'Mutabilis', Ancient, from China, pre-1934.
This is a unique and remarkable rose for the right climate. It won't tolerate a climate colder than about a zone 7, and is easily damaged by a hard frost. It is most at home in California, Arizona, and other hot climes where it can grow 12 months a year without end. In such a climate, it can easily attain a mature height of 12 to 15 feet, or occasionally more! In such a situation, it can be covered in bloom continuously. In colder climates, it will remain a compact rounded shrub of about 4 feet tall. The blooms start out peachy yellow and deepen to crimson as they age.
'Mutabilis' was originally introduced into commerce by Henri Correvon in 1934, when he obtained the rose from the gardens of Prince Ghilberto Borromeo. It has also been distributed under the name of 'Tipo Ideal'.
Some writers have referred to this rose as a species of Chinese origins, but it is most likely an ancient Chinese hybrid of uncertain pedigree.
There are several roses in commerce that have the same habit of opening yellow and changing to crimson as they age, and it is possible they inherited this characteristic from 'Mutabilis'. It is a highly disease resistant variety with much to offer, and it can even be grown in in a large pot.
merit rating: 8.7
Original photographs and site content © Paul Barden 1996-2003