I’ve been increasingly impressed with Mutabilis as a rose – though winter hardyness can be an issue here (Central Ohio) my plant, and those at a local rose garden bloom consistently all summer and showed no black spot or mildew at all with no spray during an outstandingly wet summer. I also love how easily it roots from cuttings – not a critical attribute, but a nice one nonetheless.

I’ve not really tried breeding with it yet, and was wondering if anyone had any experience/comments/tips. This year it set a lot of OP hips, but in past years I’ve seen few to none. Is it a decent pollen or seed parent?

Joseph Tychonievich

I’ve only used Mutabilis as a pollen parent on Rosa multiflora. The F1 is once-blooming but very vigorous. I’ve gotten a few repeat-bloomers in the open-pollinated F2 seedlings.

I would imagine Mutabilis could be used as a seed parent also, since it also sets quite a few open-pollinated hips. Although I would recommend using the earliest opening flowers, since the hips seem to take a long time to mature.

Look at a list of Lens hybrids with it. Theyre really quite interesting.

here is one descendant, with mutabilis as seed parent, the pollen parent is probably Toby Tristam…

It is a huge rambler, called “Maxence” from one of my daughters… a brother seedling has yellow then white flowers, called “Solveig” from my other daughter.

Flowers are larger than usual rambler flowers

I love this rose and believe it is probably related to most of the roses the change from a yellow to pink coloration. While it’s not stated in their heritage, I also believe roses such as Masquerade, Faust, and Redgold are all related to Mutabilis. Based on this belief I have used all of these roses in developing an exhibition hybrid tea that changes from all yellow to all pink and hope to have it available to the nursery for testing in the near future.

Mutabilis is the oldest rose I know of that makes this shift but would love to hear from others if you know of another rose, not related to Mutabilis that can do this.

Tamango has Mutabilis as a grandparent.

Flutterbye has it as a parent.

It seems that Mutabilis so has two unique traits passed to offspring. 1) Color change. And 2) deep unfading red.

Many of Tamango’s blood line is very deep red and resists fading… It may be due to something from Mutabilis or not, but none the less, Tamango seems like a rose that should be played around more often. It did create many lovely minis during the 1980s.

I’d love to have a hybrid tea with the color change of Mutabilis. I have several Mutabilis seedlings that change color, but none of them as dramatically as Mutabilis. A couple of other older roses that have some degree of color change are Joseph’s Coat and its parent Circus. I guess it would take DNA testing to tell for sure whether they have Mutabilis in their ancestry. They may have gotten some of their yellow pigment from their Pernetiana ancestors.

It seems that a yellow pigment that fades, and a red pigment that deepens with exposure to the sun are two separate traits. I understand that Mutabilis grown under glass starts out yellow, and then fades, but doesn’t turn red. There are many yellow roses that fade with age, and many china roses with no trace of yellow whose color deepens in the sun. The trick is to combine both traits in one rose.

Hi Jim,

Good point about the yellow and red colors actually being separate. There was a series of articles related to this in an RHA newsletter a couple years ago, actually I think the last one I edited. Yellow colors come from pigments that are fat soluble found in specialized structures containing lipids and the reds from anthocyanins are water soluble and are stored-placed in the water containing vacuoles of petal cells. That’s interesting about the anthycyanins of Mutabilis not developing in the greenhouse. Glass blocks UV (plastic greenhouse coverings generally do not unless specially coated) and it appears that anthocyanin development in some roses (like Double Delight too) is fostered by UV light.


with “Maxence” (upper photo), flowers sometimes fade in white, and sometimes become deep pink…you have branches of white and others of pink…seems depending of temperature and sun light… the plant is better with cold mornings and bright hot days…