can roses cross-pollinate and change colors?

mstywoods(z5, Westminster, CO)June 8, 2011

Ok, either I'm hallucinating, have bad memory, or a strange rose plant popped into my garden on it's own accord - OR roses can cross-pollinate and change color. The rose bush I planted about 2 years ago had yellow flowers, but the bloom that just opened (and the color of the many buds that have not opened yet) are RED!

My neighbors have 2 red rose bushes, so that's why I'm thinking maybe it cross-pollinated mine. But googling the situation also brought in some info about if a plant had been grafted at some point, and that part died, then the other coloring would take over. And then also something about a spontaneous mutation of the parent plant.

Has anyone else had a rose plant do this? I'll be interested to see if I get any yellow blooms on it, or if will all be red. Also, I have another yellow rose on the other side of that same garden bed - wonder if it will do the same! Hope not - although the red is pretty, I really liked the yellow ones :^(


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dsieber(z5 (Lakewood CO))

Pollination affects the offspring (aka seeds) not the original plant. My guess the characteristics of the original plant had a little tendency for multiple colours of blossoms (some varieties intentionally try to get this). It maybe a "non-true" nature of your plant.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 9:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Well I think you're hallucinating, and that's the end of it! Have you been taking your meds regularly???

First of all, the only thing that cross pollination affects is the SEED. It has nothing to do with, and can't change in any way, a growing plant. So that scratches that theory! (Tho you'll find beaucoup folks who will INSIST that that's what "changed" the color of their roses--and I think I've waited on ALL of them!)

I've never heard of "spontaneous mutation of the parent plant," so scratch that theory--unless somebody else around here has ever heard of this---and has some sort of proof that it can occur!

Now on to what's left! Yes! Many, if not most, of the roses sold today are grafted onto a root stock that's completely different than the variety you're buying. If the canes coming from the graft die, and the root starts to produce new canes, you wind up with the color of whatever the root stock is--usually red. It is possible that you could have canes from both above and below the graft still growing on your rose. If there are any yellow canes left, they may not bloom till a little bit later, so wait a month to be sure. If there are any yellow canes, go thru and cut out all the canes that have reverted back to the root stock. You may be able to tell even if they aren't blooming, which you have. Dig down till you find a round "knob" at the base of the old canes, and anything that's coming out from below that will be coming from the root stock. The graft may be just above the soil level, or may be buried, depending on who planted it! There's a lot of dispute about how they should be planted, but we always recommended planting with the graft right on/above the surface, which, apparently, makes it a little less likely that they will revert, and definitely makes it easier to see where your canes are coming from. If you have both red and yellow, you definitely want to cut out all the red to try to save your yellow canes. Buying "own root" roses eliminates this problem! Either they live or they die--but they don't "change color!" Buying own root roses, however, will limit your choice of varieties--tho I understand they're starting to produce more of them!

Now! About those meds!!!


    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 9:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Dan Staley

The rootstock has sent up shoots. Look at the thickness of the stems and the lvs. Some or all of the grafted portion has died. Common.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 9:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dsieber(z5 (Lakewood CO))

Skybird you are correct on the rootstock (however I have found most of them are like wild roses and come out pink). But if the red is coming from above the graft it could be an non-true feature/defect of the original rose. I personally would be glad if I had a rose perform this trick.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 9:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cnetter(z5 Co)

The most common rootstock on roses is the US (other than for Florida) is Dr. Huey, which blooms deep red flowers just once a year in June. This is the most likely reason for the red blooms. I see Dr. Huey blooming all over the Denver area.

Although I have had roses sport (mutate), but those blooms are usually white. I then take the sport as a cutting and see if it's stable. Interesting sports of roses that prove to be healthy and stable (not revert back to looking like the parent plant) are quite marketable. Some of my favorite roses came about from mutations.

I have had roses self seed, one of which produced a very nice double version of Darlow's Enigma. Unfortunately it did it ten feet away in my iris patch.

But, I still think what you got is blooming root stock.
Back when I was a member of the Denver Rose Society, we always recommended burying the graft/bud union at least a couple of inches unless you wanted to mound soil or mulch every fall to protect the graft from winter damage or death which will lead to the rock stock being more likely to take over. Also, it was thought that the grafted stock might form roots of its own if the graft was buried. It used to frustrate us that the instructions on packaged roses often showed the rose being planted with the bud union above ground. (Don't know if the packages still have this, I haven't planted a packaged rose in decades.) Many folks would call the consulting rosarians, asking the same questions you are, saying they planted the rose according to the instructions. Their unprotected graft died in the winter, and Dr. Huey root stock took over.

I always bury my graft to protect it since I don't have the time to pile mulch over the bud union. I have way too many roses to do that.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 10:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mstywoods(z5, Westminster, CO)

Pfew! Looks like I'm not crazy (and I don't need meds , Skybird :-p) afterall!!

I have never planted roses before, and have only had minimal experiences living in places that had them growing in my yard - so I'd never heard of this happening. To tell you the truth, I just plopped it into the ground and didn't pay attention to (nor read anything about it on the label) exactly how I planted it :^o.

What did happen last spring was that I thought it had died over the winter. The canes were brown and brittle with no signs of growth. So I bought another yellow rose to replace it, but when I started to dig it up I found shoots coming up just under the surface. So I covered it back up and planted the new rose elsewhere. This rose in question never bloomed last year, although did get plenty of leaves and stalks. I didn't cut it back as far last fall, and with the fair winter we had and lots of rain, it has grown like gangbusters this spring!

So sounds like indeed it must have been a grafted rose, and the Dr. Huey root stock is what grew last and this spring, and not the apparently grafted yellow part. What is the reason for grafting to this root stalk - hardiness?

I still wonder if maybe I'll still get some yellow, because some of the stalks look thicker than the others and the red buds/blooms are on the lower branches which look a little smaller. It will be an interesting plant to watch this year!

Thanks for all the great info!!


    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 3:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
david52 Zone 6

Speaking of roses, the deer heard visited here the other evening, nipping off Every. Single. Rose. Bud. In. The. Garden. Along with all the lower leaves off the fruit trees.

"Silly rascals" I said to myself.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 10:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Dan Staley

That's very considerate of you, David, to provide tasty and nutritious meals for the wildlife. ;o)


    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 11:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cnetter(z5 Co)

mstywoods, the primary reason for grafting roses onto rootstock is speed and volume in getting desirable roses to market. The rootstock is vigorous and quickly grown to a good size where the top is then lopped off and a single bud eye of the desirable rose is grafted on. This bud eye becomes the graft or bud union we talked about above.
Reproducing roses this way enables a lot of roses to be made from canes of desirable stock since one cane can provide quite a few bud eyes. The vigor from the rootstock enables the bud eye to grow into a good size rose pretty quickly.
Own root roses are often done by taking a piece of rose cane and rooting it. I've also known people who propagated roses by tissue culture too. It then takes longer to get a rose the same size as a grafted one. But as far as I can tell, after a few years both own root and grafted roses end up with similar vigor and size. I've rooted possibly thousands of roses over the years. Some of these I had grafted versions of the rose as well and over time they seem to behave pretty much the same in most cases. David Austin roses seem to throw up more canes from the base when own root. Same with most OGRs. Hybrid Teas were pretty much indistinguishable after three years or so.
In the case of Florida, where there is a root nematode problem, grafting is done for hardiness. The roses there are often grafted onto Fortuniana root stock which is resistant to these nematodes.

Anybody want to take cuttings of roses and try root them, now is a good time. I've got lots and lots of non-patented and old garden roses just coming into bloom.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 8:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Dan Staley

Memories come back...growing up in Michigan, we'd root roses from cuttings because back then, winters were worse and you never knew what would survive, so that was a cheap way to go. In CA before I quit roses that was a good way to go there as well. IME the old roses were much better than some of the new teas and you'd always go somewhere with a way to bring home a surreptitious cutting from an old rose you liked (there are some wonderful roses at Empire Mine SHP that I spread around admired a lot), the Austins were just coming out when I stopped doing roses, but I liked what I saw in that time. At any rate, what cnetter said.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 8:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mstywoods(z5, Westminster, CO)

Fastinating! Well, I'm still waiting to see if a few of the larger canes that have no buds on them will eventually come out with some yellow flowers. The bottom half, with much smaller thickness of canes, is flowering away in red! That would be really cool if I got both colors on one plant :^) Possible?

The rose I planted on the other side of the garden has buds on it, and I believe I detect a hint of yellow. So yeah, still have one at least!!

Thanks for all the great info.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 9:12PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Plant protection after this spring in February
Hi, I have some daffodils and tulips moving right along....
Online source for Jamesia americana?
I'm a central Washington / eastern Cascade Mountains...
Sagebrush Spring
Bare Root Roses
This week I saw a whole new rack of Bare Root Roses...
The South Window
And, the greenhouse bench: Steve's digit
New perennial bed, need some ideas and help
So, I brought this up to Skybird in another thread...
ZachS. z5 Littleton, CO
Sponsored Products
Steelcase | Airtouch® Height Adjustable Table
Black 16-inch Plant Dolly
Lineground Round Mirror by Skram Furniture
$3,203.20 | Lumens
1812 World Map Print
$19.99 | Dot & Bo
Stone Luxe 3-Seat Sofa Slipcover
Cost Plus World Market
Artemide | Melampo Table Lamp
$390.00 | YLighting
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™