Monday, April 13, 2009

"Orange Moss"

Referred to by its creator Ralph Moore as simply "OM", "Orange Moss" was a breakthrough hybrid in the breeding of modern Moss roses. It was created by crossing 'Mark Sullivan' a brightly colored Hybrid Tea, with Pedro Dot's 'Golden Moss'.When an undisclosed Hybrid Tea was pollinated with "OM", Moore obtained 44-59-4. He then crossed 'Rumba' with 44-59-4 and got his well known Floribunda Moss 'Goldmoss'. From here Ralph Moore went on to create several very attractive and very mossy miniatures in the yellow/orange color range by putting 'Goldmoss's pollen on 'Fairy Moss'.

Very little along these lines has been done by other breeders, which is somewhat surprising. There has been renewed interest in mossed roses in the past decade as people are rediscovering the old moss varieties from the 1800's and early 1900's. I know a few amateur hybridizers are now doing some work with the Moore moss hybrids, myself included. For me, the more interesting varieties are the ones that preceed the introduction of the miniaturism genes, and so I am going all the way back to "OM" to do some work.

Breeding "OM" presents some challenges: it tends to breed tall/climbing once blooming shrubs, and fertility may be a problem in moving forward. However, I think that since there are now so many new avenues to pursue that were not possible 40 years ago, it is worthwhile resurrecting plants like "OM" to see what else is possible using new, better parents. Last year I made two exploratory crosses using two very highly fertile orange/yellow breeders: 'Golden Angel' and 'Joycie'. The former I chose because it has a track record of breeding mossed progeny when a mossed pollen parent is used, and the latter because it is so very fertile and is easily influenced by the pollen parent. 'Joycie' also has a habit of passing on strong, clear coloring, which is a plus.

At the time of this writing I have several dozen seedlings from each of these crosses and will hopefully start to see some blooms in the next 4 to 6 weeks. I hope to be able to select a few full sized, mossed shrubs from these seedlings, and with any luck at all, some will be brightly colored. I will post pictures of anything I select. If these turn out to be total failures I will post a followup to that effect as well.


  1. Can't wait to see the results! Do post plenty of pictures!

  2. I began potting up seedlings made with "OM" yesterday. With any luck I will see some blooms within 4 to 6 weeks. Ralph indicated to me that most of his crosses using "OM" produced once blooming, tall plants, but I have found that in my climate, I can duplicate a cross he made and get different results. I can't think of the specific cross I made, but I repeated a cross Ralph made and while he stated that he got only once-bloomers, I got about 25% repeaters. Theoretically I should see at least 25% repeat bloomers from crosses made using "OM". *crosses fingers* Are ya excited Fa?!