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OT: Color Change in Roses

From: "Jeff and Carolyn Walters" <jcwalters@bridgernet.com>

Chris Darlington wrote: 
> Hello Catherine , I know that this doesn't apply to irises but I had a
> similar experience with a bright red and yellow hybrid climbing rose
> that was so flashy and unattractive that I unceremoniously ripped it out
> of the ground and tossed it in the compost pile in the field behind my
> house.  Later that day , out of guilt , I retrieved it and planted in a
> not so sunny location.  When it did bloom , it was pure white and it
> totally baffled me.  I know there is no scientific explanation for this
> but it did happen to me and I'm curious as to what it'll look like this
> summer.  Many people have experienced the same phenomena , to some , 
> it's a mistaken identity , to others , like myself , it's a mystery .


Unlike irises (and most other herbaceous plants) that grow from their own
roots, hybrid roses, like fruit trees, are grafted onto specially selected
rootstocks that are genetically different from the flowering (fruiting)
stems and branches. If the grafted top growth should die (as could have
well been the result of the harsh treatment received by your hybrid rose),
the rootstock is capable of sending out its own shoots, which as previously
explained are completely unrelated to the deceased grafts and may naturally
be of a completely different character. I have had this happen to two shrub
roses growing in my garden. The grafted top growth was killed by freezes,
but the rootstocks have replaced it with their own shoots. In one case a
rose that started out yellow now bears pink flowers and in another case one
that started with blush pink flowers now bears dark red ones.

Jeff Walters in northern Utah  (USDA Zone 4/5, Sunset Zone 2)

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