How to breed roses

Where do new roses come from?

It’s a question often asked by visitors to the Society Advice Bureau during the show season.

When shown rose seeds, our visitors are often surprised that roses even produce seeds.

Roses of course are produced by hybridising; that is crossing two different roses, obtaining rose seeds and then growing a unique rose.

The process itself is something that is perfectly easy for an amateur to have a go at. The resulting rose will not be the same as the parents, it will be different and sometimes it will be very different!

Very simply, new roses could be grown from seeds collected from hips gathered from any rose, in any garden.

These seeds although often infertile will be formed because of the bloom being pollinated.

Ideally it is best to select the parents with some of the qualities that you’d like to see in your new rose but of course, what you end up with could be something completely unexpected.

Don’t be tempted to buy seeds from the internet, there has long been concern about high charges, unlikely promises of registration in the name of a loved one and very rarely any germination.

The professional breeders carefully select parent plants that are tried and tested for setting good hips and that carry the features they want to reproduce such as good health, colour, scent and shape.

Often, they will use unnamed seedlings that are their ‘stud’ roses that will pass on good traits to their progeny. Tens of thousands of seedlings are grown by a professional breeder to get the one good new rose that they need; however, many amateurs have had some great results on a much smaller scale.

A Step by step guide can be found in All about Roses