Are Black Baccara Roses, really black and why are we all so concerned about this question? There has always been a fascination with Black plants of any species. They seem to have a mystical quality, almost an unattainable value: the quest for the unusual and rare.
Black Baccara roses were originally developed for the cut flower market for not only are they an unusual color but they have an unusually long "vase" life. Unfortunately they have little fragrance to go along with the show.
Then in 2004, Meilland introduced the "Meidebenne" Black Baccara Hybrid Tea rose for the home garden. As such, it is really unproven but we do know that it does not have a great disease resistance and that it is fairly temperamental when it comes to soil conditions and temperatures, especially the PH values of the growing soil. For these reasons it really is more for the collector or experienced Rosarian than the average gardener.
The Black Baccara rose is, debateably, the deepest and darkest red rose available. No, not black but a very dark red with dark "bluing" blotches. It blooms with velvety almost black buds that open to deep dark red blooms tinged with almost black. The blooms are a medium size, on a hybrid Tea rose bush that tends more to compact bush size. Growing about 3 feet tall and 32 inches wide, it really is quite small: a border or container rose perhaps.
It is a vigorous grower with compact sprays and a repeat blooming. Blooms have very tight petals which are great as a cut flower. The amount of sun does have a direct result on the true final color but the buds are always the darkest. Of course, like all Tea roses, it blooms on new wood, so prune early in spring to promote this.
Black Baccara is a little touchy about soil conditions and climate, and sometimes will produce a malformed head or "bullhead" which has been tested under various conditions, the major one being lower temperatures. I would suggest greater success in warmer and drier climates.
The Darkening of the petals is a complex chemical change (complex for me anyway!) but in simple terms it concerns the two sides of the petals. The cyanin content of the outside of the petal gets diluted and affects the ratio between itself and the pelargonin of the inside of the petal. (got that!)
This causes "blueing" which in dark red, looks like black. Or to try and simplify the process:
Low Temps= affects cyanin/pelargonin ratio =deeper "blueing" =black!
(Well I said it was complex!) Anyway, darkening takes place, but the amount and the 'splotchiness' of it, varies. This can also be affected by a change in PH or a decrease in Malic Acid.
So is it a great rose bush for your garden? The jury is still out on this one, so to speak, but it is quite stunning and worth a look. Actually, when I think of companion planting I can conjure up quite an eye-catching flower bed. How about Black Baccara roses with white calla lilies, or white lilium, white passionflower or even bright yellow roses.
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