Black Roses

(Question)

Hi,

I’m a gardening newbie, and have always loved black roses. Do you know where I can find them in the GTA? Are they hardy enough for Toronto climate conditions?

(Answer)

Thank you for your inquiry. Unfortunately, there is really no such thing as a true black rose, just real dark red ones that look kind of black.

The only naturally-black roses are known to grow in the region around the village of  Halfeti, Turkey. The Turkish Halfeti Roses are incredibly rare. Although they appear perfectly black, they are actually a very deep crimson color.   It’s thought that the deep colour is due to the  unique soil conditions of the region, along with the pH levels of the groundwater (that seeps in from the river Euphrates).  The blooms open  dark red during the spring and then fade to black.

A few hybrid tea varieties that appear black are: Black Baccara, Black Beauty, Oklahoma, For healthy roses choose a site with full sun and excellent drainage. If your soil is heavy clay, grow roses in a raised bed, or amend your soil with a suitable combination of compost, manure, or other organic matter. Mulch newly planted roses with a 2-3-inch blanket of shredded bark to help the soil stay moist,  stabilize soil temperature, and to suppress weeds. Roses should be watered deeply each week at the base of the plant. They should be fertilized every 4-6 weeks after spring growth has begun. Stop fertilizing 6-8 weeks before the first fall frost ( usually thre beginning of August). Prune annually, making sure you remove all dead, diseased wood and weak or crossing branches. Deadhead flowers as they fade to keep the roses blooming instead of spending energy producing seed. Prune out the center branches to promote good air circulation and prevent disease.

You may also wish to refer to our Gardening Guide on Pruning Roses