The Botanical Grail for Special Colored Flowers

Is it the unattainable that intrigues us?

By: AN THEUNYNCK | 22-04-2020 | 3 min read
Dyed Flowers Roses Tulips

Although flowers exist in all shapes and colors… we always look for something that is not there… Is it precisely the unattainable that intrigues us?

The Quest For the Black Rose

Isn't it incredibly fascinating to discover the large range of colors, shades, and nuances of color in the flower world? Tint variations of certain flower types arise spontaneously in nature. For cultivated flowers, some growers spend decades creating new selections and thus new colors. When I started to work as a publisher in the world of plants and floristry, one of the first books I worked on was ‘The Quest for the Black Rose’. There are fantastic roses in all possible beautiful shades of white over light pink, pink, dark pink, red, dark red, orange, yellow ... But still, people are looking for something that is not (yet) available. The search for the black rose can already be found in botanical historiography, in old texts and prints dating from the 18th century (Redouté, Rössig and Pinhas), but we also notice selections for roses as dark as possible among contemporary breeders such as Meilland (France) and Kordes (Germany). Well-known varieties are the Black Baccara and Black Beauty.

Black Baccara rose on Thursd featured
The Black Baccarat rose from Meilland

The quest for blue or black tulips also belongs to this mysterious grail. Some varieties are close to black but actually have a dark purple hue. The tulip 'Queen of Night' comes closest, but still, this one is not really black.

Queen of Night tulips Bulbs (dry) on Thursd
Queen of Night tulips
Genetic Engineering?

"Truly black roses could be produced by genetic engineering through the insertion of the gene for melanin. But the state of our knowledge is absolutely insufficient for that. The exact nature and structure of melanin remains to be investigated, as well as the biochemical reactions. So there is still a lot of research needed to make a real black rose and then there is the chance that the petals would burn through the sunlight.", says Anne Ronse of the national botanical garden of Meise (B).

Tinted Flowers or Special Toppings

If nature does not want to create what we are looking for, we are searching for other methods to obtain our deepest desires. Some growers work with dyes in the water that roses, tulips, chrysanthemums … absorb, or they use special painting techniques. This affects an almost natural look.

Some flowers are sprayed in a certain color or dipped in a color or chocolate bath which makes them really artificial. One of the specialists in tinted flowers and flowers with toppings is VIP Roses from the Netherlands. Like no other they manage to create special effects on flowers. They are master in creating the most beautiful flowers for special occasions.

Do You Like It?

There is a lot of discussion around artificial colored flowers. Do we have the right to manipulate the color of flowers? If you ask me what I think about it? I admit that I prefer natural flowers ... But … sometimes, for special occasions, tinted flowers can create a fantastic effect. Just think of a baptism party decorated in pale pink clouds of gypsophila. Or the splendid atmosphere of a rainbow party with rainbow roses?

Peter Vrouwe - A plea for colored flowers - Rainbow Roses - on Thursd HIghlight (1)
Rainbow Roses

A chocolate birthday party with all kinds of chocolate roses? The presentation of the new perfume of Dior Poison with a mysterious black rose? A dandy party with gray tulips and carnations…

Grey Carnation

So sometimes I say YES to colored flowers! Let us occasionally go crazy or create something special! It makes our lives more colorful and more interesting and it makes us believe that we will find the botanical grail someday.

An Theunynck profile picture
An Theunynck

Publishing and flowers, writing and flowers, organizing and flowers, networking and flowers. This has been my daily activity for more than fifteen years now. For more than 12 years I have been editor-in-chief of the inspiration magazine Fleur creative, editor at the German trade magazine Florieren, I have been working at Fleuramour, Green Academy - Florademy (floral school for professionals from 2007-2010), Fleur Talent! / Upcoming Florist ( projects with young florists), the Daniel Ost Academy.

I have a blog and inspirational platform

Flowers! Flowers make life so much more beautiful, so much friendlier, they bring so much atmosphere. I just want everyone to know!



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