Miniature Roses: The Jewels Of The Rose Family

About 1830, Colonel Roulet found an exceedingly small rose growing in a pot on the windowsill of a Swiss cottage. 

The Colonel immediately informed a friend, the botanist M. Henri Correvon, and cuttings were obtained from the plant which was estimated to be 150 years old at the time.

Miniature RosesPin

Although this rose was not officially introduced until about 1922, there appeared in Paris in 1831, a rose, Pompon de Paris, that was practically identical. As it grows in my garden, I can note no difference, and I am convinced that they are the same rose.

Crossing Of Miniature Roses

Rose nurseryman Jan de Vink of Boskoop Holland believed there would be a ready market for these miniature roses if they were available in different colors. 

In 1930, he made his first attempt to cross them with other roses, and today we may thank him for the several desirable varieties he has originated as well as for the incentive he has given other hybridizers to work with them. 

Eventually, the color range will be greater than it is today, and as they become better known, they should attain great popularity.

True Miniature Roses

The term “miniature rose” is somewhat confusing, and an attempt should be made to clarify the subject. 

To avoid confusion and disappointment, it might be best to consider only Rosa rouletti and its offspring as being true miniatures and to place the other dwarf roses, such as the dwarf polyanthus, centifolias, chinas, etc., in the class to which they belong. 

Although many of these are miniature when compared to other members of their family, they are considerably bigger than the Rosa rouletti clan and, under some conditions, become quite large plants.

Origin Of Rosa Rouletti

As considerable doubt surrounds the exact origin of Rosa rouletti, I do not believe that anyone will take serious issue with my assertion that it is a miniature front of Rosa chinensis minima. 

Whether it was a mutation or caused by the environment or by the manipulation of the Chinese or Japanese, who are quite experts in creating miniature plants, I do not know.

It is quite apparent that the original Rosa chinensis minima or Lawrenciana rose, as described by earlier writers, was somewhat larger in growth than rouletti as we know it today. 

Roses Chinensis Minima

In fact, in my garden, R. Chinensis minima attain a height of 1′ foot, whereas rouletti, planted in the same bed, do not exceed 6” inches. 

Other than the size of the plant and blossom, they are identical, and we can safely assume that one is a dwarf form of the other.

The majority of these miniature roses are dependably hardy in most sections of the country but as the root system is comparatively small, they should be mulched to prevent heaving during periods of alternate thawing and freezing weather.

Like other members of China’s rose family, they bloom freely during the summer and autumn. 

Many of us who must have roses throughout the year have discovered that they are ideal pot plants and will bloom profusely during the -winter if grown in a rather cool and moist atmosphere. 

“Rosedom’s Most Intimate Flower” 

In fact, they are a group of roses that never seem to tire or require a rest. I transferred them from the garden to pots in time fall and reversed the procedure in the spring, and they have bloomed continuously for several years.

They are of special appeal to apartment house rose lovers who can create a rose garden in miniature by planting several in an outdoor window box. 

The major purpose for which they are fitted, however, is as the border, edging plants, or in the rock garden.

This group of roses is described well in one rose catalog as “Rosedom’s most intimate flower.” 

In the same catalog, we are told that a thimble or tiny vial will hold a bouquet of six or more. I have never attempted this, but I believe it is possible with the smaller types. 

Needless to say, they are ideal as corsage material, for hair adornment, or as a boutonniere. 

Miniature Necklaces And Bracelets Using Roses

Our daughters seemingly cannot resist the urge to create miniature necklaces and bracelets by using the blooms and foliage of these roses. The results are quite attractive.

If grown in exceptionally rich soil or budded on a vigorous understock, these miniature roses tend to become too robust and lose their charm as miniatures. 

Propagation by the better nurseries is almost exclusively “own root,” and plants purchased from them will retain their miniature status and bloom for many years if planted in rather poor soil and watered and fertilized sparingly.

Varieties Of Roses

The number of varieties is still somewhat limited, but the following are available from one or more sources.

Rosa Rouletti: Parent of Miniature Roses

Rosa Rouletti, one parent of these miniature roses, is a unique little rose that rarely exceeds 6” inches in height. 

The flowers are from ¾” to 1” inch in diameter when fully opened, rose pink, and fully double. 

The individual blooms are not of an exceedingly appealing color but are borne in such profusion that the whole plant is well worthwhile.

Sweet Fairy: True Rose Fragrance

Sweet Fairy is a new member of this group and is the first to have a true rose fragrance. 

The dainty dark pink buds open to charming double 1”-inch blooms of apple blossom pink. 

The color is more refreshing than that of rouletti. Height is 6” to 8” inches.

Tom Thumb: Best-Formed Hybrid

Tom Thumb is 6” inches high and has buds that are of the ideal form—replicas, in miniature, of our best-formed hybrid teas. 

The color is crimson, with a white eye in the flower’s heart.

Other Varieties of Roses

  • The introducer describes PIXIE as “the world’s tiniest double white rose,” although it shows a faint pink tinge during cool weather. From 6” to 9” inches.
  • MIDGET is a very small double red blossom on a tiny, almost thornless plant. Very good and rarely exceeds 6” inches in height.
  • OAKINGTON RUN has deep crimson to ruby red unfading blossoms on a plant that occasionally reaches a height of 1′ foot.
  • BABY GOLD STAR has golden yellow blossoms on a plant larger than the other miniatures. 

In fact, it could be classed as a dwarf polyantha, although the blossoms are quite small. You’ll like all these miniature roses.

44659 by R. E. Shepherd