Low Maintenance Roses
Add garden beauty all summer
Roses have long been Americans’ favorite landscape plant, but many of these lovely flowers require a lot of work to keep the plants disease and insect free. All that has changed with incredible breeding breakthroughs in shrub and landscape roses.
These are strong performing plants that work hard with minimal care even in the dead of summer, when landscape duties are the last thing on your mind. A spring trim, an annual application of fertilizer and a good soaking when the weather is dry are all the maintenance duties needed for these stunning bloomers.
These roses are readily available in containers at garden centers and can be planted any time. They also can be used in containers during the summer. At the end of the season, transplant the roses to the ground for enjoyment in the landscape next year.
Planting and growing landscape roses
Here are some tips for growing these terrific landscape roses in your garden.
- Roses do best in full sun (six or more hours of sun a day), in well-drained, organically rich soil. Some tolerate part sun (four hours of sun a day), so read the tag that comes with the plant for more guidance.
- Roses do best when planted in a well-prepared site. Dig the hole about two times wider that your plant’s root ball, but about the same height.
- Into the soil dug from the hole, add several shovelsful of compost, rotted manure, peat humus or other organic matter.
- Remove the rose from its nursery pot and set the plant in the hole. Set the plant so that it will be about the same depth in the soil as it was in the pot. It’s better to plant it a little high than too deep. Back fill with the amended soil from the hole.
- Apply a slow-release rose fertilizer on the soil around the base of the plant. Read and follow label directions.
- Water well.
- Apply about 2 inches of mulch around the plant, keeping the mulch 2 or 3 inches away from the base of the rose.
One way to ensure continuous blooms is to make sure the rose is watered when it gets dry.
- One way to ensure continuous blooms is to make sure the rose is watered when it gets dry. Water when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.
- Pruning during the growing season usually isn’t necessary, nor is removing the spent flowers (called deadheading). In early spring, cut back the plant to one-half its size.
- Fertilize with a slow-release product made for roses when you cut it back in spring. A second application in midsummer is optional. Read and follow the label directions.
- These roses are extremely cold hardy and do not normally require extra mulch or other protection during the winter.
- Almost all of these improved landscape or shrub roses are extremely disease and insect resistant, which means they usually do not require maintenance spraying for these pests.
Flower Carpet™ Yellow
Photo: Flower Carpet Roses
Lady Elsie May™ does fine in
Photo: Angelica Nurseries
Low maintenance roses for your garden
Here is a selection of three award-winning, low-maintenance roses:
- Knockout™ blooms all summer, has lovely reddish foliage, doesn’t require deadheading and, in winter, displays showy rose hips, a berrylike fruit. An All-America Rose Selection winner, Knockout is slightly fragrant and comes in red, pink and blush. The plant gets 3 to 4 feet tall and wide. The branches can be cut for indoor arrangements.
- Flower Carpet™ roses were one of the first roses marketed as groundcovers. These all-summer bloomers get 18 to 24 inches tall and wide and come in red, white, yellow, pink, apple blossom and coral. Several of these have dense clusters of semi-double flowers. Most can be cut for indoor arrangements. This is the top-selling landscape rose in the country.
- The Lady Elsie May™ rose has a coral, semi-double, slightly fragrant flower on a shrub that gets about 3 feet tall and wide. Another All-America Rose Selection winner, the stems are long enough for cutting for indoor arrangements.
For weed control in your rose beds and landscaped areas, try Preen Garden Weed Preventer. Lebanon Seaboard Corp. is the maker of all Preen and Greenview products.