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The Joseph’s Coat Rose

The Joseph’s Coat Rose is a climber rose that grows abundantly and keeps on flowering from spring to autumn. It provides a magnificent display of all shades of red, from orange, through pink to deep red. The colors are never the same and are not predictable. They will often change during the sunny day.

It can be grown as a bush, but will need a lot of pruning and attention, or the canes will grow long and eventually hang over. It can also be trained as a climber, along a wall, or on a structure, such as a trellis, or an arch. Imagine adorning your garden with this beautiful rose!

If you’ve never grown a multi-colored rose before, then keep reading. You may decide that your next rose just has to be a Joseph’s Coat rose!

Closeup of an orange and yellow Joseph's Coat rose bloom.
Joseph’s Coat rose bloom.

History of the Joseph’s Coat Rose

The Joseph’s Coat Rose was first registered in 1964. It was bred by David L. Armstrong & Herbert C. Swim (USA, before 1963).

This rose, with the variety of colors that change and are unpredictable, takes its name from the story of Joseph in the Bible, who had a coat of many colors.

Closeup of two Joseph's Coat rose blooms.

Characteristics of the Joseph’s Coat Rose

The Joseph’s Coat rose is a rose with a particularly attractive range of bright shades of pinks, oranges and reds. It’s sometimes included in the list of rainbow roses. As a climbing rose, it’s often trained to grow along walls, up terraces or around structures.

The bush produces clusters of large flowers (30-40 petals) and the colors change as each flower goes from bud to full bloom. The colors can depend on the type of soil, the acidity/alkalinity or drainage. They are also affected by climate and the amount of sun/shade it receives.

The Joseph’s Coat rose has a long season, from spring to autumn. It does not have a very strong fragrance and the stems are quite thorny.

Closeup of a single Joseph's Coat rose bloom.

Growing your own Joseph’s Coat Roses

Joseph’s Coat roses can be planted from seed, but can be quite sensitive, so make sure they are sheltered and well-tended. It may be better to plant the seeds inside, so that you can watch them and only transplant the seedlings when they have begun to grow.

Another alternative is to cultivate the new plants from cuttings.

Choose the spot to plant your rose carefully, because they can develop into quite big bushes (8-12 feet tall and 4 feet wide).

Like most roses, this rose prefers full sun and well-drained soils, but can tolerate some shade. You should use a suitable fertilizer around the plant in both summer and winter. You will need to mulch around the base in winter, because roses do prefer warmer weather.

Closeup of Joseph's Coat rose bloom.

Caring for your Joseph’s Coat Rose

The Joseph’s Coat rose is a hardy rose that does need some care, but is not too demanding.

It is susceptible to blackspot and mildew, though. Both of these are fungus-related, so don’t let the rose become wet for prolonged periods of time. You shouldn’t water the leaves often and instead soak the ground around the base of the plant.

Blackspot can be controlled by removing all infected leaves and throwing them away. Also, remove any dropped foliage or debris from around the bush.

Closeup of yellow Joseph's Coat rose bloom just beginning to open.

Pruning your Joseph’s Coat Rose Bush

This rose can be grown as a bush, or trained as a climbing rose. It grows vigorously, so pruning is important to encourage it to grow where and how you wish it to.

The purpose of pruning any rose bush is to:

  • contain the size and height, so the plant doesn’t get out of control and take over too much of your garden
  • thin out extra canes, so that air can flow through the plant (helps prevent foliage disease)
  • get rid of any dead/diseased canes
  • train the plant to grow in certain directions or shapes, or around a particular structure
  • promote new growth

Rose bushes grow and bloom during the warm months, so it is best to prune in winter, before any new growth can begin.

Things to remember when pruning your Joseph’s Coat Rose Bush:

  • Thin out the middle of the plant by removing any dead/weak canes and any canes that obstruct the main canes. (These may cross over the canes, or grow parallel with the ground.)
  • When you remove any cane, make sure that you cut right at the point where it begins, so that the whole cane is removed.
  • Cut the growing canes at a 45° angle just above the bud eye, from which a new cane will grow.
Pruning a rose cane.

Transplanting a Joseph’s Coat Rose Bush

Transplanting a rose can have quite a traumatic effect on it, so make sure to take the proper steps before, during, and after the process. A Joseph’s Coat rose bush has a deep tap root so keep this in mind when you move the rose bush.

First, choose the new spot for the rose. Remember that this rose prefers full sun. It’s also a good idea to select a spot with some shelter. The Joseph’s Coat can tolerate some shade, so keep this in mind when you choose the spot.

Planting a Joseph’s Coat rose bush against a wall that gets sun most of the day will keep it sunny and sheltered. It also means you can train it to climb along the wall. It doesn’t have any vine tendrils that can hold to the wall, so a frame or trellis needs to be put in place for the rose.

The hole you dig has to be deep enough to accommodate the taproot. It also needs to be at least twice as wide as the rose’s root ball.

To uncover the roots completely, dig gently around the plant and down quite deep. You do need to remove the whole root system as far as possible.

Planting a rose shrub.

When you transplant the rose bush, don’t try to move the whole plant as it is. It is most practical to cut back the bush quite severely. This will make the plant more manageable for transplanting. It also directs energy for growing to the main stem and the first lot of canes.

To transplant the rose, cut most of the canes away, but keep about 6 to 8 main stems, so the plant has some growth on it. If you cut away a cane completely, make sure you do so where it meets the stem.

If you want to keep a cane, you should cut it about one inch above a bud node that’s quite low down on the cane.

When you’ve cut the plant back, then you dig in a circle at least a foot out from the rose. Dig deep enough to unearth the taproot.

Put the whole root system of the plant into the hole. The bud union (point on the stem from which new canes will grow) should be just above the surface of the soil in warmer climates, or about 2 inches (about 5 cm) below the surface in cooler areas. Mulch around the stem, to protect the rose from winter temperatures.

Fill in the hole around the plant with the soil you dug out that’s been mixed with compost and a little fertilizer.

Water the rose thoroughly, but not enough for the soil to be soggy or leave standing water. Overwatering suffocates the roots and promotes fungal diseases

Closeup of a Joseph's Coat rose bloom.

Propagating a rose bush from a cutting

Another way to create more Joseph’s Coat rose bushes and to plant them in a new location is to propagate them from cuttings.

A cutting is a cane that has been cut carefully from an existing bush. To take the cutting, choose a cane that is growing strongly and is flowering. Cut the flower away and use pruning shears to cut the cane above the leaves closest to the stem and below the last leaves growing on the cane.

You can place the cutting in water and keep it there until it develops roots, or you can plant it straight into the soil. If you plant the cane straight into the soil, use a growth hormone that will encourage root growth at one end.

Wet the cutting slightly at the bottom and dip it into the hormone powder. It should be covered thoroughly.

Plant the cutting into soil that has been moistened, but is not too wet. Make sure that at least three inches (7.5cm) are under the soil.

If you plant the cutting in a pot, wait until it is established before transplanting it into the garden.

Multicolored rose blooms.

Creating Bouquet with Joseph’s Coat roses

Because of the wonderfully vibrant variety of colors in a Joseph’s Coat Rose, these flowers can be used on their own for a bouquet that makes a bold statement. You can also use them to pop against a solid color in an arrangement.

Experiment with different ideas for bouquets:

  • Use a white rose as the basis for the bouquet and integrate some blooms of the Joseph’s Coat Rose between them for color.
  • Combine Joseph’s Coat blooms with a small-bloomed flower, like Jasmine, for contrast against the colors and size of the rose flowers.

Where To Buy Joseph’s Coat Rose Bushes

You can buy Joseph’s Coat rose bushes from most nurseries, or plant supply stores. You can also buy them from sites such as Nature Hills Nursery or other online retailers.

Where To Buy Joseph’s Coat Rose Bouquets

Your local flower store or florist will undoubtedly have Joseph’s Coat cut roses on sale, either in a bunch, or as a bouquet.

You can also order bouquets from an online site, such as FloristOne or ProFlowers. S

Final Words on the Joseph’s Coat Rose

Closeup of a Josephs' Coat rose bloom.

Joseph’s Coats have been a popular rose for more than 50 years and will continue to adorn gardens for many years. With its large, many-colored blooms and long flowering season, it’s a magnificent rose, well-deserving of its name that calls to mind the splendor of the coat of many colors described in the story of Joseph.

Is there a Joseph’s Coat rose putting on a brilliant display of color in your garden? Tell us how you showcase this beauty in the comments section below!

Excited for more rose content? Then keep reading all about these beautiful flowers, how to take care of them, and more on our roses page!


Thursday 20th of October 2022

We have a lovely Joseph’s Coat rose bush that continues to give us incredible, colorful blooms. I need to prune it back soon, as our temperatures are cooling rapidly. I just don’t want to shock it too much. Is cutting it back to about a foot too much? Thank you for your help.


Saturday 22nd of October 2022

My rule of thumb is to never take more than 1/3 of the plant off in a given year. And that assumes I'm doing it when the plant is dormant.


Friday 16th of September 2022

Thank you for the great information on Joseph's Coat Climbing Rose! I planted this rose for the first time this past Spring/Summer but it has not been doing very well. So I think your information has brought to life some of the care that I need to give it.


Monday 19th of September 2022

That's great! Thanks Mary.