Fact Check

Rainbow Roses

Photograph shows roses bred to grow multi-colored petals?

Published Mar 3, 2010


Claim:   Photograph shows roses bred to grow multi-colored petals.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, February 2010]

These roses are not dyed or doctored, they have been bred to grow this way. They are gorgeous!!!!

Click to enlarge


Origins:   Human beings have long engaged in the practice of manipulating the breeding of plant species (through techniques ranging from simple cross-pollination to complex gene splicing) for a number of reasons, including improving the quality and yield of crops, creating plants that can better withstand extreme environmental conditions, and developing food sources that are more resistant to the onslaught of

damaging insects, viruses, fungi and bacteria.

Sometimes such breeding is undertaken purely for aesthetic reasons: to produce, for example, flowers that are "prettier" in some way, such as the brilliantly colored roses shown in the picture above. However, although the photograph itself has not been doctored, the roses have — but not through being "bred" to produce differently colored petals, as stated in the accompanying text.

These "rainbow roses" were created by Dutch flower company owner Peter van de Werken, who produced them by developing a technique for injecting natural pigments into their stems while they are growing to create the striking multi-colored petal effect:

The dyes are produced from natural plant extracts and are absorbed by the flowers as they grow.

A special process then controls how much colour reaches each petal — with spectacular results. By treating the stalk with natural pigments, van de Werken has managed to make each petal a different colour. The pigment is absorbed and travels to the petals where it changes their hue.

Mr van de Werken, 36, said: "We used to only sell single colour flowers but the market for them took a dip. Myself and my colleagues started looking for something a bit different and came up with the idea of having different-coloured flowers. First of all we tried spraying the flowers but that did not work. Then we tried the dye. It took us about six months to get it right and we still make mistakes."

The process of creating and distributing Rainbow Roses is discussed in the following Reuters news video:

Additional photographs of Rainbow Roses can be viewed here.

Last updated:   14 May 2014


    metro.co.uk.   "'Rainbow' Roses Are All the Rage."

    6 February 2007.

    Reuters.   "Rainbow Roses for Valentine's Day."

    14 February 2007.

    The Sun.   "Roses Are Red, Blue, Yellow ..."

    7 February 2007.

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