Mutable roses

I was interested in soliciting a list of decent mutable roses for the sake of researching their pedigrees. From what I can tell, many of the better known mutable roses have Pinocchio in their ancestry, either via Masquerade or via Circus.

By “mutable” I am thinking of roses which start out yellow(ish) and while the yellow fades, a red tone darkens to replace it (in the style of china ancestry) something like the rose “mutabilis” – a china whose parentage is unknown.

I would also love feedback on various “mutable” cultivars.

So far, as a ‘for instance’ there are:

Masquerade (Goldilocks – a doubloons child – crossed with Holiday – a Pinnochio offspring)

Circus (Fandango x Pinocchio)

Joseph’s Coat (Buccaneer

Mutable roses that I own:

Sheer Elegance (cream, salmon and coral)

Bronze Sunset (gold, apricot and coral red)

the Bengale china (it changes from one shade of red to another)

Playboy (yellow orange pink red)

Orange Velvet (coral becomes flame red)

Distant Drums (tan becomes orchid becomes mauve-ish)

…eh, there are at least 20 more. But they are ALL phototropic. So, dont limit oneself to just yellow to red. The sun with heighten the intensity of colors of other color ranges, too.

There’s another side to ‘mutable’ and those are roses which tend to mutate to different colored blooms that are fairly stable.

Playgirl comes to mind as one of the moderns with at least two different pink sports.

Souv. de la Malmaison has several different color sports in commerce.

My favorites are the Orleans line of polyanthas that go from lavender to golden oranges to red oranges to cerise to pale (almost flesh like ) that I’ve seen go cerise on a few blooms on my plant.

Combining these with phototrophics could lead to riots of colors.

Hi Philip:

Irene Marie changes from a bright yellow center with a vivid orange border to a soft pink center and a dark pink border.

Feel free to come make cuttings of Mermaid if you wish – all it will cost you is a hands on lesson in rooting cuttings. Hope things are going well with your Dad.

Regards, Bob

If you want an easy to make blend, cross any yellow to Remember Me.

How little my interests have changed…

I did a search for answers to a question I evidently asked some time back when still recovering from Katrina and still rose-gardenless… Does anyone else have a strong interest in phototropic/mutable roses? I’ve seen posts on the bicolored pernetianas, for instance, which offer similar characteristics if in a more subtle form…

Any new recommendations? Thoughts?

Anyone have experience with Rio Samba? I would love to work with a healthy landscape form of something like this. (Must be my subtropical upbringing. I’m missing my garish tropical plants here in Texas…)

Any thoughts as to how a breeder might get there? I.e., would the likes of a ‘Double Delight’, with its deepening red, crossed with a ‘Julia Child,’ with its fading yellow, potentially yield stuff along this vein?



I am responding completely off the top of my head and just following my gut feelings. I think your last statement involves two different processes, Double Delight is definitely phototropic. I had two at one time, one in full sun and the other under a tree in partial shade. One time, we had days of full sun with no clouds and the DD planted in the sun produced a solid red bloom. I would have thought it was another rose except I knew better or a sport. The DD in partial shade sent a cane directly into the center of the tree and a bloom on that cane developed and was all white. This shows the extreme case of phototropism.

I don’t have Julia Child but saw it enough at a Botanical Garden where I use to volunteer. It came out a nice yellow but over time, as the blooms aged, the yellow faded until the oldest blooms were a creamy white. This is the typical “yellow fade” . Certainly shade slows it down but it is an aging process I believe related to the breakdown and transformation of chemicals in the petals (Don Holeman and Karl King are the experts on that). DD was not an ageing process.

On the other hand, there is nothing to say one can’t cross the two plants and combine the two processes. Think of plumcots, tangelos, etc.

I think the pernetianas tend to “bleed” their colors like making a water color painting and adding water so the colors bleed into each other.

Didn’t realize this was such an old post but some things never change and it never hurts to go back and rehash something again since new things can always pop up.

Jim P

My Rio Samba puts out about 40 hips a year with poor germination. The seedlings so far show little vigor but are still alive. The flowers are like the mother plant for size and stay mostly yellow. The crosses tried last year did not take but I`m sure some untagged pollen was dusted on some of the flowers. The plant is rather stringy and needs to be tied back off the yard. Last fall it was pruned hard to see if it would shoot stiffer canes. I like the plant a lot and will continue to work it. Neil

Around here, it’s the open flower which sells Rio Samba. Unfortunately, the plant sucks big time. Every disease and vigor issue known to man. Put something like that flower on a decent plant and you would have a world beater.

Percy Wright’s Rugosa ‘Musician’ (‘Hansa’ x ‘Hazeldean’) doesn’t appear to change colour on the Prairies, even though when living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan he described it as a tri-colour. But I have seen mature shrubs in Toronto (North York) having creamy- yellow, pink and red flowers blooming at the same time. The visual effect is stunningly beautiful. Interestingly, Percy wrote that out of 300 seedlings of this cross he only got two strong growing plants. The other one (‘Regina’) was lost.

By the way, had Percy not sent a very small propagule (apparently, a root stolon) to Dr. Casmir Mekdeci of North York during the 1970’s, this cultivar would have been lost. At the present time, only about 6 shrubs exist (all in Canada). It doesn’t sucker readily and is very difficult to propagate from softwood cuttings, because of the Spinosissima cultivar in the parentage. After a few attempts, I finally succeeded in doing so. This shrub grows at the Devonian Botanic Garden rose garden located near Edmonton, Alberta.

Had two Double Delight. One in the sun and enriched soil, just a stunted plant with a three day flower. The other in shaded and clay soil doing fine. Had hips but no seedlings so it´s just for cut flowers at this time. Neil

Gemini x About Face produces almost all mutable seedlings. They often start out light yellow or orange and end up quite a vivid pink. Enough of them are vigorous and healthy, but they tend to get quite repetitious. Gemini x Shockwave produced a few really healthy offspring that are very phototropic. The most mutable, garish, hot pink that starts as a soft apricot is ‘Dream Come True’ which I did not like at first, but have come to like it just for its’ mass of neon pink. Big, bold, and brassy! It is an acquired taste.

Jim, yes, they are two different processes, but I think it is a combo of these two processes involved in, for instance, mutabilis. As the yellow fades, the phototropic red kicks in. I’m not sure what the odds of successfully combining the effects from i.e. the two roses, DD and JC would be, but it struck me as an interesting concept.

Of course, I don’t recall Double Delight being a very easy rose when I had it, but then I think it was a body-bag purchase, and likely it had RMV. I generally don’t find much merit in many of the HT’s in my garden. Too much trouble and chemicals… Generally being grafted plants likely doesn’t help matters.

Paul, a phototropic Rugosa?? Now that is interesting… I tend to associate phototropism with the chinas, and hence roses for warmer climates. The photos on HMF do look intriguing. I wonder where in its ancestry a darkening pink came from. In my climate, I have very limited experience with rugosas. I thought they faded rather than darkened in sunlight. (Makes me wonder if something in the foetida line could help develop phototropic reds(?))

Jackie, I suppose Gemini gets its mutable qualities via New Year? Which rose (Gemini or New Year) would you consider to be cleaner and more vigorous?

(Geesh. Now I’m looking at all the high-maintenance HT’s again, which I was almost ready to swear off…) sigh

So if you were to aim for gosh-awful gaudy and wanted to avoid anything BS-prone, what route might one consider?

Thanks to all…

Both of Gemini’s parents are phototropic.