S & J Nursery’s Butterfly Rose
for Northeast Florida Gardens
( Rosa Mutabilis )
Butterfly Rose Mutabilis Origins:
An old heirloom rose of unknown origin. China Rose variety Rosa Mutabilis is a great
hardy rose selection for any Florida garden. I have grown Butterfly roses in my North Florida garden for many
years and they are still today one of my personal favorite. Low maintenance shrub rose with loads of
multicolored blooms spring summer and fall.
Butterfly Rose / Rosa Mutabilis Preferred Exposure:
– Full sun, roses will need 6-8 hours of direct sunlight to bloom and perform best
in the North Florida/ Jacksonville / St. Augustine area.
Butterfly Rose / Rosa Mutabilis Soil Preference / Salt tolerance:
– Plant Butterfly Rose / Rosa Mutabilis roses in North Florida in just about any
well draining soil. Add a healthy shovel full of compost or cow manure to the planting hole when you dig and
you’ll love the extra help it gives you as you establish the rose in your gardens landscape.
Butterfly or Bird Attracting:
– Butterfly roses attract both bird and butterflys to the garden.
Butterfly Rose / Rosa Mutabilis Size Variance:
– These pretty plants if left alone to grow can reach heights of 6 – 10 ft and get
around 4 ft wide. I manage to keep mine in the 3-4 ft range with a simple annual pruning in spring, or if I
don’t get around to it early enough, in the summer!
Butterfly Rose / Rosa Mutabilis Growth Habit:
– Upright form lends itself well to hedge rows.
Butterfly Rose / Rosa Mutabilis Growth Rate:
– Extremely quick to establish itself in the landscape. Expect a foot or two of
growth in a single season depending on watering and fertilizing practices.
Butterfly Rose / Rosa Mutabilis Bloom:
– Perhaps my favorite rose bloom ever, the ever changing Butterfly rose is an open
faced wonder that emerges as a soft creamy yellow bud then darkens with age to shades of peach, copper, pink,
rose and finally ends up with deep pink petals. The thing that I love the most is that, being an ever blooming
rose, there are always roses being formed at different times giving the plant an overall look of well, a rose of
many colors! There really is nothing like it.
– Flowers have a soft fragrance and will form showy fruits in fall.
Butterfly Rose / Rosa Mutabilis Water Requirements:
– Water daily to establish into the landscape and use supplemental irrigation twice
a week after that for best results in the landscape when not receiving regular rainfall.
Best Uses For Butterfly Rose / Rosa Mutabilis :
– Excellent when planted as a single specimen in a perennial border for a cottage
garden appearance or when planted in masses for a non stop blooming hedge.
Care of Butterfly Rose / Rosa Mutabilis Rose :
– Butterfly Rose / Rosa Mutabilis can certainly be treated like a fussy hybrid tea
rose, but why bother? This hardy own root China rose will thrive with little maintenance on your part. A once or
twice a year pruning will keep it in bound and full of foliage. Mutabilis roses bloom heavily and will need a
good dose of general purpose fertilizer in spring summer and fall to help them keep on putting out those
– Amend the planting hole well with compost or composted cow manure when installing
roses into the landscape.
– Water every day during the establishment period. See watering your newly planted
items for more information.
– They will need good water during the establishment period and bi-weekly
supplemental irrigation particularly in periods of low rainfall.
– Add compost or cow manure yearly as a surface treatment pulling back the
mulch and spreading it around under the foliage of the plant on top of the existing soil. don’t forget to
remulch around the plants to help them stay cool and help them to retain moisture in our hot sunny North Florida
– Plants respond well to a mixture of rose food and Milorganite each spring and
again in mid summer, sprinkling the fertilizer around the mulch circle underneath the foliage of the plant.