Drs. Jerry Parsons and Larry Stein
Professors and Extension Horticulturists
Texas Cooperative Extension

Click here for a photo album of Grandma's Yellow Rose

What are the characteristics which make a plant a "winner"? Some are vitally important such as (1) It must be attractive and useful to the gardening masses rather than a special few who devote themselves to one specific plant type; (2) It must consistently perform well for Texas consumers regardless of their plant growing expertise; (3) It must be able to be propagated and mass-produced in sufficient numbers to meet the increased consumer demand generated caused by the great performance of the plant; (4) It must be unique and/or offer desirable and ornamental characteristics which are not usually available in commonly sold plants; (5) It must be as pest resistant as possible---an added bonus is to be a non-preference-to-deer plant; and, most importantly, (6) It must be attractive in the sales container -- so attractive that it sells itself to the consumer who has never heard of the many attributes of the plant.

Since the beginning of the Texas SuperStar Plant introduction program in the fall of 1989 through spring of 2007, there have been 40 plants introduced and promoted to the Texas public. Four plants were million-dollar sellers (Satsumas, ‘Gold Star' Esperanza, Perennial Hibiscus and ‘Belinda's Dream' Rose which was promoted during the spring (April), '2002 ----- Belinda's Dream (Rosa x 'Belinda's Dream) - Combination old-fashioned and hybrid Tea with fragrance and durability.) for the Texas nursery industry within 4 years of their introduction.

Belinda's Dream (pictured here with red 'Knockouts') was the first
Texas' SuperStar rose in 2002.

We began statewide trialing in 1998 even though Belinda's Dream (Rosa x 'Belinda's Dream) was not declared the first Texas SuperStar rose until April, '2002. The reason for this was simple—one shouldn’t promote a new rose – which looks like the traditional Valentine rose-- in all Texas’ metropolitan areas until there are hundreds of thousands of plants to supply the demand generated. If not, consumers are disappointed and suppliers are angered.

'Belinda's Dream' is not purely an old-fashioned or antique rose. Many people have been misled into believing that because antique roses are old, they are disease resistant. Many of the antique roses can survive without pesticide sprays. However, the quality of bloom, especially for cut flowers, produced by antique roses cannot equal and is not acceptable to most people who want a rose which can be used as a Valentine rose. If someone is going to grow roses, they want the flower produced to resemble that which most people consider to be a rose. 'Belinda's Dream' rose looks like a real rose BUT has the toughness of the antiques or old-fashioned types. Much of this toughness comes from the fact that ‘Belinda’s Dream’ is propagated from rooted cuttings so the plants are growing on their own root system. This enables a plant to be cut to the ground, or frozen to the ground, and what resprouts will be the same beautiful rose. Grafted roses are the most commonly sold. These plants are grown on a rose root stock which if allowed to grow over the scion (grafted desirable rose variety) will produce a large, rambling bush with poor quality blooms.

Grafted roses are grown on a wild rose rootstock (center, larger stem) which has an undesirable bloom.

Typically hybrid roses are propagated by budding (See:

'Grandma's Yellow' (right) is grown on its own roots compared to the grafted rose (left). Sprouts from the root system come true and produce more beautiful yellow roses.

onto a known rootstock since it requires less stem growth (which has many buds per stem) as opposed to the old stem-rooting technique used for antique roses as described at:

In 1996 ‘Belinda’s Dream’ wasn’t even being promoted when a group of horticulturists consisting of Jerry Parsons, Greg Grant and Larry Stein began looking for a yellow rose for Texas. Regardless of how superior a Texas SuperStar plant is, some people always want a different color. The color yellow in the rose family usually results in a weak plant which is very susceptible to diseases. We knew we had taken on a difficult task since every rose breeder in the world is trying to create a vigorous, disease-resistant yellow rose.

We decided to look for yellow rose plants which had lived for a long time in their initial planting areas so we were looking for large, long-lived yellow rose bushes. We gave them names of the locales in which they were found. The yellow rose bush which gave Parsons this idea was located in Sabinal, Texas, and was named “Sabinal”. “Sabinal” was a beautiful yellow rose but it was difficult to root. Remember, one of the main elements of being made a Texas SuperStar is: “It must be able to be propagated and mass-produced in sufficient numbers to meet the increased consumer demand generated”.

Other possible yellow rose candidates were found in Nacogdoches (growing and blooming beneath an abandoned motel overhang) and Seguin (growing in a bed of roses all labeled as red roses) and so named. A third candidate was found at a retired school teacher’s (named Sarah Johnson) home near Nacogdoches and was named “Sarah Jones” (because Greg Grant and Parsons did not remember her last name correctly!). A modern hybrid tea named ‘Midas’ was rooted and tested as well as the hybrid named ‘Sun Brite’ which was recommended by Dr. Sam McFadden of Somerville, Tennessee, as being the most disease-resistant of all the yellow roses he had tested.

The final yellow rose tested was found by Parsons and Stein, at different times, on a street in southwest San Antonio named “Brady”. “Brady” and “Seguin” were almost identical in color and fragrance but “Brady” was very difficult to root.

Dr. Larry Stein's grandmother, Tillie Jungman, after whom 'Grandma's Yellow' was named LOVED the yellow roses.

All of the yellow rose candidates were propagated and six plants of each (“Seguin”, ‘Midas’, “Nacogdoches” and “Sarah Jones” were planted in spring of 1998 around the garden of Larry Stein’s maternal grandmother ( Clotilda Mary (Tillie) Jungman ) who lived near Castroville. The garden area had a soil pH of 8.2 and, since these plants were growing on their own root system, would get a real test to see if they could uptake minor elements such as iron. The plants were never sprayed for insects or disease but were fertilized and watered normally. ‘Belinda’s Dream’, ‘Easy Going’ (rooted and grafted plants) which was being considered for a SuperStar, and a highly disease susceptible red rose were planted along the same garden.

After a year or so, we realized that four of the original “Nacogdoches” plants were weak and more prone to disease. However, two plants were thriving, had an awesome flower and seemed more disease resistant. Greg Grant confirmed these plants “were different” from the other four. With that confirmation, cuttings were made of these plants and rooted. Mutations or sports in buds and stems have produced many of the superior horticulture plants we enjoy today. A darker red ‘Red Delicious’ apple was found growing on a stem of the original ‘Red Delicious’ apple. White-fleshed peaches can be found growing on yellow-fleshed peach varieties. Dwarf sports can be found on standard-growing plants, i.e., ‘Katy Dwarf’ Ruellia was found growing on a large plant of Ruellia known as Mexican Petunia. So this is not an unheard of occurrence.

Black Spot Disease resistance was evaluated. This yellow rose is very susceptible and was eliminated.

From the 4-year (1999-2003) study in Larry Stein’s grandmother’s garden, we concluded that “Seguin”, “Sarah Jones” and “Nacogdoches” had the best soil pH and disease tolerance. Even when the red rose was completely defoliated with black spot fungus disease, these yellow roses were clean.

All stages from deteriorated blooms to new buds in the '07 rainy spring at College Station did not cause black spot damage on ‘Grandma’s Yellow’.

We first chose “Seguin” as our candidate for Texas SuperStar because it was much more fragrant than “Nacogdoches”. However, when trial plants of these three selections were distributed to various growers and nurserymen for testing, the “Nacogdoches” was voted best because of disease resistance, ease of propagation and beauty of bud and flower. The “Seguin” yellow rose also displayed a “mysterious death” syndrome in many locations. “Sarah Jones” was more black spot susceptible in the San Antonio area than “Seguin” or “Nacogdoches” but it seems to have less disease in East Texas.

After Miss Tillie died on November 27, 2005, the name “Nacogdoches” was changed to ‘Grandma’s Yellow’ in honor of Larry Stein’s grandmother who had let us use her garden and came to truly love these yellow roses. She once told me she loved me almost as much as she did Larry because I planted her all of those beautiful yellow roses. Larry took roses to her room every day as long as the plants were blooming. However, when we had to prune the roses (while she was watching her favorite soap opera!!) she told me that I had dropped off of her most-favorite-person list. I tried to tell her that Greg Grant had done most of the cutting but I don’t think I was fully forgiven. We made up later. As I sat in the church at her funeral, the thought came to me that we should name the Texas SuperStar yellow rose in her honor. As the pallbearers entered and each had a yellow rose bud in their lapel, the thought came to me: “Got any questions about the name change?!” At that moment, “Nacogdoches” became ‘Grandma’s Yellow’ and will remain so forever---as directed.

Since the beginning of this yellow rose for Texas (and the U.S. since it has done well in Tennessee for Dr. McFadden and friends) project, we knew the demand for this rose was going to be even more than the demand for ‘Belinda’s Dream’ because EVERYBODY WANTS A YELLOW ROSE!! We had learned an interesting fact when we were propagating ‘Belinda’s Dream’. That fact is that plantlets produced from tissue culture had reverted back to a juvenile state and root twice as fast as standard cuttings. Dr. Dan Lineberger was the person who revealed this information when we were doing the ‘Belinda’s Dream’ propagation.

'Grandma's Yellow' Rose WANTS TO Bloom even in tissue culture in a test tube

After we had made the choice of ‘Grandma’s Yellow’, he immediately put the plant into tissue culture. After he had grown sufficient stock plantlets, he turned the project over to a commercial laboratory under the direction of a former student named April Herring, Production Manager of Tissue Culture, Magnolia Gardens Nursery (Cell: 281-705-7724; Office: 281-356-1213; FAX: 281-356-5326) See their websites at: and In 2006, the largest commercial wholesale nurseries in Texas purchased over 10,000 tissue culture rose plugs which will produce the millions of fast rooting cuttings needed to grow own-rooted, virus-tested ‘Grandma’s Yellow’ roses.
That is the history of ‘Grandma’s Yellow’; now let me tell you about the rose that is ‘Grandma’s Yellow’. It is not perfect!! But it is mighty close!! And, as the manager of Greenleaf in El Campo so eloquently put it: “It is not perfect but it is the best yellow rose available at this time”. This is a rose which does not need constant spraying to survive and produce lovely yellow Valentine-like blooms. Leaf infection of this yellow rose variety with black spot fungus and powdery mildew (white powder-like substance) on the leaves will occur when conditions are most favorable for disease. Black spot is the biggest disease problem of roses. This fungal disease appears on the leaves as circular black spots with fringed edges. The leaves may turn yellow and drop prematurely. Prevent this disease by 1) eliminating excess water on the foliage when irrigating and 2) by regular spraying of an approved fungicide. According to several professional rose growers, Funginex (Triforine) or bayleton (FungAway) are the best fungicides for black spot. Organic growers can try Rose Defense (Neem oil), sulfur, and organic insecticides. During heavy disease pressure periods (usually early spring) begin a disease prevention program every 7-10 days until drier conditions occur—usually 3 or 4 consecutive sprays in the spring is all that is needed. If you do not want to ever protect the foliage, ‘Grandma’s Yellow’ WILL survive, WILL RESPROUT FOLIAGE, and WILL produce an abundance of quality flowers when conditions allow and if proper watering and fertilization occur. It produces successive flushes of bloom -- from spring until frost -- and is so disease tolerant that fungicide sprays are seldom required. It is an outstanding performer even in highly alkaline clay soils. A WARNING: ‘Grandma’s Yellow’ does not appreciate neglectful growing practices such as seldom watering and low fertility. If you feel you must neglect your rose plants all the time, PLEASE DO NOT PLANT A PRECIOUS ‘GRANDMA’S YELLOW’!!! Follow instructions for culture provided under Rose Care and Fertilization at:
Pruning is optional but recommended. Prune this rose as you would any hybrid tea.
Common Name
‘Grandma’s Yellow (Formerly “Nacogdoches”)

Shrub-- The deep yellow-flowering Grandiflora rose named ‘Grandma’s Yellow’ is upright and bushy. Most antique yellow roses have a light yellow—almost pale flower. ‘Grandma’s Yellow’ is a real knockout. Its new leaves have a shade of bronze, then turn dark green. Flowers have a light and spicy fragrance. With full sun, it reaches 4 feet to 5 feet in height and 3 feet width. It is a repeat bloomer from spring until frost and is quite disease resistant – the best disease resistance of any yellow rose.

'Grandma's' flowers fade from deep yellow to pale yellow as they mature.

Deep Yellow

Number of Petals

Full Sun

3 feet

Fertilize in spring just before new growth begins.

Cold Hardiness:
Hardy in zones 6 - 9

Water Use.
Keep moist until completely established. Average water needed during growing season

Resistance to disease

'Grandmas' flowers are more fragrant when fully opened.

Light, spicy

Dark Green bronze cast on new growth.

Upright, bushy

Repeat, blooms from spring - frost

Sport from buds hybrid tea or Grandiflora rose found growing in Nacogdoches

Misc. Information
‘Grandma’s Yellow’ will become the "official" “Yellow Rose for Texas”

'Grandma's Yellow' in back clearly outblooms and is showier than Sunny Knockout in front.

Julia Child' rose is buttery golden (center) compared to the true yellow 'Grandma's Yellow' on either side.




FEBRUARY 12 - 16, 2007
Jerry Parsons, David Rodriguez and Larry Stein

‘Grandma’s Yellow’ Rose is scheduled to be a Texas SuperStar release in SPRING (April) 2009 - Rosa ‘Grandma's Yellow'
(Formerly “Nacogdoches” ("Yellow-Rose-for-Texas" promotion)
We had the opportunity to test the marketability of this rose during the week of February 12, 2007, when Tracy Hobson Lehmann, Express-News Home & Garden Editor, was gathering information to write a front page column entitled: “A Dozen Roses - Go ahead. Promise your sweetheart a rose garden. With these varieties, you can deliver.” On the entire front page of the San Antonio Life section, these dozen roses were listed, described and pictured. A scanned page of this listing is attached. The dozen roses chosen were (1) ‘Belinda’s Dream’ (April, 2002, first Texas SuperStar rose - ‘Belinda's Dream’ (Rosa x 'Belinda's Dream’) - Combination old-fashioned and hybrid Tea with fragrance and durability); (2) ‘Knockout’ (April, 2004, third Texas SuperStar rose); (3) ‘Dame de Coeur’; (4) ‘Mister Lincoln’ (Listed in the “The Dozen Enduring Fragrant Roses” section of: ); (5) ‘Ducher’; (6) ‘Mutabilis’; (7) ‘The Fairy’; (8) ‘Queen Elizabeth’ (Listed in the “The Dozen Enduring Fragrant Roses” section of PLANTanswers) (9) Gemini’; (10) ‘St. Patrick’; (11) ‘Hot Tamale’ and (12) Tournament of Roses. To get this list, Tracy interviewed: (1) Jackie Clark, San Antonio Rose Society, who probably furnished selections 9, 10, 11 and 12; (2) Laverne Parker and Cindy Lawrey, Antique Rose Emporium who DEFINITELY furnished selections 3, 5, 6, and 7; and (3) Kathy Wolf, Rainbow Gardens who probably furnished selections 1, 2, 4, and 8 because they are available in large quantities from local nurseries and are proven favorites. The information about these dozen roses was published in the February 10, 2007, San Antonio Life Section in the San Antonio Express-News.

Parsons happened to speak with Tracy on Friday before the story was published on Saturday and mentioned that for the first time a new yellow rose named ‘Grandma’s Yellow’ was going to be available at only two nurseries (Fanick’s Nursery on the Southside of San Antonio and Milberger’s Nursery on the Northwest side of San Antonio). Tracy graciously agreed to put the following information in the same section as the other rose write-up but on the back page of the section and with a much smaller picture -- a scan of the article is attached. The article read:
Local nurseries sell new rose

Web Posted: 02/09/2007 04:55 PM CST
San Antonio Express-News

A limited number of a new yellow rose developed for Texas will be available at two local nurseries Tuesday.
A total of about 100 plants of 'Grandma's Yellow' will be sold at Milberger's Nursery and Landscaping and at Fanick's Nursery, according to Jerry M. Parsons, a Texas Cooperative Extension horticulturist who has helped to develop a quick-rooting yellow rose that thrives in the Lone Star State.
'Grandma's Yellow,' a prolific bloomer, was developed from a hybrid tea sport found in Nacogdoches, Parsons says. Commercial growers are building stock of the plant, and a few have been sold at local garden events.
Plants in 2-gallon containers will sell for $16.99.
For more information, call Milberger's at (210) 497-3760 or Fanick's at (210) 648-1303.
The availability of these roses was also mentioned several times on the KLUP Radio (AM 930) on Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Because of the limited number of plants, their availability was not mentioned on David Rodriguez’s garden show on WOAI-AM 1200 since his show has a much larger audience.
RESULTS: Over 900 plants were sold in 5 days during which the two nurseries had to re-order 3 times during the week after having sold the first plants they had within hours of the first day the plants became available on Tuesday, as mentioned in the article. This marketing study generated $7,425 (plants were wholesaled at $8.25 each) to the wholesale nursery (Greenleaf) and it generated $15,300 to the retailers which were Fanick’s and Milberger’s. An interesting fact provided by Fanick’s Nursery was that very few, if any, of the roses recommended on the front page were sold - EVERY CUSTOMER WANTED THE YELLOW ROSE!!


1. People want a yellow rose.

2. People want a rose which looks like the traditional Valentine rose.

3. People will not buy, in quantity, any rose which does not look like a traditional Valentine rose regardless of the hype uses to promote it.

4. The overwhelming response from casually advertising these roses on the back page of a newspaper section and on only one radio garden show in San Antonio indicates that at least 25,000 should be available at all of the major wholesale nurseries before it is heavily promoted in the San Antonio area alone. For a statewide promotion including Dallas, Ft. Worth and Houston, we estimate at least 500,000 plants should be available for sale.

5. The Texas SuperStar ‘Grandma’s Yellow’ Rose release is
scheduled to be in SPRING (April) 2009 - Rosa ‘Grandma's
Yellow' (Formerly “Nacogdoches” ("Yellow-Rose-for-Texas").
With this much response in one week after a limited promotion
and since commercial growers are selling this product as fast
as they can produce it, we project the statewide promotion
may have to be delayed because of insufficient product to
service the tremendous demand for a good yellow rose.


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