Despite my unabashed fondness of cabbage roses, my favorite color is blue. Deep, rich shades of blue. So naturally I find blue roses very appealing.
These flowers have a mythic, mystical quality because they don’t exist in nature. Roses don’t have the blue pigment necessary to create a blue bloom. They are created by dying white or cream colored roses. So if you were hoping to find some blue rose seeds or cuttings to plant in your garden, I apologize.
A couple of years ago a variety of “blue” rose was produced by genetically modifying a rose to synthesize delphinidin (the pigment found in blue flowers). The result is called a “blue rose”, but is, in fact, more lilac than blue. Quite frankly it looks like a very light shade of purple rose — not really blue at all.
What do they mean?
Due to their rare and “unnatural” coloring, blue roses represent mystery and intrigue. Leave a blue rose at the door of the person you admire and you’re bound to spark some serious social media buzz among their friends!
This flower also symbolizes discretion, secrecy, and the mystery of new beginnings or possibilities.
Also because they can’t be found in nature, blue roses have a surreal quality, and are often used to symbolize people, situations or things that cannot be fully grasped or understood. That includes the impossible or unattainable.
Some cultures take the significance of the flower so seriously they claim the possessor will have their wishes granted.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the label “blue blood”, meaning that someone is of noble birth or high status. That concept carries over to the blue rose as well, and as such it’s sometimes used to symbolize royalty.
This rose also shares some cross-over with the purple rose, since the lighter shades of blue appear lilac or lavender. These varieties can represent the first flush of love or overwhelming enchantment with another person.
Famous Uses Of The Blue Rose
Rudyard Kipling’s poem “Blue Roses” is one of many contemporary mentions of this lovely flower. The roses have also been featured in a numerous Japanese anime.
In film, they are commonly used as symbols. One famous, albeit hokey, use was in the 1940 film The Thief of Baghdad, where a blue rose given by a true love was the only antidote for a dangerous illness caused by a failed love potion. (Okay, fine, I’ll admit it — I like the movie!)
Blue roses have made their way into well-known theater as well, with a character in Tennessee Williams’ iconic The Glass Menagerie having the nickname “Blue Roses” (which humorously gets misunderstood as “pleurosis” at one point).
How To Create Blue Roses
If you’re looking to create some true blue roses (not the lilac varieties), your only option is to dye them yourself. Here’s how you do it:
- start with fresh cut cream or white roses
- remove the thorns from the roses
- in an empty vase, create a mix of blue floral dye in water (the more dye powder you use, the deeper the blue will be)
- cut the stems from the roses and put them into the solution for three to four hours
- after that time, remove the roses and cut the stems again — this will remove any repaired tissue and accelerate the process of absorption
- at this point it’s just a matter of waiting until the roses are the shade of blue you want (typically around 12 hours)
- once you’re happy with the color, remove the dye color water and replace it with fresh, clear water
Leave a single blue rose at the door of someone you admire (or where your beloved will find it) and enjoy the stir you are bound to create!