(President Dutailly shown)
A complex class of roses bred over many decades in the last century. Initially crosses of Autumn Damask or Portland types with China roses, they also combine all of the old European classes. Most are richly fragrant, with some notable exceptions among the dark red HPs, and present a palette from white through pinks, lavenders and crimsons to darkest maroon-black. The Victorians became as mad about these roses as the 17th century Dutch were about tulips, and created entire societies around the rose for the first time, focussing on exhibition and competition, which changed forever the way human beings look at roses. The obsession over the perfection of the individual bloom is still with us today in the continued modern focus on Hybrid Tea roses, the largest flowered of all modern rose groups.
Hybrid Perpetuals vary in vigor and repeating ability, but all repeat less frequently than Chinas, Teas, etc. When we designate an HP as having good reliable rebloom, we are usually describing a flowering less lavish than the main display. Because of the decades of breeding of HPs, their habits vary greatly, and were themselves split into family groups to break the many hundreds down for the layman, and to indicate tendencies inherited from well known ancestors.
We avoid using these old family groups to distinguish growth habit, as they often are far from uniform, and instead offer five rough descriptions of growth tendancy;
1) moderately stout, branching plants of upright habit between 4' and 6' tall, usually taller than broad, as La Reine,
2) a more lithe caned type, also upright but taller than the former group, with long spaces between leaves, and a dense habit, as with Duchess of Sutherland,
3) a stouter caned version of the preceeding group, often with long flower stems, and usually quite tall to 7' or more, as exhibited in Ulrich Brunner, fils,
4) the spreading and stout caned HPs which show a hybrid vigor, like Arrillaga and are capable of great dimensions, 6' to 7' tall and 8' or more across, and finally,
5) the arching, long-caned HPs which tend to bloom on short lateral stems along lithe branches which might be trained for climbing, like Souvenir du Dr. Jamain.