Butterfly Rose

Butterfly Rose
Rosa chinensis Mutabilis
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Rosa chinensis Mutabilis Although your garden visitors may not believe you, this horticultural kaleidoscope is only one rosebush -- even though it blooms in three colors and varying shades thereof all at once. More color: New foliage and bud sheaths are a coppery-bronze, and the established foliage is clean green and shiny to boot. And adaptability? The butterfly rose is disease-resistant, shrugs off humidity, and grows taller the more shelter it is given. This arching shrub is at its best covering a wall or tall fence, with its splayed, wrinkled petals flitting in a soft breeze. Spiffy, huh? That said, one proviso -- this is most certainly not the hardiest rose in the galazy. Mutabilis is almost exclusively a southern or western beauty.

Here's how the petal coloring works: At first a vivid orange, the buds open to a honey yellow; then the next day, after pollination, they become pale pink, deepening in the following day or two to nearly crimson. And Mother Nature's sly sense of humor once again is manifest.

Light: Full sun. Hardiness: To 5 degrees below zero. Growth habit: 7 feet high, 4 feet wide. Bloom time: Spring to fall.