Heinrich Karsh, Etoile de Mai, Baby Faurax

Through the infusion of a few clustering species roses (particularly Rosa multiflora and its rambling hybrids, and to a lesser extant, R. wichurana) the small-flowered bouquet clustering was developed in repeat-blooming roses, the Tea and China contributing their remontant genes. The breeding of the early Polyanthas began in the 1870s. By the 1930s, these roses had undergone a substantial transformation, from dwarf, compact bushes with small flowers to much more robust plants with large foliage and flowers. It was then recognized that a new group of roses had emerged, initially dubbed Hybrid Polyanthas, a name subsequently changed to Floribundas.


Grouping the habits of the Polyanthas from small to large we can almost see the historical progression of the breeder’s art.

  • (E.g., Mignonette) The compact Polyanthas are often under 2′ in height, with sprays of two dozen or more tiny double flowers. [Pol #1]
  • (E.g., The Fairy and Marie Pavié) With time the Polys grew into larger shrubs. [Pol #2]
  • (E.g., Orléans Rose) The hardiness of the ancestor R. multiflora resulted in a group of sports and hybrids that have very husky basal canes, rather bristly, and large pyramidal heads of flower. [Pol #3]
  • (E.g., La Marne) Ultimately many Polys began appearing that showed a very tall stature, many capable of making 6′ shrubs. [Pol #4]
  • (E.g., Mlle. Cécile Brunner) A cross between Tea roses and Polys created this side-shoot of the class. They bear small, scrolled flowers of Tea-rose style on twiggy, tall plants. [Pol #5]

Brackets refer to Explanatory Information page.
Polyantha roses original Vintage Garden pages: VCG_Polyanthas.pdf

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