Not even close


Personally, I couldn't care less whether there's a blue rose or not, but please don't try to pawn this off as one. Bleh!

Previous articleGiving hedera a chance
Next articleThe Harvest Feast
Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regularly radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world,and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at


  1. This is the breeder I interviewed in Flower Confidential–yeah, they quickly discovered that implanting the gene that makes blue pigment was only the beginning. There’s a lot more chemistry involved than that. It’s a lilac rose, but not blue.

    They used the same technology to breed these carnations, which I often see in grocery stores:

  2. haha, definitely not blue.

    i really don’t get what’s so difficult about this… The anthocyanin pathway is very well characterized and a blue pigment is a blue pigment. maybe the redox/pH conditions of rose cells destabilize the blue anthocyanin molecules… (like how soil pH affects hydrangea flower color)

    Anthocyanin molecules are pretty amazing though – they can have almost identical molecular structure to each other (except for the placement of one or two hydrogren atoms) and be completely different colors.

  3. Huh? Maybe they are colorblind.The problem with off color Roses:They look weird.I saw some pale purple Roses in Germany this Summer.They looked ashen.Not what I would expect for the money.But,to each his own.

  4. I’m not sure if it’s relevant to this case, but color perception is culturally influenced. Maybe, to the Japanese eye and language, the roses are indeed blue.
    I’ll take the standard red, though, thanks!

  5. I’m with you Matt — I would have thought it would be simple, but from what I understand, even getting this close to blue was extremely difficult. I think it does come down to a cellular pH thing, but I’m not totally sure.

  6. I’m not sure why the quest for a blue rose when there are so many true blue flowers out there.

    I do find it funny that they’ll spend so much time and money to develop a blue rose and put it into the marketplace and the next week some florist just adds blue dye to the vase and gets a better effect.

  7. Agreed. I actually do quite like the color of this rose. I groove on those desaturated, mauve-y tones — to me they’re evocative of antique photographs, faded silks, bygone elegance, and anything that can engage my imagination that way would be welcome in my garden. But blue? Um, no.

  8. That is one Ugly rose. I noticed that the people smelling it didn’t dip down for a second sniff. So, like so many of the hybrids made in the last thirty years, probably not a decent fragrence either. Strike two. I’ll keep my $30.00 a stem, Thanks… Patrick

  9. Commenters sometimes say the most interesting things. “color perception is culturally influenced” says Kat. I googled around a bit and found a number of scientific articles on this subject. My brief reading of the abstracts is that some studies absolutely support this idea. I’ve ALWAYS wondered if what I call blue is what another person calls blue. The answer, my friend, is apparently in the culture around us. I’m giving Thanksgiving for small but fascinating factoids like this one.

  10. Ahhh … the quest for the almighty $$ marches on. Is there any other reason to genetically engineer a rose of a different color – even “blue” one?

  11. I’ve seen bluer (lavender) roses in our supermarket (which means they aren’t aristocrats), and they have a heady aroma. That rose in the video is more mauve than blue.

  12. Cultural perceptions of colour are indeed variable (and a fascinating study) but to my eye, that rose is no more or less blue than some of the existing mauve roses, so I wonder how much that actually factors in. I’d be rather depressed that 20 years of tinkering with genetic engineering had only gotten me to that shade, were I one of the Suntory people.

Comments are closed.