Two kinds of Fairy Roses

It’s easy to confuse two different groups of roses, both called “Fairy Roses.”

Plate-Bande were first sold in the late 1880’s as seedlings to bloom the same season they were planted. Leonard Lille initiated them, and they were derived from Rosa Polyantha, a form of Rosa multiflora that produced dwarf rebloomers as well as full sized Multifloras. They were sold as bedding roses, plate-bande meaning a mass planting in a flower bed, like a large border. For what it’s worth, IMO the photo resembles these Fairy Roses as described by Paul.

“Fairy Roses” is also used to describe the Lawrenceanas, which were/are very dwarf China roses introduced, some say from Mauritius, in 1810. The difference is quite apparent: Lawrenceana Fairy roses really look like tiny China rose, same tidy, narrow, pointed 5-leaflet leaves, sweet raspberry-tinged scent. By contrast, Plate Bande Fairy Roses were generally scentless, for which they were criticized.

The link is to a description of the China Fairy roses from Prince’s Manual of Roses, 1846. One of the diagnostic characteristics of these extra-dwarf China roses is described even then: “These roses are all very impatient of moisture…” Although Prince describes how they need warm, raised beds, he omitted that they ball badly if the buds get wet.

Here’s River’s description, quoted over and over in the language “impatient of moisture:”

Curtis’ Botanical Magazine has one of the early descriptions of the Lawrenceanas in 1815.


Thank you Cass!!

I would love to try some of these other more dward china types!


Are we all writing about the same roses?

Those I know as Angel Roses if evidently partly multiflora derived look definitely daintier than polyanthas or multiflora in leaf, flower and inflorescence size. If able to build to rather large plant size they are initially comparable or smaller than most miniatures.

Not long ago european horticulturists raised and sold them as flowering pot plants.

Leonard Lille was selling Lawrenceana seeds beside Plate-Bande. And it is the probable origin of Rouletii that was discovered not far from their place.

German seed grower Benary is actually an ultimate source for these seeds. A small percent blue colored seeds is his mark.



Of the Dwarf Chinas available, ‘Oakington Ruby’ is the best IMO, for its superb architecture, generous bloom and fertility. I can propagate this for you in the Spring and deliver a finished plant by late Summer, if you like. I have one other unidentified dwarf China that is nearly identical except in a Carnation pink hue. It is also fully fertile. Both are presumed diploid and both are clearly heavily influenced by China ancestors.


I thought ‘Oakington Ruby’ was prone to BS?

Usually not if applied with sufficient water. It’s most often those who believe anything they hear who are prone to BS.

In my climate ‘Oakington Ruby’ is quite prone to black spot, its true. But it is no worse than 95% of modern miniatures in that regard. However, I have grown a number of seedlings from it and many have far better resistance.

David didn’t say he wanted it for breeding, just that he was interested in “trying it” so I didn’t make any assumptions about his agenda. I think that it has traits worth exploring and that the disease problem can be overcome with a bit of effort. After all, you can use the most disease free roses in breeding and still get Blackspot disasters as offspring.

As an aside, I noted that after a week of unusually low temps here (as low as 7F in the night), many plants showed moderate to significant damage to their wood. However, ‘Pink Clouds’ (R. multiflora X ‘Oakington Ruby’), which was still actively growing, suffered nearly zero freeze damage. Ever the soft growing shoots up to 10 feet long still have their foliage and appear perfectly healthy. Many Floribundas in close proximity don’t look anywhere near as good.

It’s 77 F outside here right now.

I’m running around with my shirt off and my sandals on. =)

I’m looking for some really clean dips to integrate into the diploid filipes banksia descedants.

I need to broaden the color range, among a great many other things.

I’ve had ‘Oakington Ruby’ for a long time. I like it but not if I’m setting myself for BS long term. I may give it a go regardless.


I suggest you take a look at David’s ‘Candy-O Vivid Red’. I have it and have started working with it as a breeder.

Although it won’t do much for improving color saturation, have you considered ‘Trier’? It has excellent Blackspot resistance, is diploid and has an excellent track record in breeding. It also frequently passes on great fragrance. And abundance of bloom. And good plant architecture. And, and, and, and. :wink:

Have you thought about ‘Crepuscule’? Almost certainly a diploid. Oh, I see you have used it and gotten some color out of it! Carry on…

‘Crepuscule’ mildews badly here. ‘Trier’ gets way too big.

I need something that will pass along excellent repeat and branching. I’m looking at polys and minis primarily.

As one might expect, descendants of of R. filipes ‘Kiftsgate’ and R. banksiae banksiae can get HUGE.

Candy -O sounds like it might be fun to try eventually. This season I want to try to start some line breeding too.

I’ve bought 60 of these seeds to play with… it will be interesting to see just how many different expressions I get from it :slight_smile:

David, I think the closest we are going to get to the dwarf Chinas are Rouletii,

Pompon de Paris, Oakington Ruby and their selfs and hybrids.

I’d like to grow more of them…Pink Joy, Centennial Miss, Patty Lou and especially the Dot mini, Perla de Alcanada.

I also grow an unidentified dwarf China/mini collected from a cemetery that Mr. Moore couldn’t ID. Carolyn suggested I look at Mr Moore’s Oakington Ruby seedlings from the 50’s. No ID yet.



You and I both grow that same “Smith Plot” plant. Mine is now about 4 years old and lives in a 22" diameter pot. The plant is not pruned from year to year and has reached about 30" tall and about as wide. In architecture and all of its parts it is nearly identical to ‘Oakington Ruby’, the only significant difference being the pink bloom color and the bloom form being somewhat more cupped/vase-like than ‘Oakington Ruby’, which is more of a flattened pompon. They are so similar that I would almost be tempted to say one is a sport of the other, but it is more likely they are only related through sexual reproduction.

It should be noted that neither of these dwarf Chinas bears much resemblance to the ‘Rouletii’ I grew (I lost mine in a freeze): ‘Rouletii’ was much more dwarf and didn’t exhibit the same twiggy, accumulating growth habit that these two do, ‘Rouletii’ was much more like ‘Cinderella’ in style, but always remained under 12" tall. (‘Cinderella’ will also build to 4 feet or more if you don’t prune it; mine is massive after 7 years growth and is at least 4 feet tall and almost as wide!)

I will gladly propagate both ‘Oakington Ruby’ and “Smith’s Plot” this Summer for anyone interested in these unusual little shrubs. I find both of them to be much more graceful in habit than most modern miniatures and very much worth growing just for their ornamental value.

Cass, I also have ‘Patty Lou’, ‘Centennial Miss’ and ‘Pink Joy’ (I’m especially fond of the latter, which is more robust than the other two and has a wonderful Raspberry scent) and will propagate all three of these as well this year if you can’t find a source. All three are self seedlings from ‘Oakington Ruby’. It is noteworthy that ‘Centennial Miss’ is a strong purplish-magenta hue, suggesting that ‘Oakington Ruby’ is capable of breeding purples as well as reds and pinks.

Note to self: put ‘Oakington Ruby’ pollen on ‘Midnight Blue’ this year!


Paul, thanks for the kind offer! I’m tracking sources right now. I found Oakington Ruby and Mabelton Rouletii at Vintage, but no joy on Patty Lou, Centennial Miss and Pink Joy. I’d love to have one or all of them. Is there anything I have that I can propagate in return? Pollen? I’m afraid my plant list on HMF is outdated, including quite a few I’ve tried and composted. The only truly rare rose I grow is Gloriana, and it’s a thug, at least 15 feet tall. But oooo, the mauve color is brilliant. It’s a bear to propagate. I’ve had about 6 or 8 successful strikes in all the years I’ve grown it. I do it every year to try to spread it around.

Just so you know… and this plays against the dwarf China heritage…but I’ve cut Smith Plot Mini almost to the ground twice, shearing at about 4 - 6 inches. It renews beautifully and eliminates the unattractive twiggy, building-on-itself growth. I haven’t needed to do it every year, but I’ll do it again once it repeats that messy, accumulating, stem on stem growth. Of course there are no hardiness issues here, so there’s no fear of wiping it out. In a garden setting, that twigginess can be unattractive. I’m glad you too compared it to Oakington Ruby. To me, Smith Plot didn’t seem to have as nice an imbricated bloom form, and I wonder if it is sterile…very few anthers, no seed I’ve seen.


I know Patty Lou is still in my youngest sister’s yard, the other two were. I have to look. I half day sun, they stretched to three feet tall but not quite as wide. She likes their height as they are behind a short wall on the slope side of the upper patio and prevented her sons from using the slope as a short cut to the lower yard (short cut of about three feet). There were also a number of old Pedro Dot roses there, Perla de Alcanada, Perla de Montserrat. Midget was there, too. I allowed them to do their things and they formed a multicolored, ever blooming low hedge. Very pretty. Ralph’s Dian goes very well with them. I used to love the out of control plants of that he had in the ground by 44Stripe, closer to the house than the overgrown first generation moss hybrids whose identities were “lost in the mists of time”. I love polys, but the old “micros” made wonderful filler plants, too and never need any dead heading as they follow their urges to ovulate and reproduce without interference.

Little Buckaroo makes a wonderful low hedge, too, as does Oakington Ruby.

One man’s poison is another man’s cake! I really enjoy the “wood on wood” building habit of the dwarf Chinas and would never cut these plants back hard. To me that is defeating one of their best features, but to each his own. Oh, and my plant of the “Smith’s Plot” dwarf sets seed fairly often. Never attempted to germinate em, and this is open pollination generating em. No idea about fertility with foreign pollens.

Kim, do you still have 44stripe??

I wish I did! I’d bet Burling either has it or Carolyn squirreled one away at her friend’s house. I’ll have to contact them to see.

I collected every old mini like these twenty years ago in hopes of their being useful in dwarfing and stimulating repeat in species crosses. One day, I must get back to that thought! Too many places to go and people to be!


I put ‘Little Chief’ on R. foliolosa and more than half were beautiful compact shrubs no taller than 20", with tiny foliage and 1" blooms. Very effective at dwarfing the species.

I’ve been looking for years for old Pedro Dot minis because of their closeness to Chinas. I was sent a few cuttings of a tiny rose the supplier said was ‘Si’ and it has turned out not to be it. It has the most tiny little pointed leaves but the tiny creamy white buds open out to 2cm flowers of pure white and look more like ‘Popcorn’ or ‘Snow Blanket’ than they do ‘Si’. I’ve always wanted to try ‘Si’ as a parent (pollen parent LOL) because of its mini China habits, lovely soft pink flowers, and it’s diminuitive stature.

‘Si’ doesn’t make fertile pollen. You’d be far better off to return to ‘Rouletii’ or ‘Oakington Ruby’, IMO.