventions like seed parent x pollen parent, OP parents as seedling of… etc

It’s winter over there isn’t… so you won’t have access to many flowers… I have loads of flowers right now. Would you like me to take a series of sequential photos for you to show each step along the way? I can use something large and single like Altissimo that makes loads of pollen and that will show up well in a macro shot and whose parts are large and clear for demonstration purposes (might be interesting to do an Altissimo x self cross too… might let it develop afterwards too - it’s fertile as a seed parent too).

I’d then follow on with the best way to get started is to practice with OP hips then when to harevst, extracting the seeds, cold stratification, and germinating the seeds.

And then, I’d finish off by recommending they join the RHA and buy the introdcutory booklet for more information as well as the back issues of Newsletter and the nest step booklet :slight_smile:

How long have you got LOL

1-Define a goal: from best x best to new attempts as were miniatures, scented shrubs or ground cover for Moore, Austin or Noak respectively.

2-Elaborate a strategy. Among others here is parent choice.

3-Develop hability at every and all steps of breeding work in his/her environment.

First and foremost: teach them how to grow viable seeds, harvest them and germinate them. Selecting parents for specific traits and all the other fine points are secondary to simply getting some seedlings to grow…ANY seedlings. The novice wants to see a plant bloom from seed within three months of sowing the seeds, so aim for that goal first. Diving right in to a list of complicated plans and establishing difficult goals right off the bat isn’t going to mean a thing unless the person has accumulated some basic experience with growing roses from seed.

Feel free to make the following document available to your group, Fa.

Link: www.paulbardenroses.com/seedproduction.2004.html


Yeah, see a plant bloom within three months of sowing… that’s definitely the case. I’ll wait for two years, but I doubt that would fly with newbies.


Great ideas but I agree with Paul; first get them hooked by actually growing some seeds!


Excellent ideas, thanks so much! And thanks for the offer of pictures. As it is, I have some minis in the greenhouse that should be blooming then, I was planning to use them for hands-on experience.

Who knows, maybe we’ll get some new members!

47 seedlings in the greenhouse and counting!


Fara, As a fairly new to hybridising (2.5 seasons) victim, I second the basics as outlined by Paul; When to harvest(use O.P. the first Yr.) How to germinate, How to grow, along with a short list of sites,i.e., Paul Bardon, Henry Kuska, Jim Sproul,Malcolm Manners, etc.(for those who do want to get into it seriously)and of course an application and personal recommendation that they join RHA, get the 2 booklets, and then for immediate oo’s and ah’s show a few slides to show how rewarding and quickly they get results…and if they don’t, it is pretty easy to try again next yr. and inexpensive to boot.


Yeah, I hope to convey to them that there is absolutely nothing like the anticipation and thrill of watching a rose bloom for the first time, and knowing that nobody else will ever have seen anything quite like it!

Applications are a good idea too!


I would add that it’s important to use what works in your climate and situation. Just because something works for someone else doesn’t mean it’s going to work well where you live.

People thought I was crazy when I began hybridizing in this climate. (I’m sure many still do) I’m likely the only one who’s ever tried it.

In the beginning I observed what set seed reliably, grew out OP seed and observed what I might expect from the seed parent and went from there. Without fertility you don’t have much.

Each individual has to start with what works best and move forward.

I’m VERY new to rose hybridising and find this site facinating. I have floated all over the internet for several years reading truths, myths and rumors about breeding roses. I have basically stopped reading much more than Paul Bardin, Jim Sproul and a few links from the ARS. I think that Paul is right about getting folks to germinate a few seeds and see blooms in a couple of months. Two years ago I grabbed some hips from a rental we had. I couldn’t believe it when I saw MY first blooms. Boy we they ugly, but I caught the bug. I’ve purchased as many mini roses recommended on Paul’s site as I can find. I’m planning trips to several rose nurseries this Spring to try and get a few more varieties.

I moved from CA to Oregon about a year ago and I’m ripping out all the backyard lawn for rose beds. I can’t wait for spring. Any way, thanks folks for the great information. My wife thinks I’m nuts, but she’ll be the beneficiary in a few years.

So Fara, my recommendation is to go for the quick bloom. I Most folks will get hooked. I did.

go to it jeff!!


Based on personal experience I’d say Paul is right. When you start out you just want something to germinate. I started many years ago with Fairy Moss and I have never again found such a sure fire seed setting germinator. Would still love to find a source for it. I never got anything memorable, but I never tried to go past the first generation. Today I might be able to make something of it even if it wouldn’t be groundbreaking. Bob Williams

Hi Fara,

Making it easy with early results (what Paul said) is absolutely the best way to help newbies discover this fantastic hobby.

It might be worth giving them a list of easy to use parents too so that they don’t plant a bunch of seeds that won’t germinate. That was one of my early frustrations.

Making this hobby easy and less mysterious is key.

Best wishes on your presentation!

Jim Sproul

Read this: Plant Breeding For Dummies