Realistically, How Many Seedlings Do You Need to Get a Good Rose?
I have a bag of seeds harvested last fall in the fridge, but unfortunately I don't exactly live on a farm. Space is limited.
In reading about rose hybridizing, I'm coming across statistics indicating that professional breeders may grow 100,000 seedling (or more) to get a handful of roses that are good enough to eventually make it to market. Thinking about it, even if you put each seedling in just a 3" pot, that's 16 seedlings per square foot. For 100,000 seedlings, that comes to 6,250 square feet -- or an area of 250 feet x 250 feet.
I understand that space needs may drop fairly quickly as you weed out the weak seedlings as quickly as possible. Starting them in batches would also reduce the amount of space you'd need at any one time, but that would only take you so far.
There probably is no magic number, and a lot depends on the parents you pick (and sheer luck). But assuming that you have chosen good parents, the rest just seems to be a numbers game.
I'm not shooting for an AARS award -- just roses that are healthy and pretty enough to name after friends or loved ones with pride. So, keeping that in mind, how many roses seedlings do you need to generate to get a good one?