Add Green Roses to Your Garden (Really!)

Updated: Jun. 06, 2023

Love growing roses? Give your rose garden something unique by adding Green Roses. This antique rose is like nothing you've ever seen!

Grow Green Roses for Stunning Color

Add a Green Rose to Your GardenJill Staake

True rose gardeners can be a bit…obsessive. You know it’s true. Roses are notoriously tricky to grow for many people, and those who do it best really get to know their plants. They feed them, water them, prune and deadhead like a celebrity stylist, and even talk to them when the neighbors aren’t looking. Their roses reward them with an array of blooms in just about every color, and the rose gardeners delight in adding new beauties to their collection. So whether you are a rose gardener or you know someone who is, you’ll be fascinated to find out that Green Roses do exist.

Less experienced in growing roses? Here’s how to get started.

What You Should Know About Green Roses

Add a Green Rose to Your GardenJill Staake

My mother and I found this unique rose growing at the Leu Botanical Gardens in Orlando. My mom is a true rose gardener, and so even though the sweat was pouring down our backs in the hot Florida spring sun, we happily wandered through the largest collection of roses on the Eastern seaboard, admiring the thriving flowers. Just when we thought we’d seen it all, we came upon something we’d never seen before.

Add a Green Rose to Your GardenJill Staake

The Green Rose, Rosa chinensis ‘Viridiflora’, is a very old rose. The sign indicating that it has green “petals” isn’t quite correct, though. The fascinating thing about the Green Rose is that it has no petals at all. Instead, the blooms produce only a multitude of sepals, which usually serve as protection for flowers in bud and as support for petals once they open.

Add a Green Rose to Your GardenJill Staake

Lacking petals and other traditional flower parts, the Green Rose has no traditional rose fragrance. Instead, a deep sniff reveals a sort of peppery scent. It “flowers” in abundance, with dozens of sepal blooms covering the shrubby plant.

You can grow it in zones 5 to 10, but provide extra mulch for winter protection in zones 5 and 6. It also is reported to grow well in pots. If you grow a Green Rose in a container, you can overwinter it inside for the colder months as needed.

These are the top 10 roses to grow in your garden.

Green Rose History

Add a Green Rose to Your GardenJill Staake

The Green Rose is a natural mutation. Like many mutants, it produces no viable flowers and thus has no hips to produce seed. That sterility means that all Green Roses grow from taking another plant’s cuttings. (Psst—here’s how to grow roses from cuttings).

Since it’s unknown how often this mutation occurs in nature, it’s possible that all Green Roses today stem from one specimen grown in an ancient garden. Most rose historians agree this rose originated in China, where some say it was grown only for royalty to enjoy in the Forbidden City. Documented as early as 1743, the rose registry dates it to 1856.

Roses not blooming? Here’s what to do.

Where to Buy Green Roses

Add a Green Rose to Your GardenJill Staake

You’ll find Green Roses for sale from a variety of places online, including The Antique Rose Emporium. Or contact your local nursery or garden center to see if they can locate a plant for you.

Next, check out these fragrant roses that are sure to sweeten up your garden.