The W. Kordes’ Sohne breeding program is one of the largest in the world. Before introducing a new rose, Kordes® carefully evaluates it for such qualities as color, size, form, vase life, productivity, disease resistance, and fragrance. Every year, using traditional hybridizing methods, the Kordes® staff creates approximately 1,200,000 new seeds from making crosses. The resulting seeds are harvested and planted for the initial evaluations and selection.
Thousands of these are selected for further evaluation and field trials. These trials last more than 7 years, with only a handful of roses being selected for release each year to the public.
In 1990 Kordes® made the decision that all garden roses should be naturally healthy and disease resistant. This decision led to having all of the trial fields for garden roses being managed and the evaluated without applications of fungicides. In addition to the trials being fungicide free, the Kordes® goals in rose breeding are:
abundance of flowers
quick repeat bloom
self cleaning (spent flowers drop to the ground)
unique colors and shapes
suitability as a cut rose
suitability to be grown from cuttings
suitability for use in containers
This ambitious program, coupled with all the characteristics that are evaluated, it is easy to see why so much time is spent choosing the right roses for commercial marketing.