Roses Breeding Process




Careful selection of seed and pollen parents are made throughout the year. These are recorded so by the time November arrives I have all my new crosses sorted. The parents are usually recently released commercial varieties or seedling varieties from my own breeding program that have good characteristics that I am trying to include.

I then spend six weeks hand pollinating flowers every day with the help of my daughter Kate, this is usually completed by the beginning of January. The Rose hips then are picked in early winter. Due to our warm Bay Of Plenty climate these seeds are refrigerated until being planted out in early August. This results in about 20,000 new rose seedlings.

It takes two to three months for the first flowers to appear.Checking these flowers daily is a very time consuming job, but for me is the most rewarding and exciting time of the year, seeing them flower for the very first time. It is the culmination of a whole years work!

These flowers are miniature versions of the eventual bloom but give me a good indication of colour, flower shape, vigour, health and fragrance. Selections start here. These are watched daily and the best of these move on to be planted out and monitored for up to 10 years or more before a final decision is made. Out of these 20,000 seedlings I would hope to get two or possibly three good roses to carry on with to eventually release onto the market as a commercial variety.

Rob Somerfield