The Q&A Archives: Thornless Roses

Question: I keep hearing Monrovia has a whole line of thornless roses but I can't seem to locate them or find anything out about them. For senior citizens living in a rest home this development could mean the difference between not being allowed to grow any roses at all (because their skin tears and they bleed easily) to actually being able to have a rose garden - which they keep asking for and managment won't allow. Please direct me to information about your thornless roses and let me know what retailers anywhere in San Diego County carry them. Thanks, Cindhi

Answer: Monrovia carries two thornless roses -'Lady Banks Rose' or R. banksiae comes in two "flavors" - white and yellow. This once-blooming species rose can grow quite large in southern climates with mild winters. In fact, the largest rose in the world is a "double" white 'Lady Banks'(R. banksiae banksiae). The small size of the blossom is more than made up for by the huge clusters it produces along its thornless stems. The white version is rated 9.5 (an almost-as-high-as-you-can-get "outstanding") and the yellow (R. banksiae lutea) is rated 9.1 ("outstanding").

Other thornless roses include:'Pacific Serenade', a deep yellow miniature thornless rose. Growing to 3 ft. 'Pacific Serenade' is an excellent choice for growing in containers. Although the rose is new and does not yet have an ARS rating, the rose is disease resistant, remains upright, fragrant, and will produce blooms in clusters for lots of color or can be disbudded for cuttable, single-stem flowers.

'Reine des Violettes' is a bit larger rose, growing to 4.5 ft. This Hybrid Perpetual rose is nearly thornless, remains upright, displays gray-green foliage and deep red-violet blooms. It is rated by those ARS rosarians who grow it as an excellent 8.0.

'J.P. Connell' is a white, virtually thornless Shrub rose which grows to 3 ft. high, but spreads to about 5 ft. wide. Hardy to USDA Hardiness Zone 3, this is a good choice for northern gardeners.

'Mme. Legras de St. Germain' is an Alba rose which produces large cream-white, very double blossoms atop gray-green foliage. Another virtually thornless rose, this beauty grows to 7 ft. high and almost as wide, and is rated 7.9 (a very high "good").

'Hippolyte' is a nearly thornless Gallica which blooms in vivid carmine with shades of violet. Although the blooms are small, they come in clusters on 4 - 6 ft. canes. Although this rose blooms only once, it is well worth having in the garden.

'Tausendsh?n' is a R. multiflora cross with a bit of the Hybrid Perpetual 'General Jacqueminot' in its background. Its name means "Thousand Beauties" and its blooms certainly bear up to that name. Flowers are deep rose-pink with at least a third of the center petals a cream-white. The blooms are large, cupped and form in clusters. It grows to about 8 ft., and is rated an 8.5 ("excellent") by those ARS rosarians who grow it. Although once-blooming, this rose is very hardy.

'Nevada' is a Species rose that produces pink or apricot buds which open to large, white single blossoms. Sometimes the petals' reverse sided are splashed with carmine. A vigorous grower to 7 ft., this rose will repeat in the fall with a second heavy flush. It is rated an 8.8 (a very high "excellent") by the ARS.

Here's a list of local nurseries carrying Monrovia stock:
Armstrong/Oceanside #708
1828 Oceanside Blvd.
Oceanside, CA 92054
(760) 722-5680

City Farmers Nursery
4832 Home Ave. (At Euclid)
San Diego, CA 92105
(619) 284-6358

Walter Andersen Nursery
3642 Enterprise St.
San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 224-8271

Pacific Tree Farms
4301 Lynwood Drive
Chula Vista, CA 91910
(619) 422-2400

Pacific Beach Gardens
910 Turquoise St.
San Diego, CA 92109
(619) 488-0615

Usmc Recruit Depot
Home And Garden Ext. 287
San Diego, CA 92140
(619) 297-2500

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