Hybrid Chinas

Ruth’s German Rose, Alexandre Laquemont, Duchesse d’Angoulême

This group and its relatives—Hybrid Bourbons, Hybrid Noisettes, etc.—were recognized by 19th-century authors like William Paul, who were attempting to categorize the vast array of new hybrids. The offspring of unions between once-flowering European roses and repeat-flowering Chinas, Teas, Bourbons and Portlands, they resemble the old roses but have smoother foliage and stems, a prolonged season of bloom, and occasional fall flowers. Hybrid Chinas embody attributes that make them particularly useful to today’s gardeners. In the warmest parts of California and the South, mild climates lacking winter chill, where many Old European roses bloom less copiously, these beauties perform superbly and bring the charm of old-world roses to the garden. Conversely, they may require more protection in colder areas. Because many of the Hybrid Chinas are tall, arching growers, they may often be put to use as climbers of extravagant abundance.

Habit

All Hybrid Chinas are essentially once-bloomers, and because their size may require occasional hard pruning, it is important to remember to cut them back just after their bloom, so that new growth may form on which next year’s flowers will come. We have found that they will take pruning by up to a third in winter and still bloom well, but are far more abundant if not winter pruned. We recognize three distinct habits of growth (left to right, above).

  • (E.g., Malton) The most robust Hybrid Chinas are heavy-caned and thorned, rather broadly arching to as tall as 7′ to 10′, perhaps suggesting a Bourbon influence. [HCh #1]
  • (E.g., “Ruth’s German Rose”) The tall, more slender-caned types with few thorns, smaller foliage and flowers, showing affinity to Gallicas, and closely suckering. [HCh #2]
  • (E.g., Mme. Plantier) A group similar to the second, also more slender-caned, suckering more broadly, arching and growing wider than tall.[HCh #3]

Brackets refer to Explanatory Information page.
Alba roses original Vintage Garden pages: VCG_Hybrid Chinas.pdf

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