Thoughts on florist roses?

Has anyone on this forum had good results using florist roses?
I was wondering folks had insights as to what general attributes florist roses might contribute to seedlings and if there were any merits in using such to create garden roses. To be clear, i do want low maintenance garden plants, and question to what extent any given flower might yield such even if crossed with a solid landscaping rose.

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I honestly don’t think there would be any benefit for health or vigor from florist roses as they tend to be selected for flower production under very controlled conditions and are usually highly chemically treated. The few “organic” cut flower producers all tend to use garden roses.


Of course, there are “escapee” florist roses, such as Black Baccara, Kardinal 85, and others I can’t remember right now before my coffee…

I’ve used Kardinal with some success, but I can’t really speak to disease resistance.

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Part from disease resistance which you wouldn’t find easily in florist roses, you would be able to get long lasting flowers usually on long stems and a non fading color. This trait could be interesting when you have another parent with al the traits you could wish for in a rose, part from long flower stems. Some roses tend to have very short stems. Flowers get cluttered in dense boucquets on a single stem. Boucquet parfait and Alchemist have this. I find it to be less elegant.
Damasks and rugosa also have this, but the flowers don’t come all at once. In short… :blush: I think if you’d select the right florist rose you could create elegant rugosa’s or damasks/portlands with long lasting flowers.
But honestly I 'd look for a selection of good garden roses to work with.

A sidenote: florist roses are fed very well. Some won’t grow well under normal garden conditions. This trait is something you’d want to avoid.

Pascali was an interesting florist rose that is used as garden plant also. But compared to current standards in disease resistance it doesn’t do so well.


Yeah… These were my assumptions. But it does occur to me that hybridizers of florist roses likely never cross pollinate with roses in the less-refined landscape rose class, and i wondered if the possibilities of overcoming florist roses’ poorer attributes was a highly-improbable long shot, or if it was flat-out unfeasible.

Looking at pedigrees of supposed healthy roses, I often wonder how the good health could have arisen, and wondered if maintaining any of the better attributes (repeat bloom, large flowers, etc.) might be achieved while hanging such (presumably somewhat compromised) blossoms on comparably healthy plants.

My usual experience when trying to pair parents in hopes of obtaining the best attributes of each, is to find that mother nature selects for the worst of both.

Of course the parents tend to reflect the best tenth of a percent of offspring of any given cross, and I shouldn’t expect offspring to reflect the best of each parent’s phenotype.

I wish I could see lineages of florist roses to help devine whether genotypes might hold promise.


If you have cleaner roses to work with, you may find that combining them with florists roses can give you something new and desirable. It’s very interesting seeing how divergent genetics combine (clean shrub x florist rose). Otten you will get results that were not predicted.

Here is a brand new very fragrant seedling that I got with a cross between ‘Gemini’ and one of my cleanest seedling. I was pleasantly surprised by the very nice fragrance. I’ll have to wait until next year to find out how much of the pollen parent’s disease resistance was retained…


That is a beautiful first bloom, Jim. Love the peony-look. Fingers crossed for that seedling.

Years ago I tried crossing florist roses onto shrub roses like ‘George Vancouver’. At least these crosses struggled and grew a bit awkwardly. It may have been just the specific crosses. If I understand correctly, Frank Benardella and David Bang have used some florist roses in their work.

As said, it seems like with selecting in very different environments (garden and florist production greenhouses) that the genetics have diverged enough that it is hard to bridge groups without likely multiple generations to bring a trait into something commercial in the other group. Maybe with some really healthy garden roses that could overshadow the black spot susceptibility of cut roses and one can get roses with the lasting durability, colors, straight stems, etc. of some of the special cut roses??

With cut roses being generally very winter tender, I’ve avoided trying again to get some and cross with the better hardy garden roses I have access to now. Maybe when I’m at the grocery store or Sam’s Club again, I may not be able to resist and will break down and try again :0). Many sure are beautiful!


Honestly, as an amateur with relatively few seedlings of any merit under his belt (but a spectacular number of failures, mind you) I don’t know how many attempts I would need to make to give a realistic evaluation of the relative merits/deficits a florist rose would bring to the table.

The rose that prompted my asking was “Esperance,” a bouquet of which I picked up at Costco for my wife. The blooms were still attractive 2 weeks in (despite my being too lazy to trim stems or refresh the vase!) The leaves were looking a bit discolored and ragged, but I was very impressed with the size and holding power of the blossoms, and wondered what crossing such might do with e.g. Earth Angel – a very healthy, but not overly generous bloomer for me here in TX. It’s architecture leaves a little to be desired too, imho. I tend to look at is as failed climber. (I don’t think E.A. appreciates my climate and soil very much. Few roses honestly do. I don’t know if, with a little more pampering, it might prove more fertile than I have thus far seen. My most double blooms seem to get passed over by the bees, and require a bit more effort to prove their fertility.)

As long as I am going astray on tangents…
Another relatively infertile rose (bees have very easy access to this one’s internal parts) but among the happiest looking plants I have in my central TX garden currently is Kardinal Kolorscape. It is drought tolerant and spectacularly clean for me with dense, dark, lustrous foliage. Alas, it’s dark velvety blooms suffer in the hottest sun, and are rather sterile. I assume it is a triploid and as such, there appears to be a modicum of fertility using its pollen at least. (I assume some rogue pollen might pair with both diploid and tetraploid mothers, but wonder as to the odds of offspring not likewise creating relatively sterile mules.) I seem to have hip set on some other plants using KK’s pollen, so we shall see…


Philip, I feel the same way about Kardinal 85. The longest lasting blooms in my garden, over two weeks, and very resistant to burn or fade over long periods of time. Disease resistance seems good. I’ve been making attempts at crossing it with Papa Meilland and Chrysler Imperial to increase size. So far, I’ve been able to get the long-lasting qualities, fragrance, and velvety petals, but nothing better than average size, and barely semi-double petal count. I’m still plugging away at it this season as well.

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I am actually not familiar with the older Kordes Kardinal 85. (I have more confidence in the resistance of those that came out in this millenium.) It is an arlttractive looking flower, and I have seen it for sale in this area as bareroots. Might need to look at it a little harder.