Roses Are Plants Too!

Enter The Hybrid Tea

The introduction of the first Hybrid Tea in the late 1800s was by most markers an improvement upon the Hybrid Perpetuals, a class becoming known for being difficult and finicky to grow – sound familiar?

The same Mr. Henry Bennett is considered by many to be the Father of the Hybrid Tea and achieved his success by deliberately crossing Hybrid Perpetuals with Tea Roses. From the Hybrid Perpetuals they took the long stems and the large blooms appearing solely on the stem. From the Teas they took their continual flowering and long petals which gradually became the high centered Hybrid Tea bloom of today.

Chicago Peace.  A sport of the Peace Rose Photo/Illustration: Paul Zimmerman Roses

Many rose historians consider there to be three distinct eras of Hybrid Teas and they are separated by the two World Wars of the 20th Century. Those bred before the war were still closely related to their Tea cousins in that the shrubs were rounded and their stems still did not quite achieve the length of today’s Hybrid Teas. Between the wars saw great progress in both form, stem length and disease resistance. At the time the latter was still a consideration as chemical controls were not yet widely used. At the end of World War II one of the most popular Hybrid Teas of all time was released the rose “Peace”.

Peace was arguably one of the first roses to truly look like today’s Hybrid Tea roses. Long stems, high pointed center and single flowers per stem set the benchmark for Hybrid Teas to come.

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