Hybrid Perpetuals

top: La Reine, Frau Karl Druschki, Roger Lambelin
above: Baron Girod de l’Ain, Beales Rose du Roi a Fleurs Pourpres, Yolande d’Aragon

A complex class of roses bred over many decades in the last century. Initially crosses of Damask Perpetual or Portland types with China roses, they combine attributes of the old European classes. Most are richly fragrant, with some notable exceptions among the dark red HPs, and present a palette from white through pinks, lavenders and crimsons to darkest maroon-black. The Victorians became as mad about these roses as the seventeenth-century Dutch were about tulips, and created entire societies around the rose for the first time, focussing on exhibition and competition, which changed forever the way human beings look at roses. The obsession over the perfection of the individual bloom is still with us today in the continued modern focus on Hybrid Tea roses, the largest-flowered of all modern rose groups.

Hybrid Perpetuals Habit

Hybrid Perpetuals vary in vigor and repeating ability, but all repeat less frequently than Chinas, Teas, and others. When we designate an HP as having good, reliable rebloom, we are usually describing a flowering less lavish than the main display. We offer five rough descriptions of growth tendency.

  • (E.g., La Reine) Moderately stout, branching plants of upright habit between 4′ and 6′ tall.
  • (E.g., Duchess of Sutherland) A more lithe-caned type, also upright but taller than the former group.
  • (E.g., Ulrich Brunner, fils) A stouter-caned version of the preceding group, usually quite tall, to 7′ or more.
  • (E.g., Arrillaga) The spreading and stout-caned HPs that are capable of great dimensions, 6′ to 7′ tall and 8′ or more across. 
  • (E.g., Souvenir du Dr. Jamain) The arching, long-caned HPs that tend to bloom on short lateral stems along lithe branches.

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