By Suzanne Horn
Consulting Rosarian

As spring arrives and rose show season approaches, it's hard not to think about those roses that could win the coveted "Queen of Show" trophy.  Cajun Sunrise is a splendid example of an exhibition hybrid tea that was destined for the trophy table from the day it was introduced.  Bred in the United States in 2000 by prominent Louisiana rosarian and top hybridizer Eddie Edwards, Cajun Sunrise was made available to the buying public in 2001 by Johnny Becnel Show Roses.  Cajun Sunrise is a cross of two great show roses, Crystalline x Elegant Beauty, and is unquestionably one of the finest hybrid teas to come along in quite some time.  

Eddie Edwards is known for hybridizing exhibition roses, and his creations have become even more sought after as the major hybridizers like Weeks and Jackson & Perkins focus more on garden-variety roses at the expense of those with exhibition form.  Cajun Sunrise rapidly became one of the top show roses in the country without the benefit of a wide national availability that is offered roses introduced by major distributors.  Since its introduction, Cajun Sunrise has been moving up in the Top 20 Exhibition Hybrid Tea List in the nation, as reported by; and by 2004, the Roses in Review listed it in its Top 10.  Southern California rose show goers have seen it win "Queen of Show" many times.  

Perhaps the most enticing thing about the Cajun Sunrise rose is its magnificent color. True to its name, this is the rose that will catch your eye upon entering the garden in the early morning, as the blooms really do reflect the colors of a beautiful sunrise.  Cajun Sunrise is categorized by the American Rose Society as a pink blend (pb), which hardly does justice to the luscious blend of pink, yellow and creamy white it presents.  The color of this rose has been compared to that of the classic hybrid tea, Peace, with a blush of pink on the edges of the petals and yellow at the base, fading to white. It is, however, a much better rose for exhibition than Peace, and does just as beautifully in the garden.

The form of Cajun Sunrise is absolutely beautiful, presenting plentiful classic, high centered, spiral blooms that exhibitors pursue. The blooms of this rose, which generally have between 26 and 40 petals, are full of substance and can grow to as large as 4 or 5 inches across in cool weather.  However, they tend to be smaller in the heat. The pastel colored blossoms, which are somewhat reminiscent of rainbow sherbet, are presented on strong, straight stems, and are clothed in a plentiful array of slightly glossy, deep green foliage.

By way of growth habit, the rose plant is medium-tall, vigorous and upright; and it averages a height of between four to six feet.  Although it only has a very mild fragrance, Cajun Sunrise has many other wonderful attributes. For instance, this rose offers better than average disease resistance, which is a big plus in my garden. It also appears to be relatively shade tolerant.  My two plants are growing in an area that only gets about 3 hours of sun a day, and they are flourishing there.  In addition, Cajun Sunrise is a great all-around garden rose. It is easy to grow, and reblooms on a regular basis throughout the growing season. 

For those of you who read Lynn Snetsinger's wonderful and informative article entitled "Finding New Roses," it will be an excellent reference for you in locating Cajun Sunrise. As indicated above, it is not likely that you will find this rose in your local garden center or nursery.  However, despite its limited release, this rose has become one of the most sought after exhibition roses in commerce. For those who will go the extra mile to find it, and you will most certainly have to mail order it, Cajun Sunrise will be well worth the effort.  

In summary, Cajun Sunrise is not only a great show rose, but is also an outstanding garden rose that is sure to reward you with glorious long-stemmed beauties throughout the growing season.  These roses have a vase life of four to five days, which makes them perfect for cutting for the home.  I suggest you brighten up your spring by adding a little morning glory to your garden with the beautiful Cajun Sunrise! 

© Copyright Suzanne Horn. All rights reserved. 

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Last Update: January 3, 2016