Roughly around the middle of this century, a French nurseryman salvaged a rose bush that was thrown away from a local public park. This abandoned rose bush made the nurseryman curious as it had a Chinese origin. Therefore, he bred a number of seedlings from it and they proved to be vigorous and tough plants, besides having a compact growth.
This group of roses have been classified as polyantha roses. Polyantha roses are typically compact, low-growing and they bloom continuously. In addition, they possess extreme winter hardiness. You may use this group of roses in your garden beds, grow them as low hedges and also foregrounds.
While they have now been surpassed by their bigger as well as showier relatives – the floribundas, even today some cultivars of polyantha roses are worth growing. In addition, the polyantha roses rebloomed generously and bore repeated flushes of small flowers that appear in clusters all through the summer months and also in fall.
The individual polyantha rose measures anything between 1 inch to 2 inches (2.5 cm and 5.1 cm) in diameter. Polyantha rose blooms have delicate hues – creams, pinks and golds – while the foliage is exceptionally resistant to diseases.
All these attributed coupled with their ability to endure alkaline soils and also the intense heat of the sun have made them outstanding roses that are well suited for growing in southern Canada, southern New England as well as the Rocky Mountain West where the weather conditions are milder.
In addition, polyantha roses have an excellent performance when grown in the Mid-Atlantic region. These roses are ideal for growing as container plants. At the same time, polyantha roses are the best choice when you need a compact rose for your garden. The plans have a compact and mounded form, making them the natural choice for any formal garden.
‘Cecile Brünner’ Roses
Introduced – 1881
This polyantha rose variety produces small, delicate, coral pink hued buds which have made this rose the typical boutonniere flower. The flowers of ‘Cecile Brünner’ are borne in clusters and they unfurl into somewhat similar to the flowers of hybrid tea rose. The individual flower of this rose measures about 1 inch to 2 inches (2.5 cm to 5.1 cm) across. The flowers have a light fragrance which is characteristically spicy.
The stems of this rose are smooth and have a brownish purple color. They have very few thorns, but the prickles are sharp as well as hooked which may trouble anyone who is careless with the plants. The foliage too is smooth and has a dark green color.
You can identify ‘Cecile Brünner’ the moment the buds of this rose begin to unfurl. In fact, these roses are pink hued – the color you must have seen on old-fashioned valentines. Even today, a pray of these “sweet roses” are considered to be the definitive romantic gesture.
side from the original packed in form of the ‘Cecile Brünner’ shrub, a climbing form also exists. The climbing form of this polyantha rose cultivar can grow up to a height of 20 feet (6 meters) if it is grown in places having mild climatic conditions. Both the forms of this rose flourish in the Southeast as well as Southwest. They are also capable of thriving in partial shade and poor soils.
‘China Doll’ Roses
Introduced – 1946
‘China Doll’ rose is an ideal plant for growing in containers. Alternatively, you may also grow this rose in borders or for low hedges. The plants are low-growing and usually reach a height of only 1 foot to 2 feet.
The small flowers of this polyantha rose variety are borne in sprays and each measures anything between 1 inch to 2 inches in diameter. The flowers are fluffy, pure pink hued and each composed of 24 petals. The flowers of this rose are so plentiful that they can virtually cover the entire mounded plant as well as the vivid green foliage.
‘Gabrielle Privat’ Roses
Introduced – 1931
‘Gabrielle Privat’ bears bulky pyramid-shaped clusters each comprising 30 to 50 flowers on tidy, low-growing plants. The flowers of this polyantha rose cultivar are semi-double, carmine-pink hued and each measure about 1 ¼ inches in diameter. The plants begin to flower in spring and continue to blossom in abundance until the fall. The flowers create an attractive display against the verdant vivid green foliage.
The plants of ‘Gabrielle Privat’ are bushy and have a mounding habit. They require very little pruning only to get rid of the dead growth. The plants of this polyantha rose variety are “rugged” and are capable of enduring an assortment of soils. This rose is an excellent selection for growing in small gardens or for growing in a mass. They also look very attractive when grown as container plants.
‘La Marne’ Roses
Introduced – 1915
‘La Marne’ rose is a low-maintenance landscape hedge plant or shrub whose canes are almost without thorns. The leaves of this rose are dark green and glossy. This polyantha rose cultivar bears loose clusters of semi-double, cup-shaped, blush pink blooms that rebloom all through the growing season. In fact, the flowers put up a wonderful display against the dark green, glossy foliage.
The foliage of this rose is not only attractive, but also healthy. ‘La Marne’ possesses exceptional ability to resist fungal diseases making this rose an excellent choice for growing in the Southeast where the climate is hot and humid. However, this cultivar is susceptible to cold. The plants of ‘La Marne’ are quite large for any polyantha and they are also very expansive for most containers.
‘Margo Koster’ Roses
Introduced – 1931
‘Margo Koster’ bears double blooms having a globular form. The flowers of this polyantha rose cultivar appear in sprays and their color is somewhat variable ranging from salmon pink to orange. The flowers are small and the individual blooms measure about 1 inch to 1 ½ inches in diameter.
The flowers have very little scent. The plants of this rose begin to bloom towards the end of their growing season, but repeat well until the fall. A climbing sport of ‘Margo Koster’ is also available. The leaves are semi-glossy and have a grey-green color, while the canes have very few thorns.
‘Margo Koster’ is a compact and bushy plant. Usually, this rose is grown in the form of a container plant both indoors as well as outdoors. It is capable of resisting rose diseases.
‘Marie Pavié’ Roses
Introduced – 1888
‘Marie Pavié’ produces pink buds that unfurl into clusters of scented, semi-double, creamy white flowers, each measuring just 2 inches (5.1 cm) across. This polyantha rose variety is dainty as well as charming when the plants are in full bloom during late spring and the beginning of fall.
It is also a versatile rose. If you prune the plants slightly, they can be grown as wonderful container plants. However, if they are left unchecked and allowed to grow freely, the plants can develop into an attractive low hedge. Since this rose is resistant to diseases and also does not produce any thorns, it is a wonderful rose for growing in your kitchen garden.
‘Perle d’Or’ Roses
Introduced – 1884
‘Perle d’Or’ rose has an alternative name and it is ‘Yellow Cecile Brunner’ and it highlights the marked similarity of this rose to its polyantha relative. While ‘Cecile Brunner’ bears pink hued blooms, as the name ‘Perle d’Or’ suggests, its flowers have a touch of gold.
‘Perle d’Or’ produces tiny pointed buds with a warm apricot hue and they unfurl into buff toned flowers whose color changes to golden pink as they mature. When the flowers are fully open, they spread into small pompons having a distinct fragrance.
The color of the flowers is maintained better if the plants are grown in sites where they receive some shade during the afternoon. ‘Perle d’Or’ is a shrub whose size differs depending on the climatic conditions where it is grown.
This polyantha rose will grow up to a height of about 4 feet (12 meters) and spread equally wide in most gardens. However, when this rose is grown in the edge of its northern range, it will be relatively small and when grown in the Deep South it will have a tendency to be significantly more expansive.
Introduced – 1947
‘Pinkie’ rose bears cup-shaped, semi-double flowers each measuring about 1 ½ inches to 2 ½ inches across. The flowers have a rose pink hue with a blush of salmon and individual blooms are composed of 14 to 16 petals. The profoundly fragrant flowers of this polyantha rose cultivar appear in large clusters during spring and repeat bloom in fall.
The leaves of this rose are glossy and have a soft green color. The plants of ‘Pinkie’ rose are small and have a bushy habit growing equally tall and wide. This rose is effective when grown in the foreground of a garden bed or border. In addition, they are also useful as container plants.
‘Pinkie’ is capable of enduring partial shade. This is basically a climbing sport that grows up to a height of anything between 6 feet and 12 feet. The canes of ‘Pinkie’ are thornless and can be trained easily to grow on fences as well as trellises. You may also grow this plant without any support in the form of an elegant shrub or even a hedge with the blooms virtually pouring downwards in large numbers.
‘The Fairy’ Roses
Introduced – 1932
‘The Fairy’ has a delicate appearance, but it is a small and strong plant. In fact, this variety of polyantha rose is the solitary rose from its class that is recommended for growing in northern gardens. This polyantha rose cultivar starts flowering towards the end of its growing season.
However, after the first flowers open, the plants continue to flower almost incessantly until the arrival of cold weather towards the end of fall. This rose is in bloom even after most other roses have passed their flowering peak.
The low and arching habit of ‘The Fairy’ rose helps it to be accustomed well in the front of a garden border. You may also plant this rose in a mass for a magnificent effect. Often, ‘The Fairy’ rose is marketed in the form of a standard or a tree rose.
‘White Pet’ Roses
Introduced – 1879
‘White Pet’ rose blooms copiously producing small, creamy white buds with a touch of carmine. These buds unfurl into rosette type double blooms. The flowers of this polyantha rose variety appear in clusters that are borne incessantly all through the growing season.
They form an excellent display against the plentiful dark green foliage of the plant. The plants of ‘White Pet’ are small and round, growing up to a height of 2 feet. The plants are equally tall and wide.
They have a tidy form and free-lowering nature that makes the ‘White Pet’ an excellent rose for growing as an edging or you may also incorporate this rose into garden beds and borders. This polyanatha rose variety is ideally suited for growing as a container plant. In addition, this rose is also a wonderful source of cut flowers.