Grading Roses

    Handel, Photo By: Irene Hannestad

Exactly what are the differences among the grades of roses grade 1, grade 1 1/2 jumbo, etc. And if it is only size, does it pay to buy the smaller size and wait for it to grow? - Michelle

The grade of a rose refers to a rating established by the American Association of Nurserymen. The grades apply to grafted, field grown roses as they are removed after two years of growing in the field. Subsequent to digging, the grower, shipper or nursery may prune the rose for convenience in handling.

The specifications differ among the various rose classes, and the measurements are taken within 3 in. (8 cm) of the grafting union. They do not apply to roses grown on their own roots or roses whose mature size would not permit them to attain the dimensions stated (like miniatures, for example).

There are three grades as follows:
Grade 1

Hybrid Teas and Grandifloras must have three or more strong canes, two of which are at least 18 in. (45 cm) long. The canes should be well-spaced around the graft.

Floribundas meet the same standards, but the canes need only be 15 in. (38 cm) long.

Polyanthas must have four or more canes at least 12 in. (30 cm) long.

Climbers and ramblers must have three or more canes 24 in. (60 cm) long.

Note: "Strong canes" is not defined, but is generally accepted to mean canes which have attained their mature size in diameter. As a minimum, at least one cane must be at least 1/2 in. (12 mm) in diameter.

Grade 1 1/2

Hybrid Teas and Grandifloras must have two or more canes at least 15 in. (38 cm) long.

Floribundas must have two or more canes 14 in. (35 cm) long.

Climbers must have two or more canes 18 in. (45 cm) long.

Note: Polyanthas which do not meet Grade 1 standards are not graded.

Grade 2

All classes must have two or more canes 12 in. (30 cm) long.

RE your question: "...and if it is only size, does it pay to buy the smaller size and wait for it to grow?"

One should consider the purchase of a rose as carefully as one would any other piece of merchandise. Would you accept a factory second if you were purchasing a fine piece of furniture? Well maybe... if you were willing to take a chance.

Remember, these are as grown in the fields on rootstocks. If you purchase a lower grade rose, you are purchasing a runt and potentially a rose that will not live up to its genetic potential.

I prefer to purchase the highest grade rose I can find for each cultivar. By Mark Whitelaw, Kindly Provided by Laura Whitelaw

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