Rosa ‘Koko Loko’ – An Unusual Lilac-Brown Rose

Rosa 'Koko Loko' bud opening

While brown roses sometimes strike me as flat or artificial, I found the mixture of colours in Rosa ‘Koko Loco’ alluring. In demand as a wedding rose for obvious reasons, this variety can also be grown by gardeners. 

Rosa 'Koko Loko' | Cafe au lait coloured rose with golden stamens

The roses are an elegant colour, but not an easy one to describe: milk chocolate, creamy coffee or tan, perhaps. Fully open flowers have a large boss of golden stamens that add a warm glow. The sheeny petals gradually become suffused with lilac, eventually fading to grey.

'Koko Loco' rose close up

The colour is closest to brown towards the centre of young, partly-open blooms. (While resizing this, I was wondering what it reminded me of and finally realised it was the cover of Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life. Is that a stretch?)

Rosa 'Koko Loco' turning lilac

Open flowers are large, sturdy and variable with some lightly frilly petals, giving a ruffled effect. This bloom was two-tone, with lilac and coffee sections.

A strong, spicy scent and a decent vase life tick off two more boxes on the rose desirability list.

Rosa 'Koko Loko' is a lilac brown rose

I was introduced to Rosa ‘Koko Loko’ by a lady who was growing in a mixed flower border in her private garden in Madison, Mississippi. My pictures were all taken there in early May last year.

Rosa 'Koko Loko' is a mix of pale chocolate brown and lilac shades

The breeder, Christian Bédard of Weeks Roses, lists the parentage as Rosa ‘Blueberry Hill’ (a lavender, semi-double floribunda) x Rosa ‘Pot O’Gold’ (a yellow hybrid tea).

Shared for Cee’s Flower of the Day. I’m planning a series of posts about some of the more unusual roses I’ve seen, although it’s fair to say my blogging plans don’t always come to fruition – wish me luck!

45 Replies to “Rosa ‘Koko Loko’ – An Unusual Lilac-Brown Rose”

  1. As soon as I read that this is a popular rose for weddings, a little voice inside me said “ooooh.” That conjured up immediate elegance! I studied that top photo for a long time, trying to come up with descriptors that matched it. I couldn’t come up with a one. Words fail it.

    1. I don’t think any of the usual colour words really covers it. It was tempting to describe it as metallic. Although it doesn’t sparkle, it’s possible to look at that top picture and imagine the rose as metal – garden art or an ornament.

      1. I was thinking more of porcelain, but it seems much the same: the rose seems artificial. Sometimes I think the natural perfection of a flower is more than we can believe.

  2. What a beauty. It reminds me of a tawny brown/lilac rose I bought my Mother on Monther’s Day about 20 years ago. Apart from the unusual colour, it had the most divine scent I’ve ever come across.

    After my Mother passed away in 2012, I had a look out the back of their retirement unit and it wasn’t there, so I guess it had died. My Mother was a brilliant gardener, so it wouldn’t have been lack of care that brought about the rose’s demise.

  3. This is knock-your-socks-off beautiful, Susan. I wonder what would have made me know it would have a wonderful scent. What fun it would be to photograph it.

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