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What colors are in rose?

What colors are in rose?

Roses come in a wide variety of colors, each with their own unique beauty and symbolism. The color of a rose can convey different meanings about love, feelings, and occasions. The rose color meanings include red roses symbolizing love and romance, white roses representing purity and innocence, and yellow roses standing for friendship and joy. By understanding the meanings behind rose colors, you can choose the right hue to send just the right message to your loved ones.

Common Rose Colors and Their Meanings

Here are some of the most popular rose colors and what they represent:

Red Roses

Red roses are the most classic and beloved rose hue. Their vibrant crimson shade instantly conveys passion, true love, and deep romantic feelings. They are the perfect Valentine’s Day rose expressing powerful love for your sweetheart. Red roses are also fitting for proposals, anniversaries, and expressing regret over a lovers’ quarrel.

Pink Roses

Pretty pink roses symbolize sweetness, admiration, grace, and joy. Their pastel pink shade conveys gentle emotions of joy and happiness. Pink roses are perfect for almost any occasion including birthdays, graduations, or showing appreciation on a first date. Light pink roses are especially fitting to give platonically to show honor and esteem.

White Roses

Elegant white roses represent purity, innocence, and secrecy or confidentiality. Their pristine white petals evoke spiritual and emotional openness. They suggest a clean slate and are fitting for new beginnings and showing respect at funerals. White roses can be given to convey sympathy or as an apology. A white rose bouquet is perfect for weddings and bridal bouquets.

Yellow Roses

Golden yellow roses create warm feelings of joy and delight. Their bright shade conveys happiness and levity for all occasions. Yellow roses show the joy of friendship, celebration, sunshine, and cheer. They are perfect for birthdays, celebrations, friendship bouquets, get well gifts, and encouragement. Yellow roses also show unwavering affection between partners and are great gifts for devoted couples.

Orange Roses

Vibrant orange roses evoke energy and enthusiasm. They combine the fiery passion of red with the joyful cheer of yellow for a color conveying excitement and fervor. Orange roses signify passion and bold romance. They can express a budding romance or a message of flaming love and desire. Orange roses are the perfect choice for valentines expressing white-hot passion.

Lavender Roses

Unique lavender roses convey enchanting feelings of charm and magnetism. Their distinctive pale purple shade speaks of magical feelings of love at first sight. Lavender roses express enchantment and magnetism with their spellbinding color. They can signify a deep and magical love. Lavender roses are also fitting for showing admiration from a distance.

Blue Roses

Extremely rare blue roses represent the ultimate in unattainable love. They suggest the mysterious and coveted love object that is impossible to grasp. Their one-of-a-kind shade expresses the desire for the unattainable and miraculous. Blue roses therefore embody the feeling of achieving the impossible by finding a truly unique love. They are perfect for anniversaries or renewing your vows to reaffirm an exceptional partnership.

Rose Color Meaning
Red Love, passion
Pink Sweetness, admiration
White Purity, innocence
Yellow Joy, friendship
Orange Excitement, enthusiasm
Lavender Enchantment
Blue Unattainable love

Rose Color Pigments

The wide spectrum of rose colors comes from different pigments within the flower petals. Here is an overview of the key pigments that create the palette of rose hues:


Anthocyanins are water-soluble pigments that create the red, purple, and blue hues in roses. Different forms of anthocyanins result in all the shades of red from crimson to burgundy. When anthocyanins combine with other pigments, they make the lavender, purple, indigo, and true blue rose colors. The types and concentration of anthocyanins determine the final red, purple, or blue tone.


Carotenoids are fat-soluble orange pigments responsible for the vibrant yellow and orange shades of roses. Carotenoids include carotenes like beta-carotene and xanthophylls like lutein. High concentrations of carotenoids in the petals create bold orange and yellow roses. Lower amounts result in pastel peach and lemon shades. The exact carotenoid composition affects the intensity of yellow and orange hues.


Flavones are pale yellow plant pigments that contribute to the development of white and cream rose shades. When roses have low concentrations of anthocyanins and carotenoids, the presence of flavones results in soft white petals. The concentration of flavones impacts how bright white or creamy the roses appear.


Betalains are red-violet pigments that can combine with anthocyanins to create deep purple roses. Their presence boosts the development of violet and lilac rose shades. Certain species of roses use betalains instead of anthocyanins to generate red tones.


The pH or acidity levels in rose petals and stems also affect the final color. More acidic conditions enhance development of vivid reds, while neutral pH promotes blue and purple hues. The pH balance combines with pigments to create the full spectrum of rose colors.

Pigment Color Contribution
Anthocyanins Red, purple, blue
Carotenoids Orange, yellow
Flavones White, cream
Betalains Purple, violet
pH Affects shade intensity

Genetics of Rose Colors

The wide variety of rose colors arises from complex genetics and plant breeding. Rose hybridizers carefully cross different genetic lines to develop new colors and color combinations. Here is an overview of some key genetic factors influencing rose color:

Pigment Genes

Genes regulating anthocyanin, carotenoid, and betalain production significantly influence rose colors. For example, red roses require active forms of anthocyanin synthesis genes like DFR and ROS1. Variations in these genes yield different anthocyanin levels and red hues. Mutations disrupting carotenoid genes can eliminate yellow pigments, resulting in white roses.

Modifier Genes

Modifier genes do not directly produce pigments, but alter pigment chemistry to change colors. For instance, genes like BLU and F3’5’H shift red anthocyanins to purple and blue hues when active. A dominant M gene balances pH for blue or purple tones. Modifier genes are crucial for generating the full spectrum of non-red rose colors.

Pigment Transport Genes

Genes enabling pigment transport into petal cells also influence color. For yellow roses, the ABC genes ABCG5, ABCG6, and ABCG11 are needed to move carotenoids into petal cells. Defects in these genes prevent carotenoid accumulation even if synthesis genes are intact. Proper sequestration of pigments relies on active transport genes.

Transcription Factors

Master regulatory proteins like transcription factors control multiple color genes. For example, ROS1 is a MYB transcription factor activating anthocyanin synthesis genes. Its expression level regulates the intensity of red pigments. Other factors like WIP1 and DEL1 balance the activities of different color genes. Manipulating transcription factors allows breeders to influence overall color outcomes.


Non-genetic mechanisms like DNA methylation or histone modification can also impact color genes. For example, silencing anthocyanin genes via DNA methylation converts red roses to white. Epigenetic changes provide an added layer of color control beyond just gene sequences. Breeders utilize natural or artificial epigenetic modifications to diversify color within a genotype.

Genetic Factor Color Influence
Pigment genes Synthesize particular pigments
Modifier genes Alter pigment chemistry
Transport genes Move pigments into cells
Transcription factors Control multiple color genes
Epigenetics Regulate color gene expression


Roses exhibit an astounding diversity of colors, each with their own distinctive beauty, meaning, pigments, and genetic factors. Red roses get their vibrant color from anthocyanins. White roses develop from flavones, while golden yellows arise from carotenoids. Modifier genes and transcription factors interact with pigment genes to yield the full palette from red to purple, orange, and rare blue hues. The multifaceted genetics and biochemistry behind rose colors allows for endless opportunities to develop new and exotic color varieties that continue to delight flower lovers.