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RE: The most impractical piece of rose advice you've ever gotten (Follow-Up #93)

posted by: roseseek on 06.26.2012 at 05:11 pm in Roses Forum

Buckwild, Teas and Hybrid Teas can be quite different, much of the time, but there can be great overlap. Hybrid Teas were bred from Teas and their hybrids. Add the conditional versus genetic classification to add to the confusion and there is going to be MUCH for "the nit pickers" to take exception to in what I'm about to offer. This is the "Reader's Digest" version, meant only to help simplify an extremely complicated issue for illustration.

Generally, Teas arose from Gigantea and Odorata hybrids. Hybrid Teas arose from crossing the Teas and early Tea Hybrids with European Hybrid Perpetuals, which arose from the Old European Garden Roses (Bourbons, Damasks, etc.) Teas require thick, old wood to perform and live many generations. Hybrid Perpetuals generally require hard pruning to replenish themselves and produce the size, profusion and quality of bloom they were selected for. Often, Teas are less cold hardy than Hybrid Perpetuals and many Hybrid Teas. Teas tend to be more evergreen than either of the other two classes. Teas were valued for the softness of their coloring and high-centered bloom shape as well as their ability to flower nearly continuously. Hybrid Perpetuals had more bull nosed, rounded bloom shapes and many flowered well in spring with little to no repeat later in autumn. It wasn't until the latter half of the Nineteenth to early Twentieth Century that the Royal National Rose Society had an autumn show because the roses of the day didn't reliably repeat their bloom.

Teas tend to be more spreading, with weaker, longer peduncles causing the blooms to "nod" or hang downward. HPs tend to have stronger, shorter peduncles which hold the flowers more upright. Crosses between the Teas and HPs resulted in more upright plants with generally stronger peduncles, more upright flowers with higher, more pointed centers. The deeper, richer colors of the HPs were blended with the high-centered form of the Teas. The "Tea scent" generally gave way to much of the Damask and other scents of the HPs and Bourbons.

Teas and very early HTs are often difficult to root where the HPs and those which lean more toward that side of the family, are generally easier and faster to root. Teas can be devilishly slow to start as own root plants, where those which tend more toward the HP side generally root faster and produce sturdier, faster developing own root plants. Teas were more likely to be afflicted with mildew. The HP side more likely to be afflicted by rust and black spot. Combine the Foetida influence which was considerable at the beginning of the Twentieth Century, and the disease issues were exacerbated.

Often, HTs will lean toward the Tea side of the family in performance and expressed traits. You have late Teas which are classed as Teas, but are more likely early HTs, such as Lady Hillingdon. She looks and acts like a Tea, but is reportedly far more cold hardy than is usual for the class. Sometimes, a HT will lean more toward the HP side of the family, such as Frau Karl Druschki and Symphony (Weigand, 1935). They look more like HPs but are genetically, by breeding, HTs.

Teas are more like Mons. Tillier, G�n�ral Schablikine, Devoniensis, etc. Hybrid Teas are more Peace, Double Delight, Brandy, etc. Hybrid Tea flowers can be easily imagined by thinking of a dozen, long stemmed florist roses.

You have those who classify the plant by how it looks and performs. "If it quacks like a duck, it IS a duck!" You also have those who classify the rose genetically. If it is a cross of two Teas with no Old European Garden Rose contained in it, the plant is a Tea. Take a Tea and cross it with a Hybrid Perpetual, then no matter what it looks like or how it performs, it is a Hybrid Tea. Symphony is classed as a HP because it looks, grows and performs like one, but it is a cross of a Hybrid Tea by what is classed as an HP (but which is by breeding, a Hybrid Tea). When registering a rose, it is up to the person filling in the information as to what the rose should be registered as. From a gardener's perspective, it would be far more beneficial for the "quacks like a duck" classification to be used. If you're expecting a Queen Elizabeth plant and flower and you receive a Lady Hillingdon performing plant, you aren't going to be satisfied. See where much of the confusion comes from?

If you live in a shorter growing season, harder, longer winter season climate, HTs may do OK for you where Teas probably wouldn't. If you live along the coast here in SoCal or in the Gulf States, Teas may be more suited to your climate than many HTs. Generally, HTs are going to have longer lasting flowers for many climates. They are available in many more colors than Teas, as well as many more sizes, types, habits and scents. If you're looking for cut flowers which can last up to two weeks in a vase, some HTs are usually the way to go. If you're looking for more of the "Old South" look, Teas are it.

Generally, if you live in a colder climate where winter protection is an issue, avoid those which are advertised as "resents hard pruning" as they will be problems to cover and protect from frost and snow. There are many qualifiers and conditions and none of this is absolute, as is true of most of roses and gardening in general. I hope it helps give you a bit better idea of how Teas and HTs are related, how they can have similarities and what their differences can be. Kim


clipped on: 06.26.2012 at 11:40 pm    last updated on: 06.26.2012 at 11:40 pm