Garden Better: Rose Guide

Black Rose


Looking for a black rose? Few plants are truly black by nature, and even fewer flowers are black. There is no such thing as a true jet black rose. Rose expert Peter Schneider says that "a truly black rose is an impossibility-its petals would crumble as soon as exposed to the sunlight". Most "black" plants are actually dark shades of red or blue, like dark plum, purple, or maroon. One example of a true black plant is a type of Ophiopogon (Mondo Grass), Nigrescens, which is known as "Ebony Knight", "Black Dragon", or "Arabicus" because of its stunning black color. Some would even call it nearly black. Most black plants, however, are really dark shades of red or blue. Even the "Jet Black" Hollyhocks are deep purple, almost black.


If you are willing to settle for a black rose that is not jet black, but very close, there is good news for you. Variants of Hybrid Tea Roses (which is the common rose you will find at your local florist) have been blended, producing the darkest red roses ever. "Black Magic" is the deepest, darkest rose found today, making it the closest to a natural black rose. "Black Magic" was hybridized from a cross of "Red Velvet" and "Dallas" by Tantau in Germany in 1997, and introduced to the United States in 2001 by Jackson & Perkins Company. "Black Magic" is described as luxuriant, velvet, lush and spellbinding.

Jackson & Perkins Co. has a type of Floribunda called "Black Cherry" whose almost black buds bloom into deep crimson, black-tipped blooms. "Ruby Celebration" is a Floribunda rose whose dark red resembles a black rose. The near black buds open into luxuriant, velvety crimson flowers.

To emphasize the deep crimson red of any of these roses, you can contrast it with a lighter rose, like a white or yellow, to make your dark rose look like a black rose. This technique is often used in landscaping and in creating beautiful vibrant bouquets.

There is yet another way to make a black rose, a technique that has been around much longer than any of the breeding methods mentioned above. This "technique" is to dip the rose in black paint, or even to spray paint it black! Believe it or not, it is done, so make sure to carefully examine any rose which looks just a little too black!


While some interpret black as a symbol of death, and therefore would only give a black rose to a foe, others see in black a representation of the rebirth that grows from the death of old habits. It goes without saying that unless you know the recipient of your gift loves the color black, or is into "Goth", black roses are something you should avoid as a gift!

Many people seek black roses because of their mysterious qualities. In gardening and landscaping, people often desire black roses to add drama and sophistication. Karen Platt, author of "Black Magic and Purple Passion", writes all about why dark flowers and roses are appealing, calling them "modern, vibrant, and sexy".

Black roses can be appealing to Goths, who are often associated with being drawn to dark colors and melancholy imagery. Those seeking a Gothic look will be interested in gardening with black plants and black roses, and what better way for a Goth to express their love than with a black rose!

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