How to Make Rainbow Roses Because They Aren’t Real, Garden Mythbusting!

fake rainbow rose

Rainbow roses, real or fake? As a person who works in the horticulture industry, I couldn’t help but notify fellow gardeners about this matter.

There are quite a number of retailers in China selling Rainbow Rose seeds, and what a scam this is…

I’ll get straight to the point. There is no such thing as rainbow roses, it’s just a florists trick done with long-stemmed white roses and flower dye, which you can do at home!

Florists use powdered flower dye to change the colours of flowers, but food dye (food colouring) will still work, just maybe not as well though…

How to Make Your Own Rainbow Roses

You will need:

  • White long stemmed roses
  • Narrow vases that can sit very closely together, use three or four depending on how many colours you wish to use
  • A sharp knife to split the rose stem
  • Powdered flower dye (available from florist supply stores) or food colouring, use three or four colours such as red, green, blue or yellow

Procedure for making rainbow roses:

  1. Mix the flower dye with water according to the instructions, fill each vase with a different colour.
    (If using food colouring, add enough into water so the colour is quite dark.)
  2. Place the vases close together.
  3. Cut off a small piece of the end of the stem at an angle, so it can absorb water more easily.
  4. Using a sharp knife, split the rose stem lengthwise into three of four parts, approximately the length of the vases.
  5. Place each split stem into its own vase of flower-dye coloured water.
  6. Leave the rose with its split lower stems in the flower-dye coloured water until the right colouring is achieved – this may take anything from hours to a few days depending on how vibrant you want the colour to be and the type of dye used!
  7. Trim off the split section of the stem and then place the ‘rainbow rose’ in a vase of clean water

It’s really quite simple, the flowers take up the coloured water by capillary action and the dye gets deposited in the petals, white flowers are used to show the colours better.

Don’t believe everything you hear…

So now you know, if you see any absurdly unnatural coloured flowers, they’re just dyed! This trick is done with many other flowers too, not just roses.

The important lesson here is this. Don’t buy seeds for very rare or unusual plants (even ones that really do exist) from overseas sellers! The seeds may not be from the actual plant, or they may be too old and not be viable any more. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Rare plants are just that, rare! Only buy from reputable sellers who deal in plants and seeds.

Caveat emptor – Latin for “Let the buyer beware”.

10 thoughts on “How to Make Rainbow Roses Because They Aren’t Real, Garden Mythbusting!

  1. SEED! Oh my! I saw these on EBay. I can remember when bare root catalogues used to enhance the color on some of their flowering trees and shrubs, like flowering crabapples with bright pink ‘everything’. The flowers, leaves, stems, everything was bright pink because of a picture taken of a picture with a piece of clear pink film placed over the canopy of the tree. I was just about to write about this in my ‘rant’ section, because it is still done, although not quite to the extent of the rainbow rose.

    1. Goodness, I wouldn’t have imagined that they’d mess with bare root tree pictures! Thanks for that, definitely let people know!

      1. They were not pictures of the trees as bare root, but what they would grow up to look like. They were just pictures of mature trees with a piece of bright pink plastic cut out and laid over.

      2. Unbelievable! I would have though they might have gone to the trouble to digitally alter the photos in Photoshop…

        In the garden nursery industry the only issue I’ve noticed with pictures of plant and trees on labels here is that lazy graphic designers don’t bother to calibrate the colours for printing. We get strange situations where the labels will say that the flowers are lavender coloured for example, but look bright pink in the picture, or you might have the same rose from two different growers, and they appear to be different colours on the label pictures, but the descriptions on the back of the labels describe the colours the same way. I tell customers to read the back of the label for an accurate description of the real colour and to ignore the pictures!

      3. The pictures that my colleague and I were laughing at were in catalogues back in the late 1980s. There was also a picture of a bright pink pampas grass, which is really more like a tan color.

      4. Funny that you mention that, they’re still selling seeds for supposedly bright purple pampas grass on the Chinese online marketplaces, some things never get old, even thirty years later!

      5. Goodness! I almost want to buy some! I did happen to purchase seed for blue nasturtium (and there actually is such a thing), but the seed were for four-o’clock, Mirabilis jalapa.

  2. Thanks! It looks fake, that’s why I did some more research and found this. Thanks for confirming 🙂

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