HomeGuide to Rainbow Roses

Rainbow Roses

Have you ever looked online for a bouquet of flowers? Maybe you were looking for a present for your mum, a gift to cheer up a best friend or something special for a partner’s birthday. Did you happen to see rainbow roses?

We bet you had to do a double take when you saw them. Surely these flowers can’t be real!

Believe us, they are. If you’re interested in learning more about these flowers - wondering where did they come from, why were they developed, and what they represent - we will try to answer all your questions in our colourful guide to rainbow roses.

Are rainbow roses real?

This is the one that most people ask and the honest answer to this is both yes, and no. Yes, the roses are real flowers, but you won’t find a rose in rainbow colours growing naturally. Botanists are developing new flowers all the time - they have even managed to achieve true blue flowers despite there being no pigments in this colour in the plant world. For now, rainbow roses are created with a touch of magic - not the abracadabra kind, instead by adding colour to the petals using some scientific basics.

Now, the art of artificially dying flowers is nothing new. It is not unusual for florists to give flowers a boost, particularly for special occasions. You may want blue roses to match a particular colour theme at your wedding, or maybe you want golden flowers to celebrate a gold wedding anniversary bouquet. The only way to do this is by adding the colour artificially.

The same theory goes for the rainbow rose. The process involves splitting the stem and using water coloured with different dyes. As the water travels up the stem, it eventually hits the flower head where the dye stains the petals in different colours. Just like a rainbow!


Meaning behind rainbow roses

No one quite knows how the idea first came about, or why. It is believed they were developed by Dutch florist Peter van de Werken in the early noughties when he was looking for ways to expand demand for cut flowers. His idea certainly worked because the popularity of these flowers has exploded.

So, when would you give a rainbow rose? A lot of the flowers we buy today have specific meanings but, because rainbow roses have only been around for such a short time, they haven't been given one yet. Don't let that stop you, there are still plenty of good reasons to give a rainbow rose.

With their mass of joyful colours, these flowers are often used to represent happiness and celebration – perfect for sending congratulations on the new job or for passing exams.

You could also give some of these roses if you wanted to convey a whole load of feelings. For example, an orange rose stands for energy while yellow roses are said to represent friendship, add in some pink and it means gratitude and finally purple is the symbol of royalty. With a rainbow rose you could say all of this in one go!

The rainbow is also a symbol of LGBTQ+ and this rose has become a common sight when celebrating pride in the community.

Whatever reason you are choosing to send rainbow roses, they’re guaranteed to put a smile on someone’s face.


How to make rainbow roses at home

Although it’s a little fiddly, you can make your own rainbow rose at home – they’re the perfect decoration for any occasion, but we love making them for a summer garden party.

Here is our step-by-step guide on how to make rainbow roses:


Step One:

Start with a blank canvas by picking a white or cream rose. Make sure you choose flowers where the buds are just starting to open. This will allow your rose time to fully absorb the dye before the flower fades.


Step Two:

Cut your stem to about 20 to 30cm long so that the dye can reach the flower head in good time.


Step Three:

Take a sharp knife or blade and carefully divide the stem of each flower into three sections. You want to start at the bottom of the stem and slice vertically up the stem about 8cm.


Step Four:

You will need some small containers into which you’ll place each stem section such as bud vases or test tubes, you could even use some narrow food bags. Fill the containers with water and mix in at least 10 to 12 drops of different coloured dye. For a rainbow effect, you'll need red, blue and yellow but you can choose whatever colours you like. It all depends on the look you want to create.


Step Five:

Wrap a rubber band around your containers to hold them in place and then place in a high-sided glass – it will help keep the Roses upright. Carefully bend the stem sections apart and place each one into a different container. Make sure the stems are fully submerged.


Step Six:

Leave the stems to absorb the dye mixture. This can take anything from a few hours to a few days. You may notice the colour begins to show through quickly, although it can take a few days or more for a really intense colour to show. While this happens, keep your rose hydrated and out of direct sunlight.


Step Seven:

When the roses have reached the ideal colour, snip off the split part of the stem and place in a vase of fresh water.

Remember it is only possible to create muted tones with food colouring and the final effect won’t be as dramatic as the ones you buy in the shops. If you want vivid colours, try using professional floral dyes instead of food colouring for that added wow factor.

Rainbow rose decoration ideas

One of the problems with creating a rainbow rose is that the dye will shorten the lifespan of the flower, so they will only stay fresh for up to five days.

It seems a shame, having put in all the effort to create your rainbow flower, not to get the most out of these pretty blooms. Why not have a go a drying the flowers?

There are two options here. You could pull all the petals off the flower head and place them in a single row on a tray. Or, tie the base of the stems with a length of string and hang them up. With either option, place in a cool, dry, dark spot. Now wait for all the moisture to completely evaporate – it could take a couple of weeks for complete flowers but will be much quicker with the petals. Once dried cover them with hairspray to help them keep their good looks.

There are plenty of things you can do with your dried roses. If you’ve kept the flowers whole, why not add them to a wreath which you can hang on a wall in your home or on your front door.

The dried petals are perfect to use as confetti, or you can gather them up and have a beautiful bowl of potpourri sat on a table. Add some essential oils and you’ll get a delicious fragrance every time you pass.

Rainbow flowers

If you fancy getting all creative with your rainbow flowers, it doesn’t have to stop with roses. In fact, carnations soak up the colour even better than roses.

As long as your flower is white and doesn’t have a woody stem, you can choose most blooms. Some other suggestions include chrysanthemums, tulips or even gerbera daisies.


Fancy adding a pop of colour to your home? Take a look at our range of seasonal flowers to get you started.