above: Ice White, Poppy, Poulson’s Yellow
As Polyanthas became larger in stature, flower, and foliage, they were used to develop a new class, the Hybrid Polyanthas, now called Floribundas, which arose from a mingling of Polyanthas with an old and well-established group of roses, the Hybrid Teas. Color rather than fragrance is the strong suit of the Floribundas. In the 1950s the Floribundas reached their “Golden Age,” in the hands of such genius-hybridizers as Eugene Boerner, E. B. LeGrice, Svend Poulsen, Jack Harkness, Mathias Tantau, Wilhelm and Reimer Kordes, and Gordon Von Abrams. In their hands the Floribundas explored color in extraordinary ways, bringing to light the subtle blended shades to be found in salmon, apricot, peach, pink, orange, scarlet, crimson, magenta, lavender, and tan. These classic Floribundas are more carefree and delicate of blossom than today’s introductions, which are a result of a push toward cluster-flowering plants with blossoms the size and form of Hybrid Teas. The clustering trait has so overwhelmed modern roses that even the term Hybrid Tea has lost its one-flower-to-a-stem connotation, and many modern Floribundas seem indistinguishable from HTs.
Four models (left to right, above) serve to exhibit the variations in growth among Floribundas.
- (E.g., Lafayette) Quite low and compact to about 2′ or so, with flowers of large petals.
- (E.g., Else Poulsen) The taller growers, reaching 5′ to 6′, with basal canes of about that length, and informal flowers of modest size.
- (E.g., Lilibet) The classic 1950s Floribundas, which tend to be fairly short, ranging from 3′ to 4′ tall, spreading, with smaller clusters of larger, more shapely blooms.
- (E.g., Evelyn Fison) The modern Floribundas, which tend to be dense growers, stout of cane, moderate in height from 3′ to 5′, but with a tendency to produce immense candelabras of blossom from basal canes, sometimes with a hundred or more blooms to a spray.
top: Ginger, Gold Cup, Astrid Spaeth
above: Lichterloh, Apricot Moon, Little Darling
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