(Velours Episcopal shown)
This group and its relatives--Hybrid Bourbons, Hybrid Noisettes, etc.--were recognized by nineteenth century authors like William Paul, who were attempting to categorize the vast array of new hybrids. The offspring of unions between once-flowering European roses and repeat-flowering Chinas, Teas, Bourbons and Portlands, they resemble the old roses but have smoother foliage and stems, a prolonged season of bloom, and occasional fall flowers. Hybrid Chinas embody attributes that make them particularly useful to today's gardeners. In the warmest parts of California and the South, mild-winter climates lacking winter chill, where many Old European Roses bloom less copiously, these beauties perform superbly, bringing the charm of old-world roses to the garden. Conversely, they may require more protection in colder areas. Because many of the Hybrid Chinas are tall, arching growers, they may often be put to use as climbers of extravagant abundance.
All Hybrid Chinas are essentially once-bloomers, and because their size may require occasional hard pruning, it is important to remember to cut them back just after their bloom, so that new growth may form on which next year's flowers will come. We have found that they will take pruning by up to a third in winter and still bloom well, but are far more abundant if not winter pruned.
We recognize three distinct habits of growth, the first being stouter and perhaps suggesting a Bourbon influence;
1) the most robust Hybrid Chinas which are heavy-caned and thorned, rather broadly arching to as tall as 7' to 10', E.g, Gros Choux d'Hollande,
2) the tall more slender caned types with few thorns, smaller foliage and flowers, showing affinity to Gallicas, and closely suckering, E.g, "Ruth's German Rose",
3) and lastly a group similar to the second, also more slender-caned, suckering more broadly and arching and growing wider than tall, E.g, Mme. Plantier.