The Q&A Archives: Rose colour change

Question: I bought a hearty little white tea rose last season. I planted it as a 'hide' for the air conditioner. It is right by the drain and is growing well. My surprise is it changed bloom colours this year. It is now a lovely bright pink. What can cause this? And is there a way to get it to return to white?

Answer: Roses are often grafted onto a different (more hardy) rootstock. It sometimes happens that growth from below the graft is so vigorous that it overtakes the grafted part. What you are seeing are probably the flowers from the rootstock rather than the grafted white rose. You can examine the shrub to see if anything is still growing from above the graft. If so, cut off anything that is coming from below the graft and allow only the grafted part of your rose bush grow. You should see white instead of pink flowers.

Good luck with your roses!

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