Rose breeding has been evolving since ancient civilizations such as China and Rome, marking a significant period in the history of rose breeding. In ancient China, roses were cultivated for their ornamental value and used in various religious and medicinal practices. The Chinese developed various techniques for propagating roses, including layering, grafting, and seed propagation, and they were skilled in breeding roses. The ancient Romans also cultivated roses and were among the first to use them for decorative purposes. The Romans, in particular, grew roses in their gardens for their beauty and fragrance and used them in their food, medicine, and perfumes. During the Middle Ages, roses were highly valued for their medicinal properties and became associated with love and romance, often used as symbols in poetry and literature.
*Rosalia festival depiction
Modern rose breeding industry owes much of its success to the work of breeders in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, who used selective breeding to create new varieties with desirable traits. However, the ancient civilizations that first cultivated and propagated roses laid the foundation for the development of the modern rose breeding industry. The techniques and knowledge they developed have been passed down through the ages, continuing to influence the way we breed roses today.
*Mosaic depicting the weaving of rose wraths
Rose breeding has been in constant evolution throughout the centuries, with notable advancements in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. One of the most significant advancements in the history of rose breeding occurred during the late 19th century, with the discovery of the laws of genetics by Gregor Mendel. Mendel conducted experiments on pea plants that explained how traits are inherited from one generation to another, laying the foundation for the study of genetics. Understanding the genetic makeup of roses has played a critical role in the rose breeding industry, allowing breeders to select for desired traits such as color, fragrance, disease resistance, and growth habit. This has enabled the development of new and improved varieties of roses that are more beautiful, fragrant, and resilient than ever before.
The rose breeding industry has made great strides, using selective breeding to improve tolerance to disease and better shelf life. However, the species’ high degree of heterozygosity and low sexual reproduction have limited the results of conventional genetic research. Advances in biotechnologies have enabled exploring the rose genome, with marker-assisted selection soon to follow. The use of wild species genes combined with this technology has the potential to create revolutionary new rose varieties, especially in terms of disease, pest, cold, and drought resistance, as well as unique flower shapes and growth habits. The profitability of transgenesis in rose breeding remains uncertain, with its success depending on the accurate selection of the desired trait to be improved. With further advances in biotechnologies, the future of the rose breeding industry seems promising, exciting, and full of possibilities for new and improved rose varieties.
While Infinity Breeding still thrives on traditional breeding methods, technology has simplified the process. Traditional rose breeding has been an art form for centuries, with breeders carefully cutting away unnecessary branches and adjusting the overall shape of the bush by hand. Today, grafting techniques allow breeders to combine two different plants to create a hybrid with the desired characteristics of both. Infinity Breeding creates stunning new rose varieties through careful selection, trial and error, and hard work, bringing beauty and fragrance to farms and gardens worldwide.