Polyantha roses were popular around 1900, but they have been losing ground to more modern rose classes in recent years. They are the parents of the popular floribunda class and thus, indirectly, of the grandifloras. They are still actively used in breeding.
Description of polyanthas rose: Polyanthas are generally low-growing, bushy plants, averaging 18 to 24 inches in height. They have small leaves and dense clusters of small flowers on short stems in shades of white, pink, red, and orange. The blooms may be single, semi-double, or double. Among the latest roses to bloom in spring, they continue to flower until frost.
Planting polyanthas rose: Space about 18 inches apart in cold climates, 30 inches in warmer ones.
Special needs of polyanthas rose: Polyanthas are hardy plants and tend to be easy to grow. They often outlive the more exotic but delicate roses of the modern hybrid classes. Some winter protection may be necessary in colder regions. Remove faded flowers to ensure repeat bloom.
Propagating polyanthas rose: Polyanthas are best purchased in the form of grafted plants.
Uses for polyanthas rose: Their hardiness and low growth make polyanthas good choices for beds and edging. They are best planted in groups of three or more. They also make good container plants.
Varieties of polyanthas rose: Few new polyanthas have been released over the last few decades, and most varieties still available date back 75 years or more. Those that remain, though, have withstood the test of time: Any rose that has remained popular for such a long time is bound to be a good one. Popular varieties include Cecile Brunner, light pink; China Doll, medium pink; The Fairy, semi-double, pink; Margo Koster, coral orange.