Have you ever wondered why new rose leaves first appear a bright red?
It is nature’s sun protection! Instead of slapping on SPF 50, as you need to do here in Cape Town in summer, clever roses simply sprout red leaves. This protects the delicate new growth until it is robust enough to withstand the searing sun, turn green and produce chlorophyll.
post script: The red colour in the leaves and stems is caused by the presence of anthocyanins, which protect the delicate new growth from harmful UV rays. As the plant matures the anthocyanins disperse leaving the leaves green.