Thornless Roses
...the painless choice!

We may choose to grow Thornless Roses for a variety of reasons. Perhaps we have family members with medical problems that would endure serious problems if grazed with rose prickles. Some blood disorders would not allow thorns to penetrate the skin without serious consequences, or perhaps we have small children and we would like them to learn to cultivate their own roses. 

There is a choice. We could avoid the prickly rose bush all together or we could try and plant thornless, or almost thornless varieties.

...and just in passing, technically rose have prickles not thorns...who knew?

The David Austin'Heritage rose is almost thornless, for example, as is the three foot shrub rose J.P.Connell, which, incidentally, is also hardy for northern gardens. The Alba, Mme. Legras de St. Germain and the climber Kathleen Harrop are also both classed as 'almost' thornless.

Kathleen is a shell pink and the Alba a creamy white. A good new miniature thornless rose is Pacific Serenade which is a good, container rose, with a deep yellow miniature bloom.

When considering thornless roses two named brands come to mind. The first is the Kordes rose collection of roses without prickles and the other is the Australian Smooth Touch rose.

Kordes rose breeders of Germany say they, "have the most advanced breeding program for roses without prickles." Most are for the commercial, cut flower market but several have been found to e suitable for the home garden.

These are sold under the brand name "Satin Touch". Jacaranda was one of Kordes first commercial thornless varieties and another hybrid tea, Ekstase soon followed. These were developed in 1995 but more recently the following "roses without prickles" were introduced:

Sweet Honey
Sandra 99
First Gold
Patricia Lewis
and Nancy Gardiner.

It should be noted that although the stems are thornless, there are still prickles under some of the leaves!

The Australian "Smooth Touch" varieties are considered 95 to 100% thorn (or prickle) free. There are many varieties to choose from, mostly hybrid teas:

Smooth Prince-Pink
Smooth Lady-Salmon Pink
Smooth Ballerina-Pastel Pink/White
Smooth Velvet-Blood Red
Smooth Angel-Cream with apricot centre
Smooth Moonlight-Mauve
Smooth Buttercup-Bright Yellow
Smooth Delight-Shell Pink
Smooth Splendour-Apricot/Coral
Smooth Snow Flake-(Floribunda) white
Smooth Queen-Apricot/Cream
Smooth Sunglow-Creamy Buff
and the latest varieties:
Smooth Friendship-Cream
and Smooth Lollipop-Carmine/Off white.

If you choose to grow thornless roses you do have a variety of choices, more in some areas than others, but do check them out, they may be the less painful way to go!

They also may be difficult to find in some areas but there are thornless varieties, you just have to hunt them down. 

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