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Facts About Roses – Learn Rose Colors, Rose History & More Rose Facts…

Roses come in many colors, and each color has its own meaning. Check out these fun facts about roses to learn more rose trivia.

Ever wondered “how many rose colors are there”, or “what is the oldest rose”? You’re in luck, we’ve got the answers for you below.

Fossil evidence shows varieties of roses have been around for at least 35 million years. Keep reading to learn about roses throughout history and fascinating rose facts.

With roses beauty and symbolism, it’s no surprise this flower is a desired choice for gardeners and to give as gifts.

A text overlay reading "facts about roses, how many colors of roses are there, what is the oldest known rose?" over a photo completely filled with red roses.

What are roses?

Roses are a flowering plant. They are a perennial plant, meaning they live more than one year, and return every spring. Annuals, conversely, only live for one year and do not return the next spring.

They can grow as shrubs, and also have the ability to climb and trail. Because roses can grow in different ways, and in different colors, they are a popular choice for gardeners.

A photo filled entirely with roses of different colors begging the question, how many rose colors are there?

Roses are one of the symbols of Valentine’s Day, making them a favored choice to buy as cut flower in the month of February.

However roses are not only popular in February, they’re sold throughout the year as well!

How many colors of roses are there?

There are six main rose colors. They are as light as white, and as dark as deep purple. The six main roses colors are white, yellow, orange, pink, red and purple.

One of the reasons roses are so popular around Valentine’s Day is because they naturally occur in all three of the colors of Valentine’s Day.

While those are are the six main rose colors, each color has shade variations. For example red could be bright red, but it could also be a more pastel red or even a deep burgundy.

A bouquet of various rose colors in a glass vase against a white background.

There are also roses that have petals with more than one color called variegated roses. They can be mottled or striped with different colors. 

Rose facts

Add to your knowledge of roses by checking out these facts about roses below. Some may surprise you!

A jack russel terrier wearing a red collar and sunglasses laying on a bed of rose petals with a red rose in his mouth.

  • June is National Rose Month.
  • Each color of roses has a different meaning. Learn more about all of the different rose meanings so you can express your feelings with the perfect rose!
  • The earliest known rose painting comes from Crete, Greece, dating around 1600 B.C.
  • The “thorns” on the stems of roses aren’t actually called thorns – they are technically called prickles. 
  • The most popular and commonly sold color of roses is red.
  • New York, North Dakota, Georgia and Iowa all have varieties of roses as their state flower. Though not a state, the District of Colombia also has a variety of rose as its flower.
  • On November 20, 1986, President Ronald signed a proclamation making the rose the national flower of the United States. There was even a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden to mark the occasion.
  • The world record for the tallest rose bush belongs to Hafizullah Khaled. The rose bush is 8.705 m (28.559 ft) tall and is in Vienna, Austria. The record was earned on October 17, 2020.
  • Most species of roses are native to Asia. There are also roses that grow native to North America, Europe and Africa, though this number is far smaller.
  • Wild roses usually have only five petals, though cultivated roses have much more than that.

How long do roses live?

Fresh cut roses can live for about a week in water. You can extend the life of cut roses (and all cut flowers) by making sure to properly prepare them before placing them in a vase. Use the tips below to help your roses live longer.

Make sure to cut the ends of the stems before placing them in water. Use a sharp knife to cut them diagonally. This allows the roses to soak up more water than having an old flat cut on the bottom of the stems.

A white metal watering can holding a bouquet of pink roses that have dropped some of their petals on the table.

Prune some of the leaves off the rose stem before placing the roses in water. Having leaves submerged in water can lead to rot. Make sure all leaves left on the stem are above the water line.

Use flower food, and make sure the water is fresh. A good rule of thumb is to change the water every two or three days, and when the water looks cloudy.

Also make sure to keep your bouquets out of direct sunlight and away from drafts. Following these tips will help to preserve your cut flowers.

What is the oldest known rose?

Roses can live a very long time. The oldest living rose is over 1,000 years old! It is growing in a large bush beside the Hildesheim Cathedral in Germany (pictured below).

The Hildesheim Cathedral with the rose bush called the thousand year rose growing on the side of it, which is the oldest known rose.

This rose, commonly called the Thousand-Year Rose, and the Rose of Hildesheim produces pale pink flowers each year, normally in May.

During World War II (in 1945) the Allied Forces bombed the Cathedral of Hildesheim, destroying it. However, the roots of the rose bush managed to survive and the plant bloomed again!

It is a symbol of hope for the city of Hildesheim. It is believed that as long as the Thousand Year Rose survives, Hildesheim will prosper.

Fun facts about roses

Did you enjoy learning those facts about roses? Here are some more rose facts for you to enjoy!

A woman putting a vase of roses on a side table in the living room, the vase has a rose of every color.

  • Roses have a pleasant smell and are commonly used as an element of perfumes.
  • The fruit of a rose is called a rose hip (also rosehip). 
  • Most rose petals and rose hips are edible and can be commonly found in jams, jellies, as garnishes on salads, in tea and other beverages.
  • In 1998, roses traveled to space! A special variety of mini rose called “Overnight Scentsation” took a 10 day trip to space for research purposes. The aim was to see if roses smelled different in the low gravity in space, which they did! Scent molecules were extracted and later replicated and infused in the perfume “Zen” by Shiseido. 
  • Fossils found in Colorado provide evidence that plants from the rose family existed 35 million years ago.
  • Roses are one of only three flowers mentioned in the bible. Crocus (a member of the Iris family) and lilies are the other flowers mentioned. 
  • It takes roughly 242,000 rose petals to make 5mL of rose oil.
  • Roses are deciduous plants, meaning they drop their petals after flowering.

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Tudor Rose meaning & The War of the Roses

In England between the years of 1455 and 1487, there was a civil war fighting for control of the throne called the War of the Roses.

The two warring parties, the House of York and the House of Lancaster each had a royal badge to represent them. The badges each had a different colored rose – white for the House of York, and red for the House of Lancaster.

A graphic of three roses, the red rose of Lancaster, the white rose of York, and the unified Tudor rose.

At the war’s end when the Tudors assumed control of the throne, a new royal badge was created with a flower called the Tudor Rose.

On the badge, the Tudor Rose on the badge had a white center, and red exterior. It honored both houses who fought for the throne, and was a symbol of unity.

National rose days

If you enjoyed learning these facts about roses, you’ll be excited to know there are actually several national days of the year dedicated to roses.

National days of the year are a fun way to celebrate odd and unusual foods, animals and items that you come into contact with. Be sure to check out my national day’s guide for more fun days to celebrate.

  • Rose Day – February 7
  • National Rose Month – June
  • National Red Rose Day – June 12
  • National Rose Day – June 12
  • World Rose Day – September 22

Six different containers holding different varieties of roses, some wild and some cultivated.

Want to learn more about other flowers and plants? Make sure to check out these other botanical national days.

Dogwood flowers don’t have their own national day, but they are an important flower in Christianity. Check out our post on the legend of the dogwood tree to learn more!

Looking for more fact-based posts?

If you enjoyed learning these facts about roses, be sure to also check out these posts to learn more fun facts about some of your favorite things! 

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Would you like a reminder of this post with facts about roses? Just pin this image to one of your trivia boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.

If this post about roses puts you in a Valentine’s Day mood, be sure to check out our love quotes video on YouTube.

A bouquet of pink roses against a cement wall with a text overlay with questions and facts about roses.

Jess author photoAbout the author

Since graduating from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Jess has been living and working in Los Angeles, CA. She is a freelance writer, specializing in content related to fashion, food and drink and film industry topics. Find out more about Jess here.

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