Is It Possible to Grow a Black Rose?

M. Haskins

There are several rose varieties that have the word black in their name, like Black Magic and Black Prince, but there is no rose plant that will naturally produce truly black flowers. Instead, what is usually called a black rose has very dark red blooms, often with petals tinged with an even darker shade at the edges. A black rose of this kind often produces flower buds that look almost black, but as the blooms open, the red or purple color becomes more visible. One way to grow a black rose is to water the rose plant with water mixed with black food coloring, gradually darkening the blooms. It has been reported that botanists already have created truly black roses in laboratories by manipulating the genes of rose plants, but such a rose plant has not yet been made available to flower growers or the public.

Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

Through cross-breeding, cultivators have been able to produce the very darkly colored rose varieties referred to as black roses. Two of the most well-known and most darkly colored black rose varieties are Black Baccara and Black Jade. Both these roses are a very dark, bluish-black shade of red, and are darkest in color before the blooms open. These varieties of black roses are most commonly available from plant stores and nurseries specializing in roses.

In order to produce as darkly colored blooms as possible, some rose growers suggest growing black roses in somewhat cooler and shadier conditions than other kinds of roses. Growing these roses in a greenhouse, where growing conditions can be more tightly controlled, can help produce darker flowers. It is possible to darken the color of the blooms of a black rose further by adding one teaspoon of black food coloring or dye to five cups of water, and watering the plant with this mixture once a week. The color is absorbed by the roots and will eventually darken the color of the flowers to black.

In the so-called language of flowers, where different types and colors of flowers have different meanings, black roses are associated with death or hate, though there are also alternative meanings such as devotion and rebirth. As a political symbol, the black rose has occasionally been used by anarchists. In Ireland, the Irish word for black rose, Róisín Dubh, is sometimes used to refer to Ireland itself, and is also the title of a famous Irish song about love and political freedom written in the 16th century.

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Discussion Comments


@live2shop- I'm quite sure a wedding with the red dress/black flowers color scheme has been done before. I think it sounds great! Most weddings are so similar, it's nice to mix it up sometimes.

Now, the red dress part is fairly easy, because a lot of Asian cultures use red as the wedding color and white as a funeral color, so that happens quite a bit. I would bet almost none of those traditional Asian weddings use black flowers, though.

You'd think it would be more gothic/vampire/industrial type people, or maybe weddings around Halloween. Maybe you could start a wedding planning business specializing in this kind of thing. You would probably be the only one in your area, so you might make a fortune.


I bought a black rose from a florist recently for my niece. She's kind of an odd kid, into vampires and all of that, and she thought it was the greatest thing ever. She had never heard of it before.

The guy at the flower shop said he sells quite a few of them, and way more around Halloween (obvious) and also Valentine's Day, which struck me as kind of odd. I wouldn't think that was a black rose kind of holiday. Probably "goths" or somebody into that sort of thing.


@bagley79- I like the sound of the deep purple rose that looks different colors in the light. Black roses can be cool, but the died ones I've seen are pretty much just opaque and black.

It's like the difference between a person with naturally black hair and a person who dyes their hair jet black. The naturally black hair will still have variations of shade and will reflect the light better than the dyed hair.


Every spring I like to find at least one new and unusual plant for my yard. This year when I was at the greenhouse, I saw a black beauty rose bush and could not pass it up.

I would describe the color as a very deep, dark purple. Depending on how the sun is shining on it, sometimes it can look like the color of chocolate.

I think it is a unique color, but would not want a lot of them planted with this color only. They look best when they are planted with other colors that complement their dark petals.


An online gardening company that I order from sells what they call a nearly black rose.

It was described as being such a dark red, that the petals almost looked black. I have always loved a dark red color and thought it would be interesting to order some for my garden.

I was anxious to see what color the petals would actually look like when they finally bloomed. They were a very dark red, and blended in nicely with the other shades of red roses I had in my garden.

I didn't really want true black roses and was pleased with the color they were and felt they were described correctly in the magazine.

This nearly black rose bush requires the same maintenance and care that my other rose bushes do, and I enjoy the almost black, red and pink combination of all of them when they are in bloom.


During the Victorian period, romance and love were a big part of the culture. Flowers, especially roses, were often given to another to express love. The red rose was a popular rose to show undying love. Other colors of roses had definite meanings also.

The black rose meaning is harsh, it can symbolize death and hate. In addition, it has other meanings. For example, in fashion and design, the color of black (black roses) can symbolize elegance and sophistication.

If someone is leaving for war, or on an adventure where they might not return, a single black rose might be given.

Often, black roses are used at funerals to say good-bye to a loved one. The use of black roses has been used during protestations and even sent to the enemy to show vengeance.

It might be a good idea to send a note, along with the black rose, to whomever you send it to, explaining what meaning you attach to this rose. It could even be sent in jest, as long as you explain yourself.


It's kind of a shame that black roses - those that are naturally bluish, reddish black and those that are fed with food coloring - are often symbols of death and hate. I happen to find them attractive and they look great in certain situations.

They look good in a modern color scheme of white, silver or gray. Or imagine a wedding with red bridesmaid dresses and accessories - along with black roses! I'm sure it's been done.

The difficult part is the negative feelings that black roses conjure up. Maybe if they are used more, the traditional meanings can gradually be changed.

Just as an aside, the son of a friend of mine brought back some black tulips that had been developed in The Netherlands. My friend planted them in her yard and they are truly black!


@Penzance356 That must have been embarrassing! Even knowing that, though, if someone gave me a black rose I would find it really special. They're so rare and beautiful, and I love roses.


A long time ago I found a beautiful black rose had meaning for a special someone in my life. Sadly it wasn't positive.

Having found this solitary flower for slae at a roadside stand I thought it would be a perfectly romantic gift. How was I to know that given to a lover it signifies the death of a relationship?

These days I rarely buy flowers for a date until I have searched the net to be sure the symbolism is appropriate!


My friend is a goth and when she announced wedding plans she sent me, as best friend and maid of honor, to find a place to buy black roses.

I'm really grateful for this article as I've not seen any black roses for sale in any of the standard flower shops. Now I have a few ideas on how to get some, as the date is still a fair way off.

Now I need to find a keen gardener who will be willing to water the rose bush with black dye!


Black roses seem to be a popular choice for those looking for a flower that symbolizes a final farewell or death. A lot of florists where I am don't sell black roses, but if you need them for a specific purpose, such as a gothic themed party, they can be ordered in.

My local florist was able to supply me with quite a large order of black roses for my annual Halloween bash but I had to order them well in advance. I am pretty sure the roses were brought in from another city and were mostly dye fed, but they certainly looked great at my bash. Nothing gives a party a dark, elegant feel like black roses.


The easiest way to grow your own black roses is to use the dye feeding method. I have found that the Black Jade variety is easiest to grow on your own and by adding the black food coloring into the water you use you can really get a truly dark rose. While it isn't perfectly black I feel it is as close as you can get.

For myself I like to use black roses as an accent to my home as I have a monochromatic modern look going on. A lot of my home is all about sharp contrast and I think the black roses make a fantastic accent against my white textured walls.

Plus, black roses are always an interesting conversation starter. Not a whole lot of people seem familiar with black roses.

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