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Mutabalis Rose

Fact sheet: Mutabilis Rose

Classification: China

Introduced: Prior to 1894

Growth habit: Medium Shrub

Height/width:  6 feet by 6 feet

Spacing: 8 feet apart on centers

Color:  Yellow, changing to pink, and finally to crimson

Site: Full sun. Good air circulation.

Water use: Keep moist until established (usually requires one month to establish). Average water needs during growing season. Appears to tolerate highly saline irrigation water when drip irrigated.

Cold hardy: Zones 6-9

Mutabilis was introduced prior to 1894 and is one of the most famous and beloved of the old garden roses. Amazing medium sized single blossoms that pass through three distinct color phases (hence the name Mutabilis, since the blooms “mutate” in color) beginning with yellow, changing to pink, and finally to crimson. Mutabilis is also known as “The Butterfly Rose” because its blossoms look like brightly colored butterflies that have landed on the bush. Named 2005 “Earth-Kind® Rose of the Year” by Texas AgriLife Extension Service, this is a large, attractive shrub that is supremely easy to grow and has great heat tolerance making it well suited for growing in the South. Be sure to give it plenty of room to grow. Can also be pruned to form a spectacular rose tree 8′ to 10′ in height.

Landscape Uses

The flowering characteristics of Mutabilis are what make it uniquely attractive. The silky blooms open pale yellow in color and slowly change to shades of pink and eventually crimson. When a plant is in full bloom with these multi-colored flowers it appears to be covered with butterflies.

Mutabilis is an extremely versatile and vigorous rose cultivar. Plants make an excellent hedge or mass planting. This cultivar needs ample room to provide maximum landscape performance.

About Earth-Kind® Roses

Earth-Kind is a special designation given to select rose cultivars by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service through the Earth-Kind landscaping program. It is based on the results of extensive research and field trials and is awarded only to those roses demonstrating superior pest tolerance, combined with outstanding landscape performance.

Earth-Kind roses do well in a variety of soil types, ranging from well-drained acid sands to poorly aerated, highly alkaline clays. Once established, these select cultivars also have excellent heat and drought tolerance.

The use of Earth-Kind roses provides the opportunity to enjoy these wonderful flowering plants while limiting the use of fertilizers, pesticides, and water. These sustainable practices are excellent examples of how Earth-Kind landscaping is working to preserve and protect our natural resources and the environment.

Planted in Nassau County Extension Demonstration Garden