Roses are red, violets are blue, I can’t imagine my life without you

When we talk about Valentine’s Day, a rose is a must! It is the national floral emblem of the United States in which President Ronald Reagan had signed the legislation in the year 1986. Rose, the romantic flower that is scientifically known as Rosa has about one hundred and fifty species under the family of Rosaceae that possess countless hybrids that are valued for their beauty. Rose is planted mainly for ornamental purposes, which is harvested as a cut flower for decoration or gift in the form of a bouquet. Due to its excellent fragrance, it can be processed into downstream products like soaps, perfumes, and cooperate into any products that extracted the rose essences. Apart from that, it is priced for its bright fruits that have been the highlight of the forefront of garden design as well as plant hybridization.

The trifoliate roses are bright green, very deep lustrous, almost dark green, or distinctly blue-tinted. Most of the roses have arching stems that have thorns. Cultivated roses usually have broad-based and curved thorns with a fine, sharp point, and it is used to protect the roses from herbivores as a physical defense. On the other hand, dense covering prickles are found in wild species particularly briars instead of thorns. As a result of extensive hybridization, garden roses (cultivated roses) are often having semi-double to very full double flowers that show a lot of petals per stalk. On the contrary, those cultivars that experienced less development most often have single flowers that are five-petalled. Nevertheless, among all the modern hybrids, a true natural blue color is the only color that is not successfully induced from the crossing. Additionally, a wide color range of the roses is produced but not flamboyant combinations among the hybrids.

Surprisingly, roses are classified as woody-stemmed shrubs or referred to as scrambling climbers. The majority of the roses are deciduous in which they can be categorized as evergreen or semi-evergreen, which usually shed much of their leaves in cold weather like winter. This made them generally frost-hardy species yet vigorous plants with a great zest for life. The size of the rose can be ranged from twenty-four inches tall to a rose that has a spreading climber that has a canopy over one hundred feet. However, certain climate and soil are preferred by the roses to grow as correct planning and cultivation reduce the chance of getting infections by pathogens and infestation by the pests. The roses prefer a temperate climate and thrive best with at least two months of winter or cold weather for chilling. Exposure to the winter conditions is optional in which the coldness helps to induce dormancy and proper bud formation also to kill off any overwintering pests at the same time.

In past centuries until current, yet even in the Middle Ages when most plants had to have practical uses to justify their cultivation as the roses are adaptable flowering plants. They can be planted in the beds of roses alone or mix into the overall garden design in the horticultural landscaping. The miniature roses and smaller types blend well with shrubs and great as an indoor plant to decorate the living space. Climber-type-roses can be planted as a natural fence for covering unsightly sheds or old trees and for growing over archways and entrances to provide a natural fragrant greeting to the visitors.

To plant roses are easy as they need at least half-day sun with good ventilation that avoids being exposed to strong winds. Apart from the well-drained substrate, the substrate should be slightly acidic that can retain the moisture. Trimming and pruning of any damaged stems are needed to keep the canopy ventilated to reduce the chance of getting attack by pests and diseases. Pruning is proved to promote new growth, rejuvenate the plants, enhance their shapes as well as allowing the light to penetrate to the center of the bush to encourage even growth. Most roses are propagated by cutting that mainly involves grafting onto vigorous, disease-resistant, non-suckering rootstocks. However, grafting is much preferred as cutting resulted in a poor rooting system in roses. Roses are hermaphrodite and it can be propagated by seeds, but it is mainly used to create hybrids that need to be stratified for eight to twelve weeks before sowing to allow successful seed germination.

Among all roses, roses are divided into four main groups, which are Hulthemia, Hesperhodos, Platyrhodon, and Eurosa. There are only five species of rose under Hulthemia, Hesperhodos, Platyrhodon, while the rest of the species are found under Eurosa, which is then divided into ten sections. There are some wild roses that most of them have only a single layer of petal, that is five-petalled: Rosa foetida, Rosa bracteata, Rosa gigantea, Rosa glauca, Rosa laevigata, Rosa rugosa, Rosa nitida, Rosa moschata, and Rosa moyesii. The use of wild roses is to manufacture rose water, scented oils, and other fragrances in the industries. From there, roses are further splitting into different types of roses. For example, gallica roses, which is categorized as a compact fragrant flower that only flowers only once in their lifetime. Gallica roses such as Rosa sp. ‘Officinalis’ and ‘Rosa Mundi’ are roses that produce suckers.

Moreover, damask roses that are known as the first true hybrid roses cultivated have two types, namely once-flowering Summer Damask (R. gallica x R. phoenicea) and repeat-flowering Autumn Damask (R. gallica x R. phoenicea). Besides, centifolia or provence roses are the roses that native in France, which is famous as extensively hybridized. Roses like cultivar ‘Centifolia’ and ‘Petite de Hollande’ under centifolia category are known to have one hundred-petalled with distinctive and exceptionally full double flowers. Moss roses such as Rosa ‘Chapeau de Napoléon’ and ‘Muscosa’ are rich in fragrances that are double flowers, which are mid-pink color. They are known as moss roses as there are fine tubercules covered in their buds. Furthermore, the white roses (Rosa x alba) that have pleasantly scented flowers been called alba roses.

Then, China rose like ‘Mutabilis’ and tea roses such as Rosa x odorata are commonly used in the tea industry due to their aromatic fragrances. Other classifications are Portland roses (Rosa gallica ‘Officinalis’), bourbon roses (‘Boule de Neige’), noisette roses (‘Alister Stella Gray’), boursault roses (R. blanda x R. chinensis ‘Amadis’), hybrid perpetual roses (‘Baron Girod de I’Ain’), climbing and rambling roses (‘Sombreuil’), as well as scotch, burnet, or pimpinellifolia roses (Rosa pimpinellifolia). Modern roses like (1) bush roses are the most significant species to be cultivated in the garden. This is because bush roses can be large-flowered roses, polyanthas, or cluster-flowered. Large-flowered roses like ‘Aotearoa’ and ‘Big Purple’ are referred to as hybrid tea roses that are the most widely grown class, which are considered the more ‘classic’ roses. Polyantha roses are low-growing species that are characterized by small, double, white color flowers that are bloomed in clusters such as ‘Cécile Brűnner’. Floribunda roses as known as cluster-flowered roses are successful hybrids as they produce several blooms per stem. The examples of the floribunda roses are ‘Amber Queen’ and ‘Arthur Bell’.

Additionally, the (2) shrub-type roses with dense foliage, vigor, as well as resistance to diseases are the hybrid musk roses such as ‘Autumn Delight’ as well as hybrid Rosa rugosa ‘Blanc Double de Coubert’ and ‘Delicata’. Then, English roses like ‘Charles Austin’ and ‘Abraham Darby’ are famous for their vigorously, health, as well as color range that has repeat-flowering like that of modern roses. Those unclassified modern shrub roses also fall under this category. Apart from that, (3) roses that cover the ground such as ‘Flower Carpet’,  (4) climbing roses that have large-flowered climbing roses like ‘Casino’, as well as (5) miniature roses (‘Anita Charles’ and ‘Baby Darling’) are increasingly popular due to their beauty as ornamental plants.

Roses are widely used as a gift that symbolizes different meanings by their colors and numbers. For instance, a black rose stands for the color of Death, which is given to the people who passed away. On the contrary, the white rose represents unity, loyalty, love stringer than death, and purity that is more to spiritual love and the anticipation of happiness. A purple rose means “I will always love you”, an orange rose indicates that the message of “I am proud of you”, while a yellow rose signifies the strong feeling of pure joy like friendship. Pink rose shows elegance that is a symbol of joy and grace as well. Most importantly, the red rose that shows romance, beauty as well as passionate love is the most popular color among all roses on Valentine’s Day.

A single rose could stand for simplicity, which means the receiver is the only one or the symbol of love at the first sight. Two roses signify the bond between two individuals that carry the meaning of “Marry me!”, three roses indicated “I love you”. However, the number of roses per bouquet is much significant for the Chinese. For instance, the Chinese will give the love one ninety-nine roses or nine hundred ninety-nine per bouquet that represents the eternity during special events like proposal and anniversary.

Further readings:

Rout, G. R., Samantaray, S., Mottley, J., & Das, P. (1999). Biotechnology of the rose: a review of recent progress. Scientia Horticulturae81(3), 201-228.

Roberts, A. (2003). Encyclopedia of rose science. Academic press.

Quest-Ritson, C., & Quest-Ritson, B. (2003). American Rose Society encyclopedia of roses. DK.

Pati, P. K., Rath, S. P., Sharma, M., Sood, A., & Ahuja, P. S. (2006). In vitro propagation of rose—a review. Biotechnology advances24(1), 94-114.