How common are sports?

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How common are sports?

Post: # 70660Post jakaufmann
Fri Nov 22, 2019 5:17 am

Currently, I have about 200 roses in my garden. At my father-in-laws greenhouse, we have a few thousand. He’s been telling me I should pay lots of attention to whether I see a sport happening. I know it happens, but I’m not entirely sure it’s common enough to spend a significant amount of time doing this.

My primary goal is hybridization, so I will spend most of my time caring for and observing my seedlings and such along with planning for the next round of breeding.

I know that sports are random, but some cultivars it is more common. Essentially, my question is what are the odds of actually finding a sport? Is it worth putting significant effort into looking for sports?


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Re: How common are sports?

Post: # 70661Post jbergeson
Fri Nov 22, 2019 7:55 am

Just keep an eye out. A flower-color sport will be pretty easy to spot.

I had William Baffin sport to a soft pink. Also Morden Blush sports to white quite often. Other than that I haven't seen any.

So no, it's not worth putting effort into just looking for sports, but if you look at your roses once in a while you'll be scouting automatically.

Karl K
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Re: How common are sports?

Post: # 70662Post Karl K
Fri Nov 22, 2019 10:07 am

Some "sports" are reversions. It is worth checking the parentage in such cases. For example, the Polyantha 'White Koster' frequently sports red. It often appears as a red streak, a few red petals or a bloom that is all or mostly red. I once had 'Mothersday' sport a white petal. And once I had 'Margo Koster' sport to a striped form, but the contrast was not strong enough to make it worth preserving. And then there was what appeared to be 'Margo Koster' reverting to 'Dick Koster'. ... tered.html ... rting.html ... oster.html

So, finding sports on the Koster Clan of Polyanthas is a little like shooting fish in a barrel. And I've read that even more can be found/induced by regenerating plants from root cuttings.


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Location: Zone 9b Central California, Sunset Zone 15

Re: How common are sports?

Post: # 70663Post roseseek
Fri Nov 22, 2019 11:01 pm

Once you are familiar with what to expect from your roses, spotting a sport actually requires little time and not a lot more attention than you probably already pay them. ANYTHING which appears out of the ordinary can be a sport. Sometimes it's as insignificant as a lighter colored wedge on a darker petal. Others, it may be a significant reduction (or increase) in prickles, can length, number of petals and a whole lot more possibilities. I never really spent inordinate amounts of time searching for mutations, other than when I shopped large wholesale nurseries which grew hundreds to thousands of the same varieties . Your chances of catching a sport increase quite nicely when you have several thousand canned plants of the same rose to sift through. I think you may be surprised how often you can find them under those conditions. In just a few years, I found nearly a dozen, mostly in HTs and floribundas.
California Central Coast
USDA Zone 9b
Sunset Zone 15
Cooler inland coastal valley with strong marine influence

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