Roses are known for their intricate petals and perfect blooms. But did you know that they can also change colour?
A “rose sport” is a type of rose which has been mutated by the presence of another plant’s pollen, resulting in new colours or patterns on its blossoms.
What is a Rose Sport?
They’re genetic mutations that change the growth habit of plants, and they’re not due to irregular or poor growing conditions. In fact, some types result in beautiful variations of roses.
There’s a difference between these accidents and other mistakes made when propagating flowers: the latter typically produce misshapen blooms while sport varieties often have no outward differences beyond their new growth pattern.
How Do Rose Sports Occur?
In roses, sports can add specks of white to the flowers, cause the flowers to change colour completely or for stems to produce more flowers than usual.
Some rose varieties even grow in a different way. Most climbing roses are sport mutations from their parent species such as Peace Climbing Rose which is also known as Rambling With Satin Roses that have been cultivated by humans over time and have now become widespread across America due its ability for great heights without interfering with other plants.
These climbing roses don’t need support structures like trellises or poles but will stretch along any vertical surface available including fences, making them perfect for growing against walls too.
You may be a gardener who has never considered climbing plants for your garden. However, they can add an incredibly dynamic element to any garden design and make it unique in ways you might not have expected – similar to the Climbing Iceberg or Hybrid Tea Roses.
What to Do if Your Rose Bush Develops a Sport
Most rose enthusiasts will be happy to know that a mutation in their rose bush is not cause for concern. In fact, most mutations are unstable and either die off or revert back into the parent plant within seconds of being created.
If you’re lucky enough to find one with characteristics that you like though, it might be worth trying your luck at propagating them by taking cuttings from the sport and seeing if they continue growing just as wonderfully.
How to Propagate Rose Sports
If you’re looking to grow a rose sport, it is best to wait for two bloom cycles before taking any cuttings. If you don’t wait and take the cutting too soon, there’s still a chance that your plant will end up growing like its parent species instead of blooming in an exciting new pattern.
Selecting the right cutting is key to growing new roses from your own plants and not having to buy more each year. Be sure it’s long enough (at least 6 inches), healthy looking with no insect damage or rot at the base of the stem close to where it will be cut off, as well as above any buds on top near its tip (where leaves are attached).
Cut just below an unopened bud lower down on the plant for roots; remove all other stems except one or two small ones at the top of the stem tips.
Place cut end into rooting hormone solution before inserting into a plant pot containing gritting compost.
Roses root best in bright light so if you’re using a plastic bag, place them in a window that gets direct sunlight.
One of the most beautiful varieties in existence is Ena Harkness, a rose which produces handsome red flowers. Sadly, it has an unfortunate tendency to droop instead of staying upright but fortunately we’ve been able to cultivate from its climbing sport form and now enjoy Climbing Ena Harkness with bent petals and drooping flowers which work beautifully.