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What Are Green Roses?

By O. Parker
Updated May 17, 2024
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A green rose is a variety of rose with flowers that are green. Cultivated in the 1700s, green rose flowers are not true flowers but a dense collection of sepals giving the illusion of a green blooming rose bush. The green rose, Rosa chinensis viridiflora, is an heirloom variety available at specialty garden stores. Some large green roses on the market as cut flowers are roses that are dyed green. They may look interesting, but they are not a true green rose.

Rosa chinensis viridiflora produces green roses, or as near to a true green rose as is possible. The green flowers consist of a dense group of sepals that grow in the shape of a flower. Years of cultivation have lead to a rose that produces only sepals and no petals.

The sepals are the green leaf-like growth found just below the rose petals on true roses. As the rose flower develops, the sepals protect the developing petals. Once the rose opens, the sepals separate to reveal the flower. The sepals on green roses grow very dense and replace the rose flower all together. When the sepals open, they create a dense green flower-like unit.

A close relation to the China rose, or Rosa chinensis, green roses are often called Green China Roses. The flowers give off a delicate scent of pepper when they bloom in spring and summer. Green rose shrubs grow 2 to 5 feet (about 0.75 to 1.5 m) tall with a spread of 3 to 5 feet (about 1 to 1.5 m). The dense shrub-like formation of Rosa chinensis viridiflora makes this unique rose suitable for a dense hedge, a border area, or as a specimen shrub in the garden or landscape.

Not a true green rose, but a rose with a greenish tint, the cultivar Green Ice has small, delicate white flowers. When planted in a shady spot, this rose produces flowers that look slightly green. The rose cultivar Green Diamond is another white rose that can produce slightly green-looking flowers.

Long-stem roses sold as cut flowers often come in green varieties. They are white or pale-colored roses that are dyed to appear green. The Rosa chinensis viridiflora is the only true green rose bush and even it does not have true flowers. Green is a rare color in the flower garden, at least where petals are concerned. Growing green roses can add a unique flair to the garden bed.

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Discussion Comments
By Lostnfound — On Sep 23, 2014

@Grivusangel -- I think you're referring to lotus seed pods. I like them used sparingly in a nice arrangement.

I don't care for the green roses, either. I think the white roses that have sort of a lime tinge are all right, and very nice for a spring wedding. They look alive and like roses -- probably because they have the petals showing, not just sepals.

The roses I'm thinking about are mostly white, but have a green hint, especially when they get a lot of sunshine. There's one called St. Patrick that is very lovely, and much greener than it initially appears.

By Grivusangel — On Sep 23, 2014

I'm not a fan. I've seen these used in bridal bouquets and wedding flowers, just because they fit with the bride's theme and colors, but I don't think they're attractive at all.

I rate these right around with those brown, round seed pod looking things you always see in fall-themed arrangements. They just don't do anything for me. The green "roses" are super trendy, but I'd rather see actual flowers or greenery being used, or see the green roses being used as greenery, not as flowers. They're not really roses, and not really flowers, either. I just don't care for them.

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