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What Are Baccara Roses?

By Amanda R. Bell
Updated May 16, 2024
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Baccara roses are hybrid tea roses cultivated primarily for floral arrangements, although they can serve as garden or container plants in certain climates. While somewhat difficult to grow, these roses produce nearly black blooms for most of the summer and fall. Due to their rarity and color, these flowers are typically used for somber or formal events.

The rose breeding company Meilland International developed Baccara roses in France during the 1950s. While the rose is not technically black, it is the darkest rose cultivated without utilizing dyes. In addition to their unique color, cut black roses last unusually long in floral arrangements, thus remaining healthy for upwards of two weeks.

Although Baccara roses were originally cultivated for cutting, avid rose gardeners use this plant in containers or as a border in a garden. These rose plants can grow as high as 6 feet (1.8 meters), although most only reach 3 to 4 feet (.9 to 1.2 meters) in height. The rose bush itself is typically 3 feet (.9 meters) wide. Baccara roses require a warm climate in order to do well in a garden, preferably in an area that does not typically get below 30° Fahrenheit (-1° Celsius) during any time of the year.

Baccara roses are extremely susceptible to cold weather, thereby making them difficult to plant; even one good freeze in an otherwise warm area can damage it. As with many hybrids, these roses are also extremely susceptible to disease and require careful pruning and care to thrive. While they are often referred to as black roses, they are only black before the bud opens. Once in full bloom, their color is typically a deep, rich burgundy, often with dark blue near the edges of the petals; these roses are also known for their long stems.

When well cared for, a Baccara bush produces multiple blooms ideal for cutting. Baccara roses also tend to replenish quickly, allowing for repeated cuttings without reducing the look of the bush. Unlike other roses, they have little to no scent. For this reason, they are often used with more fragrant roses or flowers in arrangements and planted with lighter colored, heavily perfumed roses in gardens.

These roses are often used as sympathy flowers and are popular in floral arrangements for memorial services or funerals. As black roses are often associated with death, they are seldom used for festive events, although this varies greatly according to preference. In some areas, Baccara roses are popular in winter floral arrangements, especially at weddings. Black roses have, throughout history, held a somewhat mystical appeal; for this reason, this variety of rose is often used as a unique gift and in art.

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