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The Meaning of a Blue Rose

By Loraine Degraff ; Updated September 21, 2017
The blue rose is surrounded with symbolism
Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Gilberto Santa Rosa

Roses have captured the appeal of the masses for centuries and have been the subject of many artistic works. This graceful perennial flower has more than 100 species and comes in a variety of colors. Red roses are certainly popular and command much attention, but many believe that a blue rose is one of the most eye-catching and rarest of flowers. The b­lue ro­s­e is surrounded by symbolism. Although non-existent in nature, researchers at Florigene Ltd. and Japanese Suntory Group have genetically created a blue rose through RNAi technology.


Blue roses were often mentioned in history, but never seen. Breeders tried to develop the rose by crossing different varieties, but resorted to dyeing white roses to obtain the sought-after hue. Since blue roses were non-existent in nature, it is said that these roses signify fantasies or a dream that could never be realized. A fantasy is a delusion. For many years, the blue rose could be seen only in one's imagination.


In 1840, horticultural societies of Britain and Belgium offered a prize of 500,000 francs to the first person to produce a blue rose. Since then, rose breeders worldwide have been trying to cultivate the elusive blue rose. The Australian genetic company Florigene Ltd. and Japanese company Suntory finally cracked the code in 2004 with a technology called RNAi. In a three-step process that included removing the pigment from red roses, these companies were able to produce the first true blue rose, which was aptly named "Applause." Just as "Applause" was met with approval, so the blue rose given to someone can signify acceptance or approval.


Blue roses also represent love at first sight or being enchanted by something or someone. The lighter shade of the blue rose, similar to lilac, expresses the first hint of love. According to color therapy, light blue is associated with softness. Thus, the light blue rose can represent young love or the beginnings of a relationship. On the other hand, dark blue is associated with depth or stability. Florigene and Sultory are working to develop a variety of hues of the blue rose flower. A darker blue rose could represent an established relationship.


In many cultures, the color blue is associated with royal blood. Blue and gold were associated with the ancient kings of Ireland and are still used on crests and insignias. In the Christian West, blue began to emerge in the 12th century. It was originally associated with the Virgin Mary. Kings and aristocrats began to wear the color themselves, and it soon became the sign of the very highest social class. The blue rose denotes splendor and regal majesty. As it rises in popularity among the species, it, too, can be identified with the highest class of the genus Rosa.


The blue rose means mystery. This meaning could be synonymous with its mysterious origin or with its genetic makeup. The rose's fabricated nature adds a sense of surrealism to its existence. The development of the flower was a complex process that took many years to achieve. Likewise, the giving of a blue rose to others could represent the ambiguity of their nature, possibly signifying the willingness to work with them while not understanding them. In this sense, the blue rose can also represent hope.


About the Author


Loraine Degraff has been a writer and educator since 1999. She recently began focusing on topics pertaining to health and environmental issues. She is published in "Healthy Life Place" and "Humdinger" and also writes for various websites. Degraff holds a master's degree in communications design from Pratt Institute.