Get to Know Meilland International and Some of Their Best Roses

Roses are one of the most commonly cultivated and extensively managed plants in the world.

There are hundreds of registered hybrids and cultivars already and new ones are coming to the market all the time.

Countless unregistered beauties are hanging out in the backyards of passionate rosarians across the world as well, just waiting to be discovered.

A close up vertical image of pink Meilland roses growing in the garden with a metal fence in the background. To the top and bottom of the frame is green and white printed text.

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Sometimes, it’s those humble hidden gems that become global sensations.

Consider ‘Perle d’Or,’ a pretty pink and cream flower that was bred in the mid-1800s. It helped launch the storied House of Meilland, one of the largest rose breeding organizations in the world.

Whether you’ve heard of this global brand before or you’re new to Meilland, you’ll be an expert in no time. We’re going to talk about their history, the modern-day company, and some of their most fantastic plants.

Here’s what we’ll chat about:

It’s easy to get lost in the intricacies of the rose world.

There are so many things to know and so many people breeding excellent options out there. By the time you’re finished reading this guide, you’ll be that much more informed!

What Is the House of Meilland?

Meilland Roses International, also called the House of Meilland, is a company based in France that includes several sub-brands.

A close up horizontal image of a woman admiring a 'Leonardo Da Vinci' rose shrub with bright pink blooms.

The company was founded by rosarian Joseph Rambaux in the 1850s in Lyon, France. He started breeding roses and found success with ‘Perle d’Or,’ French for “golden pearl,” a polyantha with golden pink and cream petals that is still popular today.

After he passed, his wife and son-in-law continued his legacy.

At the conclusion of World War I, Rambaux’s granddaughter and her husband Antoine Meilland started a larger nursery in Lyon that expanded even further when their son Francis married the daughter of famous Italian rose breeder, Francesco Paulino.

Francis took the business to the next level, gaining recognition as an international breeder with the ‘Peace’ cultivar, introduced after World War II.

Shortly after that success, the company merged with rosarian Francisque Richardier in 1946, allowing Francis to focus on his passion for breeding new cultivars.

A horizontal image of a single Rosa 'Sonia,' a hybrid tea variety pictured on a soft focus background.

Francis passed just 12 years later and at that point his wife Louisette expanded the Meilland brand with many new award-winning cultivars, including ‘Orange Sunblaze,’ ‘Princesses de Monaco,’ and ‘Clair Matin.’ Her children Alain and Michele continue to breed roses today.

Meilland International remains family owned through six generations of Meillands since its inception, and it has grown dramatically over the years.

Meilland Roses & Creations is their chief brand and it’s where you will find all the fabulous roses that the company owns and breeds. Drift, Knock Out, Friendly, Meidiland, Romantica, and Perfumella brands are found under this umbrella.

Meilland Richardier Roses & Jardins is another branch of the company, a French nursery with an online storefront open to European customers.

Finally, we have Selection New Plant. This division is focused on identifying and fostering innovation with new plants from breeders across the world.

They’ve bred new cultivars of hydrangeas, vitex, caryopteris, maples, potentilla, rhododendrons, thuja, and barberries, among others.

The Meilland Brands

Meilland owns or collaborates with several brands of roses that are likely familiar to you.

A close up horizontal image of a single Rosa Rosa 'Madame A. Meilland' flower growing in the garden pictured on a soft focus background.

Knock Outs were originally bred by Will Radler, and you can learn more about them in our guide to these sturdy plants. Star Roses and Plants introduced the first Knock Out in 2000.

Star has been partnered with Meilland since the 1930s, and while the majority of Knock Outs remain under the Star Roses and Plants branding, the Petite Knock Out was created in direct collaboration with Meilland.

Meilland has trademarked Petite Knock Out and has pursued legal action against unauthorized retailers.

A close up square image of a Petite Knock Out rose shrub with bright red flowers pictured on a soft focus background.

Petite Knock Out

Since that means you won’t legally be propagating any of these plants, why not purchase one from Nature Hills Nursery? They carry this red-blossomed plant in #1 containers.

Drift was developed by Meilland and is also distributed through Star Roses and Plants. These ground cover shrubs are renowned for their hardiness and disease resistance.

A square image of peach Drift roses growing in the garden.

Peach Drift

Home Depot carries the peach version in two-gallon containers.

Friendly is an environmentally conscious range featuring tough plants that don’t require gardeners to use any fungicides or pesticides and that are attractive to pollinators.

The hips that develop in the fall make excellent feed for wildlife. The flowers come in purple, pink, pale pink, and red single flowers.

Meidiland brand roses were bred for professional landscapers to use in parks and urban areas. They don’t require pruning and come in various growth habits.

The Romantica line aims to bridge the gap between the hardiness of modern disease-resistant types such as Knock Outs and the beauty of old roses, with the addition of highly fragrant blossoms.

Stand-Out Meilland Roses

While the company has bred a ton of exceptional options, here are just a few of the standouts:

Alain

‘Alain’ was bred in 1946 by Francis Meilland and named for his son. The carmine-red semi-double flowers on this floribunda have continued to capture hearts since then. These form in clusters at the end of long canes.

A close up horizontal image of a bright red Rosa 'Alain' flower pictured in bright sunshine on a soft focus background.

This cultivar is just the thing if you want to grow your own picture-perfect bouquet in Zones 6 to 10. There’s also a climbing version.

Bonica

Small clusters of medium pink blossoms cover a compact four-foot shrub. This is a repeat flowering type that’s extremely disease resistant, and it’s hardy down to Zone 4.

A horizontal image of a light pink Rosa 'Bonica' flower pictured on a soft focus background.

All this has earned ‘Bonica’ the All-American Rose Selection award as well as the German ADR certificate. It was also elected “Rose Favorite of the Entire World” from 2003 to 2006 by the World Federation of Rose Societies.

Louis de Funes

This hybrid tea has double pastel orange, pink, and red flowers with a yellow reverse.

A close up horizontal image of an orange 'Louis de Funes' flower growing in a sunny garden.
Photo by Jamain, Wikimedia Commons, via CC BY-SA.

The shrub stays a petite four feet tall and can survive the cold down to Zone 7, though you can grow it in Zone 6 if you provide winter protection.

Madame A. Meilland

‘Madame A. Meilland,’ also known as ‘Peace,’ is the modern type that put this brand on the map. Introduced in 1942, the large, double flowers are pale yellow and pink. This cultivar is disease-resistant, compact, and hardy to Zone 6.

A close up horizontal image of 'Peace' roses growing in the garden with foliage in soft focus in the background.

As World War II progressed, Francis came to believe it was likely that France would fall. Recognizing that he’d bred a special plant, he began sending out cuttings to friends outside of France in order to save it.

All of these excellent traits add up to a flower so special it was gifted to the delegates of 49 nations at the United Nations Conference on International Organization, where the Charter of the United Nations was signed at the end of World War II.

A close up square image of a Rosa 'Peace' flower with droplets of water on the petals pictured on a dark background.

‘Madame A. Meilland’

Pop on over to Nature Hills Nursery to grab a shrub for your yard.

Origami

‘Origami’ is a groundbreaking floribunda with pink and yellow blossoms. What makes it unique is its unusual shape. The petals form an angle, like a stack of triangles.

These unique flowers cover the six-foot bush all spring and summer, and it’s hardy to Zone 6b.

Papa Meilland

Bred in 1963 by Alain, this hybrid tea has bright red petals on full blossoms that form in flushes all summer long in Zones 6 and up.

Although it’s susceptible to the usual fungal diseases like black spot and mildew, the heady old rose fragrance will make you forget your worries.

A close up square image of a bright red Rosa 'Papa Meilland' flower pictured on a soft focus background.

‘Papa Meilland’

If you’ve fallen in love with this particular hybrid, visit Nature Hills Nursery to bring one home to your garden.

Pierre Arditi

With pure white, double flowers, ‘Pierre Arditi,’ also known as ‘White Perfumella,’ is easy to fall in love with. The blossoms are intensely fragrant with a damask rose and raspberry scent and the plant resists fungal disease.

It’s a multi-award-winning hybrid tea that nabbed the Rome Gold Award in 2008, le Roueulx gold medal in 2008, and the 1st International Prize at the Nantes Rose Trials in 2010. Hardy to Zone 6.

Pink Wonder

Classic light pink blossoms on a three-foot-tall shrub are the hallmark of the floribunda ‘Pink Wonder.’

A close up vertical image of a Rosa 'Pink Wonder' flower pictured on a soft focus background.
Photo by Oksana Matiyeva, Wikimedia Commons, via CC BY-SA.

The flowers are fragrant and return in flushes from spring through fall. This plant is hardy enough to survive the winter in Zones 6 and up.

Princess Charlene de Monaco

A highly fragrant hybrid tea from the Romantica series, the fully double blossoms are large, with petals that feature hues of apricot and medium pink.

Hardy down to Zone 10, she blooms from spring until fall.

Rainbow Sunblaze

‘Rainbow Sunblaze’ has a fiery yellow, orange, and red blossom on a bushy, compact shrub that stays under two feet tall.

Each blossom is very double and the plant can survive down to Zone 5b. The flowers repeat bloom throughout the summer, so you’re never without an impressive display.

A close up square image of Rosa 'Rainbow Sunblaze' pictured in bright sunshine on a soft focus background.

‘Rainbow Sunblaze’

Nature Hills Nursery can help you bring home this perfect option for pots on the patio in a #2 container.

Traviata

A stunning hybrid tea from the Romantica series, this deep red flower is fully double, disease resistant, and long-flowering.

A close up horizontal picture of a single red Rosa 'Traviata' flower pictured in bright sunshine.
Photo by Salicyna, Wikimedia Commons, via CC BY-SA.

Watch out, it’s covered in some serious thorns – but don’t let that scare you off! The massive flowers are well worth the danger. Hardy down to Zone 5.

Forget-Me-Not

Introduced in 2005, this beauty goes by many names, including ‘Forget-Me-Not,’ ‘The Anniversary Rose,’ and ‘Dee-Lish.’ Whatever you call it, the deep, fuschia-red petals with a strong citrus scent are outstanding.

A close up horizontal image of a 'Forget-Me-Not' rose growing in the garden pictured on a soft focus background.
Photo by Krzysztof Ziarnek, Wikimedia Commons, via CC BY-SA.

The five-foot-tall plant will be covered in these double blossoms from spring through fall. Hardy to Zone 5.

Pink Flamingo

Not to be confused with the hybrid tea of the same name, this grandiflora has deep pink blossoms with salmon shading on very full, old-fashioned types.

A close up horizontal image of a bright pink Rosa 'Pink Flamingo' flower pictured on a soft focus background.
Photo by “Another Believer,” Wikimedia Commons, via CC BY-SA.

A repeat bloomer, it stands just 28 inches tall and grows well in Zones 6 to 10. It’s resistant to fungal diseases as well.

Zepeti

Tiny ‘Zepeti’ is perfect for container growing. It blooms all spring and summer, is nearly immune to fungal diseases, and isn’t bothered by extreme heat and cold.

The semi-double flowers are bright red. In the US, they call this fantastic little rose the Petite Knock Out. It’s hardy down to Zone 5b.

Meilland Makes Some Marvelous Roses

Though Meilland International doesn’t have the name recognition of some of the other brands in the rose world, the company is well recognized among rosarians.

Practically any gardener knows what you mean when you mention David Austin or Knock Out. But Meilland has created some fabulous, award-winning flowers that have withstood the test of time.

A close up horizontal image of pink Meilland roses growing in the garden pictured on a soft focus background.

The list of flowers that Meilland has created is pretty long. Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments section below!

Next up, to learn more about caring for your lovely rose garden and its new additions, consider checking out the following guides:

Photo of author
Kristine Lofgren is a writer, photographer, reader, and gardening lover from outside Portland, Oregon. She was raised in the Utah desert, and made her way to the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two dogs in 2018. Her passion is focused these days on growing ornamental edibles, and foraging for food in the urban and suburban landscape.

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