Use of florist's roses for pollen.

Sometimes one has a mother plant ready to pollinate and no pollen from a desirable father to utilize. This past season this happened to me. Most of my roses are hardy near species roses with relatively poor flowers and/or weak reblooming characteristics. I do have a few hybrid teas and shrub roses that meet the requirements of good double flowers and good rebloom, but often they are not in bloom when needed.

One solution is to save pollen from fall of one year to the spring of the next year in a freezer. The freezer technique has some risk. Not all pollen will stay viable that long.

Another possibility that I just thought of (after reading a post about whether florist rose pollen is viable), is to purchase cut roses from a florist for their pollen.

For example one of my “hot” roses now is my Rugelda X R-15 cross ( ). Unfortunately, it only blooms in the early spring. This past season I sort of wasted an opportunity by pollinating with diploids that were in flower and (Basye’s Amphidiploid X OP). The diploid pollenations did not result in hip set. The (Basye’s Amphidiploid X OP) cross did take but probably will not result in improved flower form or repeat flowering. At best it may yield another interesting “breeding” rose.

I now wonder why I did not think of going to a floral shop and purchase a mixed assortment of yellow roses (even old dogs can learn new tricks).


I did this a few times last year, but I couldn’t get anything to set hip. First, it’s hard to get sufficent pollen, I don’t know why. I crushed them, and it’s still not much. I think the lack of success has to do with a combination of moisture, cold, and maybe time. I mean, those flowers go through a lot if you consider the way they get to here. They’re grown in a different country, harvested and stripped of their thorns, and put into air conditioned vehicle, and transported to another air conditioned vehicle… they get to the wholesaler, and who knows what happens to them right there… and they get to the florist…

Henry, I love that seedling. Of the pictures on your site, this is my most favorite one to see.

Enrique, thanks for the information. I have a microscope so I will check to see if I can get any of the florist’s rose pollen to germinate on a slide.

I am very fortunate to have a cut rose grower nearby the Twin Cities. Not all production has moved to South America! They let me come there and collect fresh pollen whenever I want. There’s always unsalable blooms on short stems in the canopy that are opening and are the perfect stage for anther collection. Maybe if there is a cut rose grower nearby, they’ll let you collect pollen too. I found that even with collection of flowers at the right stage right off of the plant, many florist varieties produce little pollen. I have some seedlings germinating from pollen from ‘Orlando’ and ‘Grand Gala’ and am excited to see what they’ll be like. ‘G.G.’ is thornless and ‘Orlando’ is a nice pink white bicolor.


Heyas. Aalsmeer Gold is usually available at Safeway florist ($9.99 for 12 long stems is a great deal) and is garden worthy for a florist rose as is it bred from a garden line.

I had success with seed set last year on Lloyd Center Supreme with mixed pollen from Zebra/Ralpheala/Korde’s Circus/Leonidas. All of which came from Safeway. Hopefully they germinate.

On a side note, while keeping track of florist roses during winter (keeps dull Oregon winters colorful), I have noticed that almost every floral outlet puts the rose name on them now. Which is a bonus for folks like us.

I can just see the look of horror on the face of your wife when you bring them in the house. She says, “Honey, what lovely roses – what did you do now?” Then when you emasculate them and hand her the stems, you better duck! LOL

I wonder if soaking the florist roses stems in a dilute 2,4-D solution would help the flowers shed their pollen.

Henry, could you tell me what is 2,4-D solution. Thank you… maybe I will try again. And this time, I’m going to use the most fertile parents I have… Queen Elizabeth and Livin’ Easy… Last year I used it primarily on Cesar E. Chavez, which is still knew too me. Hey, maybe it was just Cesar E Chavez, and not the pollen… And I think I’m going to visit other florist shops.

Enrique, adding low concentrations of 2,4-D is one of the “tricks” that I found scientists using, see

2,4-D is used as a selective herbicide at higher concentrations to overstimulate and kill broad leaf plants (for example as a lawn weed killer).


There is a lavender florists’ rose they occasionally sell around here (eastern Massachusetts) that has a strong fragrance. It does open and go by quickly but becasue it is fragrant many people desire it. I gave the pollen from this a half-hearted try and did not get anything worth reporting. I think, that because this rose has a short shelf life, they cannot store it so the pollen is more apt to be fresh.

I’ve collected pollen from florist roses I’ve received and beleive if you open the flower right away the pollen is more apt to be good. As with any rose, some pollens have a short lived life and some seem to last a long time even without refrigeration. I’m sure each rose is different. I definitely would not try to use pollen from red or pink roses around Valentine’s Day. Those roses may have been stored for months before getting to the florist shop.

The problem with florist roses that the flower size, shape, color and substance is often nothing like that when grown out of an artifical environment. But beyond that, theyre not exactly selected for garden qualities either.

On a positive note, Ive tried florist rose pollen but the success was nill. They dont seem to be decent producers of pollen. I think I tried quite a few of Lloyd Center Supreme x Raphalea since LCS passes on mildew resistance quite well. I didnt have any luck tho.

I’ve tried with no success. I’ve also rooted florist roses. Some of them are truly awful garden plants.


Next spring, email me. What’s early for you is midseason down here and next day mail should get from east TN to eastern Ohio in two or three days.


I had started a thread on florist’s roses a while back and it was pointed out to me that there is more invested in the florist trade than in the garden trade (?) and that florist’s roses do offer an aweful lot of new genetic material for the hybridizer. Of course, disease resistance, strong fragrance, and clean shedding of blossoms aren’t exactly tops on the list…

I haven’t attempted to collect pollen off of them, but will say that I often have no luck with the flowers even opening fully/maturing for me. They are too commonly cut a little too young, and of course rapid unfulrling is not an attribute for which they are bred…

I would be interested in hearing of other’s experiences with cut roses and the collection of pollen from such…

I did have some success with cut flower roses that I bought from Costco last year. Several seedlings resulted this year, two of which I am still watching. One mildews badly even though the seed parent was extremely clean, but I like the rich orange color and shape of the bloom and am keeping it for possible use in further breeding. The other is a miniflora or floribunda. It holds its petals tenaciously! Even after they have completely bleached out it is difficult to tear off the petals.

Jim Sproul

Thank you Ann for the pollen offer. I will try to remember (old age) next spring.

Before 911 a number of rose hybridizers exchanged pollen, but after that event I guess that we were worried about the “powder” being thought to be something dangerous.