The rainbow rose is a rose that has had its petals artificially coloured. The method exploits the rose's natural processes by which water is drawn up the stem. By splitting the stem and dipping each part in different coloured water, the colours are drawn into the petals resulting in a multicolored rose. With these changes to the rose, it causes them to not live as long as an uncoloured rose. The colours are artificial. Besides roses, other cut flowers like the chrysanthemum, carnation, hydrangea, and some species of orchids can also be colored using the same method.
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The uncomplicated process has been known for more than a millennium. Several companies have moved to patent the process. It appears they have been partially successful. It will be up to the courts to decide if the process can be patented.
Research showed that the best cultivar to use is "Vendela", a cream coloured Hybrid Tea cultivated in the Netherlands, Colombia and Ecuador, as this cultivar absorbs the different dyes perfectly. "Vendela" has a flower diameter of 6 cm in full bloom, a stem length of 40 to 100 cm, and is not scented. Other cultivars that can be used for this colouring process are Rosa La Belle and Rosa Avalanche+. However, these cultivars' rainbows are not as bright as "Vendela". Some vendors use the cultivar name to describe their products, e.g., Vendela Rainbow Rose, or Rose Avalanche Crystal Green.
The Original Rainbow Rose has the seven colours of the rainbow and is the most popular rose in this category. However, there are also the tropical variant with combinations of red/pink and yellow, and the ocean variant with combinations of green and blue. Other colour combinations are also possible, though black and white are impossible to make.
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- António A. Monteiro, Roberto Lopez and Jules Janick. "Gilding the Lilies: Rainbow Roses and Confetti Poinsettias" (PDF). Chronica Horticulturae - Volume 48, Number 1, 2008. International Society for Horticultural Science. p. 16. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
- "'Rainbow' roses are all the rage". Metro. 6 February 2007. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
- "How to dye carnations". wikiHow. Retrieved 2014-08-09.
- "Roses - Dyed". Triangle nursery. Retrieved 2014-08-09.