Date of Introduction: Before 1894
Mutabilis was probably introduced to Italy from China, and then introduced to commerce in 1934 by way of a Swiss botanist Henri Correvon of Geneva who got his cuttings from the garden of Italian Prince Ghilberto Borromeo at Isola Bella. Otherwise known as the “Butterfly Rose” because when the plant is in full bloom with the multi-flowered flowers, Mutabilis appears to be covered with butterflies fluttering on the plant and this China rose is so easy to spot.
Mutabilis sports different colored blooms unlike those of any other rose, ranging from soft yellow as it opens with an orange blush on the underside, slowly turning into shades of peach, then pink, then eventually darkest pinkish red. Each color usually lasts for a day. All different colors can appear on the same bush at the same time. Its blooms have a slight fragrance which disappears as it ages.
Mutabilis is a single, five-petal rose. Rose is considered single when it has less than eight petals. The first blooms appear in clusters and continue through to hard frost. It does not mind cold, but it is sensitive to frost. It is slow to start but worth the wait. The plant is versatile, vigorous, sending long canes with glossy, narrow, tapering leaves with purplish tint and can tolerate partial shade and can thrive in poor soil.
I saw a Mutabilis covering a front porch in Charleston, SC the first time I visited the city. The homeowner saw me about to take a picture and without saying a word, he graciously moved his truck out of the way so I could take a picture. That is the picture above that I took. After I took my shot, he moved his truck back. I was impressed! Nice people, those Charlestonians!!!
Mutabilis makes an excellent hedge, can be grown as a landscape accent or in mass planting. In mild climates and protected locations, it can grow up to 6 to 10 ft. tall and wide as a shrub and can be utilized as a climber and can grow up to 15 ft. in height.
Mutabilis is very popular because it is very disease resistant. It is no wonder Mutabilis has been selected as one of the EarthKind Roses. It has also won the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit in 1993.
Tip #32 – Early on, put your head down, learn as much as you can, and look up in 10 years.
Until Next time. Stop and Smell the Roses.