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What Are Rainbow Roses

Rainbow Roses are multicolored roses, hence the rainbow reference in the name. Very few florists sell Rainbow Roses for a number of reasons, mainly because the process of colouring roses greatly reduces the longevity and freshness of roses.

How to Make Rainbow Roses

Changing the colour of rose petals is done by feeding a rose a colour, such food colouring. Rainbow roses are created by cutting the stem into thirds (or quarters, if it's easier) and placing each quarter of the rose stem into a different container of food colouring.

 

Before starting, give some consideration towards the purpose of colouring your roses. You may decide to use them at a children's birthday party, a family get-together over the weekend or just to brighten up the house. If the flowers are for a party or as a gift, you will need to give yourself at least 48 hours, so take this into consideration when buying the flowers. If you need the flowers ready by Saturday night, for example, purchase the flowers on Thursday.

The easiest way to get fresh flowers is to visit your local florist. Supermarkets, grocery stores and service stations may also sell flowers but generally, florists have a better quality and a larger range to select from. Also, feel free to discuss your ideas with your local florist. Most florists, if not overly busy, are happy to chat and may give you some ideas or advice.

Cream Coloured Roses from a Florist
We selected a bunch of cream coloured roses. We believe the pale yellows should give some warmth to our colours.

The second thing you will need is food colouring. You may already have some in your kitchen, otherwise food colouring can be easily purchased from any grocery store. Give some thought to the colours you want to achieve. Read the Rose Colouring Tips section below for some ideas.

Colouring Method

Mix food colouring into separate cups or glasses. Use small narrow glassware if you have them available. There is no guide to how much food colouring to mix in to water. For our purposes, we used about 50ml of food colouring diluted in 500ml of water. You can make the dilution stronger for faster results.

Cut the bottom of the rose stems into however many colours you will be using. For example, if you have three colours, cut the stem into thirds.

Rose stems in food colouring

Place each cut stem into a different colour. Once all flowers have been placed into the food colouring, secure the roses into a bouquet with ribbon or string so they don't fall over.

Leave the flowers in the food colouring for around 24 hours. This is subjective to your personal likes, so there is no real set time-frame. When flowers look good to you take them out. Keep in mind, the stems have been damaged and flowers will likely begin to wilt within 48 hours.

Once you're happy with the colours, take the roses out of the food colouring. Have a vase with fresh water ready ready on hand. Taking each rose individually, cut the stem diagonally above where the stem has been sliced. You a sharp knife or blade to achieve a clean cut. Do not use a serrated knife, you want a nice clean cut on an angle.

For some further information about caring for your flowers once they have been coloured, see our pages on feeding cut flowers and caring for flowers.

Rose Colouring Tips

Wilting Rose Rose with blue petals
Due to stem damage, this rose has begun to wilt. Healthy rose with petals turning blue

For best results use light or pale coloured roses. Start with the three primary colours of red, blue and yellow. As these colours combine, they will then create the colours of a rainbow. Experiment with different strengths when diluting food colours, for example, you may want to make yellow a little stronger (maybe add a drop of red), as it is a weaker colour.

Due to the way the stems are cut, the flowers will not survive long. For best results, make the dilution of food colouring and water strong. Try mixing between 50-100ml of food colouring to 500ml of water. This will decrease the time it takes for the flowers to change colour. Once the flowers have changed colour, cut the stems diagonally and place in a vase with clean fresh water.

Buy long stem roses. Long stem roses may cost fractionally more, but you will need the long stems when splitting the roses and later when cut them before displaying the rainbow roses in a vase.

Experiment with different coloured roses. red roses with yellow food colouring will produce orange colours. Yellow roses mixed with blue will create green roses. There are so many different colour combinations you can experiment with. You can even mix the food colouring, for example, mixing blue and yellow creates a green food colouring, red and blue mixed together creates a purple food colour.

Finally, a quote from Peter van de Werken, the inventor of Rainvow Roses:

Meanwhile worldwide growers, florists and people at home try to make Rainbow Roses. It's sometimes very funny to see how they do. Basically it's just the trick to combine the correct colours with the simple method of splitting the stems. However, to make more than 90% succesfully looking Rainbow Roses, in a way that it's even possible to commercially resell them, is something completely different. Some companies are quite succesfull.

Basically, Peter says it can be a hit and miss process. Have fun experimenting!

Colouring other Flowers

Besides roses, other cut flowers like the chrysanthemum, carnation, hydrangea and some species of orchids can also be coloured using the same method.

Sending Coloured Roses Online

If you need roses to be delivered, Florist Works has a range of roses in a variety of different colours and styles. For different examples, see our page on roses and romantic flowers.

We have a range of roses delivered in a vase in a range of colours including Red Roses, Hot Pink Roses, Pale Pink Roses and Yellow Rose. If you need a specific colour, pick a selection of roses and in the comments box, during checkout, you can make a request to the florist to use a specific colour. Please keep in mind that some colours are not available year round. Basic colours such as red, pink, yellow and white roses are commonly available.

We also have a boxed arrangement of flowers called Rainbow which includes roses and flowers in an assortment of colours. This product is suitable for almost any occasion and looks stunning. As a birthday gift, Rainbow is available with a Balloon. Florist Works delivers roses Australia-wide.

 

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